Garden centres promote National Nest Box Week

Nesting birds
Nesting birds

Garden centres are encouraging their shoppers to get involved with National Nest Box Week (NNBW) to help give homes to breeding birds in time for spring.

National Nest Box Week was set up in 1997 to help replace natural nesting sites that are being destroyed due to trees being cut down, gardens being tidied and old buildings being repaired.

Birstall Garden Centre owner Jordan Lee said: "It is crucial at this time of year that we give a helping hand to the conservation of our wildlife and Nest Box Week is a great way to give a home to a family of birds that otherwise wouldn’t have one."

To coincide with the bird box week, Millbrook Garden Centre in Gravesend, Kent has opened an innovative revamped bird hide.
Outdoor facilities manager Graham Huckstep said: "We wanted to make it even more of a feature at the garden centre and inspire our customers in a fun and visual way to make their own gardens wildlife-friendly. We gutted the hide and revamped the inside to make it a one of a kind hide, a very exciting place to be.

On the inside walls of the bird hide there are original illustrations by Kirsty Mauritz, who is the daughter of Sue and Dick Allen, the original founders of Millbrook.  There is a bird identification wall, an explaination of the plants on the wildlife bank, why they are there and what they will attract, also a section showing what different birds do throughout the different seasons.

"The hide is now full of visual information for all ages to enjoy. It explains all about the wildlife area the hide looks on to. Our aim is for it to be a fun learning space for families," said Huckstep.

He added: "We decided to officially open the hide on February 15 to tie in with National Nest Box Week organised by the British Trust for Ornithology and to link in with our bird-themed children’s activities running during half-term."

Since NNBW started there has been approximately five million more boxes made available to birds across the UK. Officially Nest Box Week runs until the 21 February.

Jeff Baker of the British Trust for Ornithology said: "Putting a nest box up is one of the easiest of things that we can do to help. Whether it is a homemade box or a specially designed box that has been purchased, the joy of seeing it occupied is exactly the same."

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