Sunday 2 April 2023

Birdbox 2023: new home, new location, new birdbox

2022 was all about moving house


so I didn't have time to fire-up the birdbox system or even keep my eye on nesting progress.

And I'm not sure that this year will be much better, but here goes.

This time last year we were busy working on the house, preparing to put it on the market. It was high time we sold our 4 bed family house and down-sized to something more manageable.

Although we found buyers and a new place to move into by early May, current property chain dynamics meant that we were only just starting a slow, bumpy, nail biting journey. However, by December last year we were able to move into this lovely, two bedroom cottage just a few hundred yards from Aldwick beach.

We half-expected to be exchanging great tits for 'sea gulls' and that we would need to get our bird-fix just along the beach at RSPB wrong were we!

However, with 'the move' came other changes, and I no longer want to spend hours recording, viewing and editing birdbox video. We looked around and found a supplier of long lasting concrete birdboxes. This kind of box mostly consisted of a wood/concrete mix and is often referred to as "woodcrete" or "woodstone". Its bloody heavy, so I had to chose a position away from lawn and footpaths as I've no doubt it could kill if it dropped onto someones head.

We have some kind of evergreen eucalyptus tree at the bottom of the garden which looked like the best host for this box, so I hung it from a very large nail (into a pre-drilled hole) on the main trunk, about 2.5m above ground.

The box is not adaptable for a camera, but as already mentioned, we wont be spending any more time on birdbox video. And I expect this predator proof, low maintenance box to last longer than I will, so its just providing a service to the birds rather than a means to discover more about bird behaviour.

However, we will be following progress from outside the box as the season progresses, and in late March we first noticed blue tits going in and out the box.

frequent visits with food and bedding


birds in our new garden

As already mentioned, we didn't have high hopes but have been really surprised by the diversity so far. Apart from blue, coal & great tits we have seen large numbers of green and gold finches, sometimes in flocks of over 30 birds. We do see and hear 'sea gulls' but never seen one land on the lawn. Quite a lot of wood pigeons, collared doves and a few magpies, and of course a few blackbirds, thrush, wren, dunnock and a robin or two.

Just about every day for the last few weeks a male blackcap has visited the bird feeder. Normally, green finches are able to chase away any bird of similar size, but this blackcap has attitude and clears the feeder before dining!

A goldcrest (or maybe several) is also a regular visitor which flies into a camelia bush then hops from branch to branch hunting for spiders and other insects.

We frequently hear woodpeckers (drumming and the call of the green woodpecker); we know there are greater spotted woodpeckers on this estate, but are yet to see one. However we have had a green woodpecker scooping up ants from our lawn (a reminder not to destroy ant nests if they are not really bothering you!).


other projects?

If (and its a big if) I get time this year, I'd like to make use of that expensive USB microphone I used a few years back to record bats. Only this time I'd like to build a BirdNET monitor using a RaspberryPi this space!

Also take a look at my earlier BirdNET post.

And we may invest in a trailCam to see what (if anything) is creeping around the garden after dark. This garden is fairly well blocked off, so unlikely to see any hedgehogs. But a near neighbour claims that the "shreded" remains of his cat was the victim of a fox! (really? ...I don't think so)

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