» RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE SELECTION, DISTRIBUTION AND INSTALLATION OF NEST BOXES
The information provided below is based on our practical experience. These
recommendations are of course only intended to provide general guidance,
and it is also important to consider individual landscapes and/or habitats
and the creatures that inhabit them. Sometimes this can be done before
drawing up plans (e.g. on the basis of the types of animals to be found there
or which require protection, together with the surrounding habitat), or over
time, relying on practical experience gained in the area (e.g. which type of
box proves most successful). Nature can often produce some surprising and
exciting changes, so it is advisable to check the nesting aids from time to
time and to make any improvements that may be necessary.
A | Installing nest boxes for small Birds
(e.g. nest boxes 1B, 2M, 2B/N, 1N, 3S, 3SV, 2GR)
As a rule two, different entrance hole sizes are available.
» l 32 mm is the "universal size", providing access to almost all species of
» l 26 mm only allows access by Tits (Blue, Marsh, Coal and Crested Tits),
while large species such as Great Tits, Nuthatches and Sparrows are
» Special sizes e.g. l 45 mm for particular species such as larger Starlings.
Smaller species can, however, also use the nesting boxes if necessary.
In fenced green spaces, woodland plantations, thickets, gardens etc., the
boxes can be suspended at eye height (1.2 to 2 m) so that they can be easily
checked and cleaned from the ground. In woodlands and cultivated areas it
is preferable to hang them higher to minimize interference and disturbance.
As a rule, nest boxes are hung at heights of between 2.8 and 3.5 m in such
areas, enabling them to be easily reached from a ladder. The maximum
height at which boxes can be hung can be determined by the surrounding
trees, and should not exceed the tops of these trees. There can be exceptions, however,
especially in towns, where the height limit need not apply
to the buildings in which certain species nest (Swifts, Sparrows, Bats), and
can far exceed 15 m. Please do not put any nest material or litter in
the boxes because small Birds always build new nests.
B | Number of nest boxes per hectare and distribution of boxes
The number of nest boxes is always dependent on the particular habitat.
If nesting places are restricted in a garden a box can be hung from every
other tree. No minimum distance applies to Birds, and two pairs of Tits can
nest immediately adjacent to each other on the same tree without any problems. This is because the Birds themselves regulate the distance between
them according to the time of year and availability of food.
Depending on the age and type of tree and the basic available food ("pest
infestation"), between 1 and 40 nest boxes can be installed per hectare
(= 100 x 100 m) in woodlands.
If no previous data is available, the types of nest box and entrance hole
widths can be distributed as follows:
» 60 % of nest boxes with 32 mm or oval entrance hole.
» 20 % with 26 or 27 mm diameter entrance hole
» 20 % should consist of holes for treecreepers, or for species that nest in
recesses or cavities (see Types 2B, 2BN, 2H, 2HW, 1N).
Please note: It is not necessary for all the boxes to be occupied by Birds
raising their young because many of them will also serve as overnight quarters or as a depot for food. Only when around 60 to 70 per cent of boxes are
occupied by nesting Birds for a number of years in succession will the ideal
saturation point have been reached.
C | General details about installing nest boxes
Orientation The entrance hole should face roughly south east. However, if
protected from the wind, or in settlements, this may not always be necessary.
If the hole is wider (e.g. 45 mm or more) it is important to ensure that
the box is placed in a sheltered position.
Cleaning Cleaning, i.e. thorough removal of the old nest, can be carried
out in gardens from mid-September onwards. Just scrape out the old nest.
Use of a spray or something similar is not normally necessary. If the box has
become extremely soiled or contains parasites it is advisable to wash it out
with cold or hot water, using biodegradable soapsuds if necessary.
Method of attachment SCHWEGLER nest boxes which are intended to
be attached to trees (mostly recognizable by their colour, brown or black)
are supplied with a special forestry-approved Aluminium Nail which, unlike
copper or steel, does not harm trees. Neither does it damage saw blades
or chainsaws, thus preventing injury. Its smooth shaft and rust resistance
mean that it can be removed even after several years, leaving only a slight,
round scar in the wood. Nest boxes can be removed and re-hung at any time
without requiring removal of the nail. As a rule, heavier nest boxes (see D)
are supplied with a built-in block so that they can be hung up using several
Aluminium Nails, and they can also be re-hung or removed without removing the nails.
Unintended occupants Our landscapes have been cleared and cultivated
to such an extent that there is now a severe shortage of habitats, with the
result that nest boxes may be occupied by species for which they were not
intended, such as Bumble Bees, Wasps, Wild Bees, Hornets and various
types of Dormice. They also need protection, so leave them undisturbed in
the nest boxes. In such cases you should put up special SCHWEGLER nest
boxes which have been designed specifically for these creatures.
New nest boxes Ideally, these should be put up in the autumn, to provide
night quarters for Birds during the winter months. Such protection against
draughts and cold is an even more important factor than food in helping
them to survive a hard winter.
D | Larger nest boxes for Owls, Stock Doves, Kestrels, etc.
(e.g. Box No. 4, No. 5, No. 28, No. 29.)
Hang at a recommended height of around 4 to 6 m. They will be more
readily adopted if a thick layer of shavings or sawdust is spread in the
pre-formed recess in the base (not for jackdaws). For Stock Doves and for
Tengmalm's and Tawny Owls it is advisable to hang up one or two nest
boxes over a 50 hectare area. This is the minimum number and there will
usually be keen competition for them in the spring. Increasing the density
of nest boxes will improve the prospects of preventing the spread of insect
E | Installation of Bat Boxes
The installation and maintenance of special Bat Boxes are described in
detail on page 21 in the chapter on Bats.
F | Nesting aids on buildings (nesting blocks etc.)
Different recommendations often apply in the case of Birds and Bats that
nest on buildings. Please note:
consult the relevant product description. Especially in the case of Swifts
and Bats more height, in excess of 5 m, should be allowed, as well as unobstructed access without any ledges immediately below the box.