Spring Garden: Battle for the Nest

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

When I moved into my new house in October 2019 there was already a nest box attached to the garden fence. It was placed in the perfect position, between a conifer tree and the garden hut, out of direct sunlight, and protected from wind. It ticks all of the boxes according to the RSPB 'Making and placing a bird box'.

The fact that the nest box was well established was good news, as there was a fair chance that the birds were already familiar with it, therefore heightening the chances of use the following Spring.

In late February this year, I noticed a pair of great tits starting to visit the box. Initially they perched cautiously on the fence, or at the entrance hole, but eventually they started venturing inside. Since then, then, the great tits have made an appearance almost every day.

Great tit

I realised that the great tits have been spending a lot of time pecking at the entrance hole and I did wonder whether the bird was trying to make it bigger. After a quick google however, I realised this not the case, the great tits are just excited about finding a new home, and are marking their territory ahead of the breeding season. By creating visual and audible displays, the great tits are showing other birds that this nest box is taken - effectively putting up a bird's version of a 'Sold' sign.

Fair play to the great tits, however, it hasn't stopped the competition turning up. Since early April, blue tits are tree sparrows have been eyeing up and entering the nest box.

Tree sparrow

Will the great tits be able to defend their patch? Only time will tell. I have recently put up a second nest box, so hopefully the others discover it soon.

Stay tuned for the next update on Nest Battle.

Blue tit

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