The Box was home-made and built during the winter of 2017-18. Actually from the wood previous used by the boys when they were younger as a ramp for their toy cars. You can even still see the markings written on the wood by the boys, start line, finish line, etc. The entire lid of the box is hinged with the hinge being made from an old bike tyre. Once built the box was treated with a standard wood stain protector. The box hole size is 28 mm.
The box is located in the back garden of the house. It is around 1.5 m from the ground in an ivy hedge bordering the neighbouring house. The box also has cover from a mature Red-Robin (Photinia) bush. The Box is installed only around 2m from the back wall of the house. The nest box hole is pointed North East, 30o NE, and in general gets very little sun.
During the winter of 2018-19 a video camera was added to the box. It is a wireless camera, of the type shown below.
The wireless receiver box is located on the back window sill around 3m from the box itself. Picture quality is good although never in colour and unfortunately the audio does not seem to work very well.
Since it’s installation the camera has been recording in black and white as there was insufficient light in the box for colour. However during the summer of 2020 I have fitted a small LED light into the box. It is from Greenfeathers, the same manufacturer as the camera.
It also requires installation of a daylight sensor so that the light is only only during daylight hours and off during the night. It seems very bright although I understand that it shouldn’t put the nesting birds off.
In addition a motion activated trail camera is installed on the back wall and takes external shots of the birds entering, leaving and in the bushes around the box.
The box was installed in its’ current position in March 2018. It was used during the spring of 2018 and a pair of great tits successfully raised a brood.
Unfortunately I took the decision during the winter of 18-19, whilst installing the video camera, not to clean out the nest material from the previous year. I now know that this was a mistake, great tits will not re-use a box unless the previous years’ nesting material is removed, and the nest was not used during the 2019 breeding season. Another box in the garden, the tree nest box, was used by a pair of great tits during spring 2019 but the brood was not successful and all chicks died within the first 2 weeks.
During the winter of 2019 I removed the competing tree nest box and cleaned and disinfected the fence nest box ready for the 2020 breeding season. I was obviously hoping that these changes would encourage the use of the box for 2020.
Luckily all worked well and a successful brood was raised during April-May 2020. 5 chicks were successfully fledged from a clutch size of 8.
I managed to record the full story of the nest and it can be re-lived on the website.
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