Don't miss out!

Subscribe to our Free Newsletter and get the latest from Garden Help:

Gardening News
Great Competitions
Special Offers
Videos & Projects

For a limited time we are also giving a FREE GIFT to every new subscriber. Sign up and receive your free copy of '12 Months in the Garden'


Garden Help
Sign Up
Diagnose plant problems and treat garden pests

Get Gardening Help!

Home > Gardening News >

National Nestbox Week - Choosing the right bird box with BGC

Britain is known for its love of birds, and with National Nestbox Week (14th – 21st February) underway, we focus on breeding garden birds during this important time of year. One way to help improve the quality of life for birds is to introduce a bird box to your garden. A bird box is just as important as a feeder or bird bath when looking after garden birds. The British Garden Centres team has created a guide to help you choose the perfect bird box to ensure birds have a safe and comfortable home.

The bird population in Britain is facing a serious shortage of nesting holes as our gardens, parks, and woodlands have been transformed into more neat spaces, leaving fewer natural holes for birds to nest in. The removal of dead trees, the trimming of hedges, and the clearing of fallen branches, which once provided a safe and secure home for birds, are now seen as unsightly and often removed from the landscape.

In addition to this, modern buildings offer fewer nooks and crannies, which birds could use as a place to nest. The design of modern buildings leaves fewer gaps for birds to inhabit. The decline in the ecosystems they inhabit is also contributing. Birds play a vital role in the food chain, and their absence can have far-reaching consequences. Therefore, we must take steps to address this issue by creating more habitats for birds to nest and a nestbox from your local British Garden Centres store is the ideal solution.

How to choose your bird/nestbox

Regarding bird boxes, there are two primary types: those with a hole at the front and open-fronted boxes.

The holed bird boxes tend to be most popular with smaller garden birds such as tits and sparrows. Be sure to look for boxes with a variety of hole sizes to accommodate different species of birds. A small 25-28mm hole is perfect for the tit family and tree sparrows, while a larger 45mm hole is ideal for larger birds like starlings and blackbirds.

Open-fronted boxes are preferred by birds that prefer to nestle in undergrowth, such as robins and song thrushes.

When selecting your bird box, it is important to choose one made from an insulated material like wood, with walls that are at least 15mm thick to prevent warping out in the unpredictable UK weather.

The internal floor area of your bird box should measure at least 130 square centimetres (20 square inches) to allow the birds to lay their eggs and raise their young comfortably. Additionally, drainage holes located at the bottom can be a useful addition, as can a sloped roof to help water runoff during wet, rainy spells. Your local British Garden Centres team will be able to advise the best choices for our feathered friends in your garden.

Positioning your nestbox

We suggest that you position your nestboxes on tree trunks or posts high up and away from predators like cats. Ideally, you should secure them on a tree with plenty of foliage to provide cover and shelter. For boxes with an open front, you can place them at around head height on walls or fences.

We recommend you avoid hanging your bird box in direct sunlight as the birds may not be able to tolerate the heat. Try facing the nestbox between a northern and easterly direction, as this provides natural protection from the weather elements.

Don’t hang multiple bird boxes close together. This can cause aggressive behaviour between neighbouring birds, especially during the nesting season.

Cleaning your nestbox

It’s important to clean your bird boxes at the end of every nesting season. This helps to prevent the spread of avian diseases and keep your feathered friends in good health.

October or November is the prime time to clean and refresh your bird box as they are no longer occupied. The inside of your bird box should be easily accessed through the roof or a side hatch so you can dispose of old nesting materials and give the box a thorough clean before rehanging. Always wear rubber gloves and use boiling water when cleaning as some diseases can affect humans too and dispose of your cleaning brush immediately.

Amy Stubbs of British Garden Centres said: “We are delighted to help with National Nestbox Week by emphasising the importance of providing nesting spaces for British garden birds. Due to habitat loss from urbanisation and modern building design, there's a shortage of natural nesting sites and our team can offer guidance on selecting bird boxes to bring avian visitors to your home.”

Latest News from

This story was published on: 23/02/2024

Image attribution: (Free)

Links to external, or third party websites, are provided solely for visitors' convenience. Links taken to other sites are done so at your own risk and Garden Help accepts no liability for any linked sites or their content. When you access an external website, keep in mind that Garden Help has no control over its content. Any link from us to an external website does not imply or mean that Garden Help endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content or the use of such website. Garden Help does not give any representation regarding the quality, safety, suitability, or reliability of any external websites or any of the content or materials contained in them. It is important for users to take necessary precautions, especially to ensure appropriate safety from viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other potentially destructive items. When visiting external websites, users should review those websites' privacy policies and other terms of use to learn more about, what, why and how they collect and use any personally identifiable information. Hyperlinks and hypertext links are provided on our website to promote easy access to the variety of information and services provided. We accept no liability arising out of the use of such links, including: misuse or misunderstanding of these hyperlinks and hypertext links and web site navigational methods third party interpretation of data or information which is distributed around the web site and reached using hypertext and hyperlinks third party understanding of or use of the navigational structure of the site or the interpretation of distributed information on the site We may revise this disclaimer at any time, without prior notice, by updating this web page.

We work hard to make sure that every image is used properly and according to the creator's wishes. If you feel that there is a attribution or copyright issue, please Click Here IMMEDIATELY

Latest Gardening News

Latest Gardening & Horticultural Careers

Explore Gardens from Around the World


RHS Garden, Wisley
Woking, United Kingdom


Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
Pamplemousses, Mauritius


Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Garden Deals & Offers

Save 51%: Carbon Steel Grill Mobile Stove Charcoal BBQ
Save 51%: Carbon Steel Grill Mobile Stove Charcoal BBQ
78% off the Living and Home 3 Tier Plant Stand
78% off the Living and Home 3 Tier Plant Stand
Fiji 4 Piece Rattan Lounge Set Was:&pound229.99 Now:&pound99.99
Fiji 4 Piece Rattan Lounge Set Was:£229.99 Now:£99.99
Save 20%: Spear & Jackson 45cm Cordless Pole Hedge Trimmer
Save 20%: Spear & Jackson 45cm Cordless Pole Hedge Trimmer

Watch a Video!

Pruning an Overgrown Climbing Rose
Pruning an Overgrown Climbing Rose
Sweet Peas in November
Sweet Peas in November
Growing Runner Beans & Planting in Succession
Growing Runner Beans & Planting in Succession
Planting a Spring Flowering Container
Planting a Spring Flowering Container
Growing Geraniums
Growing Geraniums
Removing a Tree
Removing a Tree