Thursday, 14 February 2008


Today I decided we'd have a bit of a change! I've been staying with my parents all week which has been wonderful. I don't really do lying around doing nothing so I have actually been working every day except one this week. It's been nice, I feel ready to face some kids again on Monday (or at least I will when I spend Sunday planning lessons and printing them out!)
My Dad runs a work based learning project for people with learning difficulties. They basically make garden furniture (and other things), with the aim of giving people the skills they need to be able to work.
They also make a range of nest boxes, and by coincidence it's National Nestbox week in the UK. If you do have a garden then putting up a nestbox is a really great idea. If you do get birds in it watching them fly back and forth feeding chicks is great fun. Its also good for our wildlife. If you don't have a garden them maybe you could try putting up a bird feeder. You can get window mounted ones now and the birds don't seem to mind coming so close to the house if there's food involved!

If you feel like being ultra- creative then there are directions for making your own nest box here. It's really not that tricky, I'm actually really enjoying playing with power tools!
If you have a really big rural garden you could even try a tawny owl box!
Just click on the picture to see the measurements, these things are huge!

Edited to add that a commentator has let me know that this tawny owl box design might not be the greatest. I don't know enough to really comment, it is however taken from the RSPB website. Feel free to make your own (educated) decision, we're all about personal choice here at chez hilltop. I'd say that with any bird box you need to make sure it is well constructed, can you imagine the guilt if it broke while having chicks in it! I have no doubt that whatever design is made at my Dad's project it is well constructed, after all it would have been made by my power tool wielding mother!


  1. These are so great, and Eliza would love the bird-viewing opportunities. We have no power tools to speak of, though :-(

  2. Sadly this type of box has little to recommend it and I wouldn't suggest using it. Construction design is poor (unsafe) as the whole front of the box can pull off the back panel -- the side panels should be fixed to the sides of the back panel, not the front. Likewise the floor should be inside the other panels, not below.
    I don't know why the bto and rspb persist with these tube designs -- they're awful in several respects. The letterbox design shown here is actually quite a lot better than the abysmal chimney box, which with its open top is probably the worst nestbox ever designed for any bird! And they're often made too small. This box is 12 inches diagonally across the bottom, when tawny owls are minimum 14 inches long, so just ok, but so many make them even smaller. They're not the best for chick survival either, especially with no ledge. The pole out to the side is silly and could tempt a chick into an accident.
    The tree attachment implied by the hole in the back panel is just frightening.
    Sorry to strike a discordant note. Try my website ( for more tawny-friendly designs.
    romillyh (an anti-tube box campaigner I guess)