Homes for Birds Week is observed every year during the second full week in February. This year, it takes place from February 13 to 19. It is a week aimed at promoting and enhancing biodiversity by encouraging people to build and set up nest boxes for birds. Though nest boxes have existed since ancient times, the modern nest box didn’t come onto the scene until the early 19th century. It was invented by the British conservationist, Charles Waterton. Nest boxes are vital in preserving birdlife, which in turn, maintains a balanced ecosystem.
History of Homes for Birds Week
Not much is known about the history of Homes for Birds Week, other than the fact that it aims to encourage people to put up nest boxes for birds.
Also known as a bird house or bird box, a nest box is a man-made enclosure constructed to provide birds with a place to nest. Its purpose is to promote and enhance biodiversity through maintaining populations of bird species in a particular area. The modern nest box was invented by Charles Waterton in the early 19th century. The intention of the British conservationist was to increase wildfowl and birdlife on his estate, Walton Hall, which he later converted into the world’s first wildfowl and nature reserve. Nest boxes are usually made of wood, built with a sloped roof, recessed floor, and an entrance hole in the front. Other materials can also be used, including concrete, ceramic, plastic, metal, or a mixture of wood and concrete, known as woodcrete. Certain birds are selective of the material used in building the nest box. For example, sparrows prefer woodcrete.
When constructing nest boxes, the size of the opening also tends to determine the type of bird that will nest in it. For instance, small birds prefer boxes with holes only large enough to allow an adult bird to pass through. It has been suggested that this behavior occurs to prevent other birds from invading the nest. Wrens and treecreepers are likely to be attracted to small boxes, while ducks and owls flock towards larger ones.
Homes for Birds Week timeline
In Turkey, birdhouses are built for swallows and sparrows.
‘Bird bottles’ are built to capture birds in the United States.
Native Americans build birdhouses using birch bark.
Charles Waterton invents the modern nest box.
Homes for Birds Week FAQs
Should you put anything in a nest box?
No, it is not advisable to put anything in a nest box.
Do birds roost in nest boxes?
Yes, many birds roost in nest boxes, especially during cold weather.
Where do birds lay eggs?
Though it depends on the species of the bird, most birds lay their eggs in a nest.
Homes for Birds Week Activities
Buy or build a nest box
Put those carpentry skills to good use by building a nest box yourself. If you can’t, go ahead and buy one. Whichever option you choose, the end result is the same.
Put up a nest box
Enhance the biodiversity in your area. Mount a nest box in your yard.
Use the hashtag
Spread awareness so others can learn about the importance of building homes for birds. Post about it on social media with the hashtag #homesforbirds or #homesforbirdsweek.
5 Important Facts About Charles Waterton
He was born at Walton Hall on June 3, 1872.
He was born into a Roman Catholic, gentry family and was a descendant of Reiner de Waterton.
He studied at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, England.
Waterton was a devout Roman Catholic, maintaining strong links with the Vatican in spite of the English Reformation.
Waterton died on May 27, 1865, a month before his 83rd birthday.
Why We Love Homes for Birds Week
Nest boxes enhance biodiversity
Nest boxes help to preserve birdlife in our environment. It has been proven that nest boxes increase the population of birds in an area.
Birds are guardians of our environment
One might wonder what makes birds so important to the environment. It turns out that they are indispensable, as they are pollinators, control pests, and maintain the balance of the ecosystem. This underscores the need to add more nest boxes to our landscape.
Birds are serene
Birds are lovely and serene creatures. They add beauty to our environment.
Homes for Birds Week dates