Encouraging Nature at Home: Building Nesting Boxes and Bug Hotels

Examples of Bird Boxes and Bug Hotels

By Jonny - Camborne Town Council Amenities Technician

Feelings of Nostalgia

Lying in an observation post (OP) as a young Royal Marine might sound like a funny way to start this piece, but it is as close a resemblance as I can remember to how quiet it is in the countryside at the moment.

With the weather being as good as it has during Lockdown, I’m sure the many of us who can, have enjoyed their one piece of exercise a day, whether it be a run, cycle or simply a walk with those from our households.  The most noticeable things for me in relation to nature has been the quietening of human traffic, making way for the sounds emitted from the skies and our surrounding rural settings.  Bird song has been so much more prevalent now the Lockdown is in place and the routine hustle and bustle of daily life has slowed (and of course for good reason).

As a Look Forward

This year we can hope to have an amazing breeding season for a vast array of UK wildlife.  If you have a moment just type into an internet search engine, “lockdown breeding season UK” or “UK wildlife lockdown” and you will be amazed at the amount of articles already written about the significant impact lockdown is having on letting nature bounce back by subject matted experts that can put it much more eloquently than myself.

With sightings of Cornish Choughs flying over coastal gardens and being photographed on coastal paths, ospreys nesting in Poole, deer being seen in the rural streets during the day and even the story of Pandas breeding in captivity.

In this unprecedented time of bad news and in many cases grief, this could be a time for us to try and concentrate on the more favourable byproducts like;

  • Time spent with family
  • Time to improve our fitness and wellbeing
  • Time to read a book
  • Time to help nature

Which brings me to the point of all my waffling on....

What we can do to Help our Surrounding

There are so many ways we can benefit ourselves and nature at the same time.  As I sit writing this piece in my kitchen I can hear bird song coming through my window and it is a lovely thing, I live within 200m of the Library, so am by no means “out in the sticks”, and can usually only hear traffic and odd siren, this is a moment I am choosing to cherish.  That doesn’t mean that, when the traffic comes back and lockdown is lifted that the birds will all leave, but serves as a reminder that they are there, and in order to enjoy seeing and hearing them we could encourage them into our gardens and slightly more urban settings with nest boxes and feeding stations. (Thus the mutual benefit)

Buying

Nesting boxes, feeding stations and bug hotels are relatively inexpensive to buy and can be easily found on the internet and delivered to your door.  They can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes depending on the types of birds/pollinators you wish to encourage into your area.  And buying one is by no means a cop out, children can decorate and make additions, putting their own mark on them, as well as knowing that maybe not at first but that in the near future there may soon be a new family becoming their neighbours. Also keep your eye out when doing your essential shopping as these seasonal items will now be in stock.

Example of boxes to buy HERE

DIY

And for the more adventurous amongst you they can be a great activity to indulge in, for yourself or  with children.  They can come as kits, which are great! Or you can find specifications online with the RSPB, these will encompass the materials to use, tools needed and even places to put them up.

Example of kits HERE

Example to build HERE

Final thoughts

With summer approaching and many of us uncertain when schools will go back and lockdown will be lifted, this could be a great first step to enhancing the diversity of your own gardens, window boxes and further the diversity that visits our green spaces in the future.

we have a chance to reconnect to nature, something essentially important for today’s children, because if they don’t know about nature (mammals, reptiles, birds, bugs, plants, trees etc…) then they aren’t going to miss it when it’s gone.

Most importantly they are the natural worlds custodians of the future.