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Baby birds and their parents are at their most vulnerable so if you are providing a bird box for them it is important to ensure that it is a safe environment in which to bring up young chicks. Predators, bad weather and illness can all present a danger to young bird families and these tips will help make your bird box a safer place.

Starling By Nest Box

Remove any perches from the bird box. Birds do not need them and they provide a useful place for predators to gain access to the bird box.

Train pets to stay away from the bird box. Water guns and other deterrents can be used on squirrels to keep them from going near your bird box.

Choose a bird box with the smallest opening for the species you want to nest in the box. If the hole is too large predators will find it easy to get in the box and steal the eggs or harm the young chicks.

Site the bird box away from shrubs and bushes where predators can hide in order to ambush the box. Keep bird houses away from your bird feeding areas so their is no conflict particularly with larger birds.

Choose a bird box that is made of natural materials and in a colour that blends in with the surroundings which will make it harder for predators to spot.

Your bird box should have ventilation holes in the top so that fresh air can circulate and the the house does not get too hot. If your bird box doesn't have any holes drill some holes in each corner.

Place the bird house so that it does not directly face the sun or prevailing wind and angle it so that rain cannot run into it.

Do not use bird boxes that are made of metal or other insulating materials. They will be come unbearably hot and will also be visible to predators.

Make sure that the exterior of your bird box is only painted with bird-friendly lead-free paint, stain or varnish. Do not use paint on the interior of the bird box.

The bird house should be big enough to prevent over-crowding once the chicks have been born. Not only will the birds be uncomfortable but they could be smothered.

In between nestings clean the bird box with a mild bleach or disinfectant solution. Clean out any unhatched eggs but remember the Wildlife & Countryside Act (1981) only allows you to do this between 1st August and 31st January.

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