Installation and Monitoring of Bird Boxes

By Keith Walker

A Project Taskforce was recently formed to respond to the demand from members identified in recent questionnaires. The team will look at various aspects, including the ongoing maintenance of Tern Rafts and any special projects that WVBS will undertake in the valley, either alone, or in conjunction with other bodies. This will include larger projects where we will look to raise funding via grants.

The area that interested many members was the building, installation, and monitoring of bird boxes throughout the valley. It is too time consuming for the existing committee to monitor and maintain all boxes, and it is therefore proposed that we ask members to “adopt a box” (you are not restricted to one box and can look after a number in close proximity). The boxes will be provided by the Society and we are looking for help in monitoring activity and feedback if maintenance is required.

The group proposes that we concentrate on the building or acquiring of boxes for four species: Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Little Owl and Kestrel.

An audit is to be undertaken on existing installed WVBS boxes to see if they require repair or replacement and find volunteers to monitor them. A list of locations has been produced.

Volunteers are also to be asked to identify sites where key species are present, close to home, within the WVBS area to locate new boxes, and also seek approval to install them if the desired site is on private land.

Once we understand the likely number of volunteers, we will then either purchase or build the required number of boxes. One member has kindly agreed to help source plywood for boxes and others are interested in building them.

We would also encourage members to install and monitor boxes for garden birds at home. There is an excellent BTO scheme for Nest Recording which we are all encouraged to become involved with. A free starter pack is available from BTO including recording cards. Find information here: www.bto.org/our-science/projects/nrs/taking-part

It would be very helpful if one or two members could join the Taskforce management team. In particular we will need help to maintain records and to help with the sourcing of boxes.

Please let me know at this stage if you wish to volunteer to monitor boxes and/or if you are prepared to join the Taskforce team. If you have already indicated your support on the recent members questionnaire there is no need to respond again. You can contact me by E-mail wvbs.chair@gmail.com or telephone 01603 569897.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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