There are plenty of things that you can enjoy in the garden as well as planting and harvesting. Encouraging wildlife into the garden is really important, none more so than birds.
Birdboxes can be expensive to buy or even to make. They often need fancy tools and a lot of experiencce in cuting or glueing or nailing.
This is is really simple to make. The only tools needed are a pair of scissors and the materials are cheap or free!
You will need:
- 10-15 thin willow sticks and one longer, fatter, sturdier one. There is plenty of willow around at the moment as trees start to grow and are being pruned. I used branches from a young tree that had been removed from the garden. If you haven’t got willow growing nearby then thin, bendy garden canes should work well.
- Two half coconut shells (empty). The used shells from the half-shell seed feeders are the best thing and it’s good to be able to find a good use for these
- String – quite thick and strong natural string is best.
- Wedge the thin sticks around the fatter one and tie them in place. If you have a napkin ring that is good to use. I had a hose clip but string or a cable tie would work too.
- Make sure that the large stick is sticking out a good way as you will need a good length as this is what you will use to hang the finished birdbox
- Put the coconut halves inside the sticks, open sides facing each other.
- Tie the tops of the sticks together so that the coconut halves are trapped inside.
- Starting at the rim of the lower half shell, weave string in and out for 3-5 rounds.
- This is the tricky bit. Double back with the string and weave in the opposite direction until you come to the stick next to the one you doubled back from. Double back again and repear for 3-5 rounds so that you are creating a small hole between the weave.
- Complete the weave by making 3-5 more complete rounds.
If you have got this right, both halves of the shell should now be held firmly in place by the sticks and the weave and there will be a small hole through which a bird could enter.
I added an extra band of weave higher up the sticks for extra strength and to look prettier, but this isn’t absolutely necessary.
You can use the bigger sick to attach the birdbox to a post or, if long enough, fix in the ground.
As you can see, mine isn’t as pretty as the one in the book but I hope it will prove attractive to coal tits.
Coal tits favourite nesting sites are holes in trees, often quite low down so I’m going to fix mine to a fence post in the side of the garden near to some other trees.