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It’s time to give nature a helping hand, says Lackford Lakes visitor experience officer Hawk Honey, who encourages us to put up a few bird boxes in our gardens

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So as January 2022 kicks into action and we’re back to work, the wildlife in your garden has either been fast asleep or busy plotting the coming months. As for the latter, this will go for most species of small garden birds – they will have been busy looking for and selecting next year’s nesting place. They are looking for somewhere snug and cosy to raise their brood and you can help them with this.

Our impact on the environment means there are fewer ideal nesting places around, such as standing rotted deadwood and more environmentally economical homes with less crooks and crannies available to keep in the heat. All these simple things make it harder for our winged wildlife.

But you can help them by placing the appropriate type of nest box in the right place on or around your property – starting with the small things such as tits, sparrows, robins and wrens. The blue and great tits and the sparrows like your traditional type of nest box with a simple hole high up on the front. The hole size is important in these boxes with a 25mm diameter hole being okay for blue tits and a 32mm hole is good for the other birds. It is always best to get a 32mm hole box as the smaller birds will also use it as well as the larger birds. Then there are the open-fronted boxes that don’t have a hole, but more of a section missing from the front of the box, these are good for your robins and wrens who prefer the openness of this type of box.

Blue tit (54215611)
Blue tit (54215611)

Where to site the box? This is very important, put it the wrong place and it either will not work or the young chicks could die from overheating. The traditional box needs to be situated at least two metres high and in a north to east facing direction. Try to find a nice shady spot and not direct sunlight as with the hotter summers that we are experiencing of late could cause serious problems later for the chicks. For the robins and wrens, these boxes need to be below two metres and hidden well in a hedgerow or dense shrub. This will help protect them from predators.

So, with this in mind, now is the time to go and get your nest box. You do not have to go out, you can order direct from our online shop at suffolkwildlifetrust.org or, if you are out and about, why not pop in to our Lackford Lakes shop, where staff will be on hand to help with any queries that you may have.

Here’s wishing all of our visitors a Happy New Year.

House sparrow (54215621)
House sparrow (54215621)

Lackford Lakes is a 105.8 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. The SSSI is part of the 131 hectare Lackford Lakes nature reserve, which is managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

See suffolkwildlifetrust.org/lackfordlakes