I always assumed that it would be very difficult to actually get a pair of Robins to nest in a prepared box. I’ve tried different open fronted boxes in different locations over the past years without success.
However during the winter of 2020-2021 I settled on a particular box in a location which I felt offered a good chance.
The box is one that I purchased several years ago and has been used previously as a Great Tit nest box.
It had been outside for a few years, used twice by Great Tits. Neither time was the nest successful, chicks were hatched but never fledged. I think this was linked to the location of the box and potentially the weather. With all this previous action and after lots of time outdoors the box was quite worn but still operational.
I converted the box from a hole nest box, of a type needed by Great Tits, to a Robin nest box, which requires an open front, by removing the panel at the front.
The open front gap on this box is just a little less than 100mm which is the recommended size for a Robin, but it is very close. The Box was installed in the front garden of the house, on a wall hidden behind a mixed Ivy/Fir hedge. It seemed a good location as it is hidden within a hedge but at the same time the entrance to the box is clear.
The box is equiped with a camera and light. I’m using the same equipment as for the Great Tit nest box, you can find the details here.
The difficulty of installing the box and camera at the front of the house is that it required a long video cable run, around 25m to bring the feed into the area where I work. This meant that the video was not of the highest quality.
I was quite surprised and also very happy when a pair of Robins decided to use the box for a nest during the summer of 2021. They started building the nest on the 8th June, with 6 chicks finally fledging, from 6 eggs, on the 12th July.
A full record of the successful nest of 2021 can be read here.
Following this first use I made a few changes during the winter of 2021-2022. Firstly I upgraded the camera and cable to improve the image quality. I stayed with the Green Feathers camera brand but took a higher quality camera.
The second change was to install a little bit of cat protection around the bird box. During the nesting of 2021 my cats became aware of the nest and I’m pretty sure that they ended up taking one of the newly fledged chicks. Therefore I installed a type of barrier on the ground which I hope will provide a certain level of protection.