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British Trust for Ornithology marks 20 years of National Nestbox Week

The British Trust for Ornithology in Thetford. Pictured are (L) birdtrack support officer Stephen McAvoy and database developer Justin Walker. Picture: Ian Burt

The British Trust for Ornithology in Thetford. Pictured are (L) birdtrack support officer Stephen McAvoy and database developer Justin Walker. Picture: Ian Burt

Next week the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) will celebrate the 20th annual National Nestbox Week.

The British Trust for Ornithology in Thetford. Picture: Ian Burt The British Trust for Ornithology in Thetford. Picture: Ian Burt

Organised by the Thetford-based organisation, the week - from February 14 - encourages people to provide a nesting site for our treasured garden birds - many of which are struggling after a very poor 2016.

Blue Tits in particular are having a hard time with total numbers down by 11pc and the number of young last year down by a third.

Providing suitable nestboxes can help by offering good quality, safe homes for growing families in the 2017 breeding season.

The BTO’s preliminary report on the 2016 breeding season shows that mean spring temperatures in 2016 were slightly below average in April and rising slightly above in May.

Southern and eastern England experienced a wet early and late spring, whilst heavy rainfall in northern England and Scotland was limited to April.

This means that during the critical period, when several of the garden bird species were nesting, temperatures were low and rainfall high, affecting the availability of the caterpillars and grubs they rely on to feed their chicks.

Jeff Baker, of the BTO, said: “One of the limiting factors for breeding birds is available nest sites, and carefully placed nest boxes can provide the birds with exactly what they need.

“Putting up a box now will mean the birds have time to find them before the start of the breeding season. Whatever weather spring 2017 brings us, having a warm, dry and secure nest site can help Blue Tits and other familiar garden birds.”

For more information visit https://www.bto.org/

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