Save our birds by building garden ‘love nests', wildlife expert urges

One in four wild bird species are under threat, and this National Nest Box Week experts are appealing to gardeners to do their bit to stop the rapid decline

red bird box with heart shaped hole
(Image credit: Dibor)

A wildlife expert has issued a bird box warning, asking garden owners to make 'love nests' for visiting birds. This is to help the many species currently under threat. 

National Nest Box Week, which coincides nicely with Valentine's Day, is a great chance to boost our wildlife garden ideas, helping birds to reproduce come breeding season, while providing vulnerable baby birds with a place to keep warm.

blue tit at wooden bird box

(Image credit: Sean McMenemy)

Expert bird box warning

According to the latest Birds of Conservation Concern report, a shocking one in four UK bird species is under serious threat. Climate change is said to be wreaking havoc with breeding patterns, plus 90% of the world’s birds are monogamous to an extent. 

Just 37% of blue tits make it through their first year of life, according to the RSPB. The odds are stacked against them, as blue tits must learn to fly, feed and develop predator awareness in order to survive when leaving the nest. 

What's more, some species are having trouble reproducing in the first place. Sean McMenemy, founder of Ark Wildlife, says, 'Between the loss of woodland, tidier gardens and modern, insulated houses, our poor old birds are left with far fewer nesting opportunities.'

sean mcmemeny with home made bird box

(Image credit: Sean McMenemy)

Putting up a bird box, as well as looking into rewilding your garden, will go a long way in helping declining species to thrive. 'Hole-nesting birds such as blue tits will particularly appreciate a suitable nest box,' Sean adds. 

As for the kind of bird box to pick, he says that open-fronted nest boxes will attract a range of species, including robins and blackbirds. Just as humans have preferences about where to go on dates and raise a family, so do birds. 

Sparrows and blue tits favor nest boxes with small entrances. Robins and wrens, on the other hand, prefer open-fronted nest boxes. Then there are birds like starlings and woodpeckers, who need larger holes in their nest boxes.

blue tit flying out of blue bird box with small hole

(Image credit: Sean McMenemy)

'Feeding birds is rewarding enough,' adds Sean, 'but nothing compares to watching a little bird take its first flight. Especially if it’s from a nest box you put up yourself. 

And if we give birds more places to nest and provide healthy bird food, they’ll mate more, which will help to slow the alarming decline in bird species.'

Whether you make your own or purchase one, there are plenty of unique birdhouse design ideas to choose from.

Millie Hurst
News Writer

Millie Hurst has worked in digital journalism for five years, having previously worked as a Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team in early 2021, working across several brands, including Gardeningetc. Now, she is Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles aimed at inspiring people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces.