Advice for Architects, Developers and Land Managers

Most modern buildings in towns, gardens and cities offer few gaps and holes for birds to nest and roost. As a result, bird populations in many areas have declined and in some cases almost disappeared.

 

Installation of nestboxes into new houses, office blocks, precincts and other modern buildings is now a frequent requirement for obtaining planning permission from local authorities. 

The information here offers a wide range of nestbox solutions for buildings, parks and gardens and covers most of the common birds that nest in urban areas. 

Most of the bird boxes here are brick boxes - hollow blocks sized to hold a nest - that are simply cemented in place during brickwork construction. Other solutions, mostly for Swift or House Martin, involve fitting nestboxes under the eaves of buildings. 

Swift

House Sparrow

Starling

Blue and Great Tit

Robin, Spotted Flycatcher and Pied Wagtail

House Martin

Kestrel, Jackdaw and Swift

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Town planners are increasingly asked to allow for wildlife biodiversity in plans for new parks, gardens and other green areas, and it is becoming standard practice to provide nestboxes. 

There are many different commercial nestboxes available. Many are not fit for purpose, so it is important to choose carefully.

 

All the nestboxes below are designed to be fixed to or hung from a tree, post, wall or building.

Small Entrance Hole

Medium

Entrance Hole

Large Entrance Hole

Low Open-Fronted Entrance

Medium

Open-Fronted Entrance

High

Open-Fronted Entrance

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Excessive management of river margins and banks, as well as recreational pressures on lakes and other large water bodies, means there are less nesting opportunities for many riparian bird species - such as Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Sand Martin. The installation of well-designed nestboxes and artificial nests is often a good solution. Many are quite specialised and require advice from ecologists during installation. 

Kingfisher and Sand Martin

Dipper and Grey/Pied Wagtail