Thinking out of the box

Did you know that this is National Nestbox Week?

The 14-21st.February has been designated as the week when everyone should be encouraged to introduce a nestbox to their local area in order to "promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of breeding birds and wildlife.”


The initiative was started by Jacobi Jayne & Co., nestbox manufacturers and suppliers of garden bird & wildlife foods and accessories, in partnership with the late Chris Mead of the British Trust for Ornithology. Over the last 19 years of its existence, it has become an established event in the ornithological calendar.

Any one can take part in this special activity week - either as an individual or with a group of friends, workmates or neighbours. By adding a new nestbox to their local area, participants can enjoy increased numbers and variety of garden birds and enjoy the thrill of observing the raising of young at close quarters.

As natural nest sites such as holes in trees and dense hedgerows are becoming increasingly sparse, bird populations are becoming more dependent on manmade alternatives. Further information and helpful tips for siting your nestbox and monitoring its inhabitants are available from the BTO website here. National Nestbox Week offers an ideal opportunity for individuals, families, farms and workplaces to take up the challenge to “Bang Up A Box”  in support of the whole spectrum of wild bird species.

A nestbox will encourage birds into your garden or work site.

It is not only garden birds which are currently in need of support with nest sites: owls and other birds of prey are also victim to a sharp decline in natural spinneys and copses and plentiful barns and farm buildings.

The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary strives to reverse this trend in its immediate locality through the East Anglian Wild Owl Nestbox Scheme which is run in conjunction with the Thornham Nestbox Project. Funded by our supporters, dedicated volunteers Roger and Kevin have been running this initiative for several years and now monitor and maintain around 300 nestboxes within the county. They hold the necessary Disturbance Licence to approach boxes and to handle the inhabitants in order to measure, weigh and ring progeny.

Roger sets about ringing one of the tenants of a box
from our Wild Owl Nestbox Scheme

Those interested in having a nestbox located on their land can contact the pair to receive free advice on the habitat required, a site assessment, the supply and erection of a nestbox on a suitable site and an annual audit of activity therein. Not all sites are conducive to a box for wild owls and other birds of prey: surrounding habitat must offer a good quantity and diversity of habitat for important food sources such as mice, voles and shrews. For example, in order for a pair of Barn Owls to thrive and breed successfully, they need around 120 acres of permanent rough grassland over which to hunt!

S.O.S. are working hard to maximise breeding sites within Suffolk for the protection and conservation of wild owls and other birds of prey. For additional information on native wild owls, building nestboxes, creating habitat in support of the wild owl population, assisting injured owls and the law pertaining to owls, please request a copy of our free booklet, “Saving Britain’s Owls” by ‘phoning 0345 680 7897, emailing or downloading a copy via this link


To discuss the siting and maintenance of a wild owl nestbox within Suffolk, please contact Suffolk Owl Sanctuary using the details above.