The story of two bird boxes

A few years ago hubby built two bird boxes with entrances designed to fit different birds – a robin and a blue tit.

The box for the robin featured here when I wrote about a wasps’ nest (or bike). That is the only use the box has seen in its current location. At first it was lower on the garage wall and a field mouse possibly used it.

The blue tits’ box has provided night-time accommodation for one bird at a time during a number of winters. It has never been used by a nesting pair.

This year the wasps used the blue tits’ box. They do not return to the site of a previous nest, but this was very close. After all the wasps’ activity had ceased, hubby dismantled the box.

We had been able to see the nest through the entrance, and the wasps entering and leaving. The entrance to their nest was at the bottom, so they had to make their way around the outside to reach it.

By the time we examined it the papery construction had become food for woodlice.

The clean nest boxes are now ready for their next residents. For completeness I really should mention the snails, which climb high ahead of rainy weather and have been seen under or even inside one of the boxes.

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Wildlife in our garden (Part 3)

There have been lots of insects in our garden this year. The painted lady butterflies have been numerous. Bees of various sizes, hoverflies, a dragonfly, moths and an unusual ladybird have all been observed. (I was going to say spotted!)

An interesting thing this year was that some wasps built a nest in a bird-box intended for wrens or robins. The nest box itself has had a strange history. Originally it was fixed a bit too low for birds; a field-mouse took up residence. The wasps moved in after it was moved higher. They build their nests from chewed wood, which makes a papery substance. Part way through the summer some of their grubs fell (or were pushed?) from the nest.
After the wasps had left hubby dismantled the box and I took photos of the nest. He cleaned the box out (woodlice had moved in) and replaced it. Not long afterwards a young wren explored it. Perhaps next year it will serve its intended purpose.

Another nest box has served as sleeping quarters for a blue tit for a few winters. It was made from a piece of log and has now disintegrated. Its replacement has the opening facing in a different direction. We shall see…