Attenborough Arboretum Nest Boxes

Today a small group of members went to Attenborough Arboretum to check on the 22 SLB nest boxes and repair and or re-site as necessary. Before then though we undertook a check of the 2 SLB boxes in the churchyard at Blaby All Saints church. This revealed 2 great tit nests one successfully fledged another unsuccessful with several dead young inside.

At Attenborough Arboretum despite the lovely surroundings – this is an arboretum after all – the boxes showed little signs of use with only one, a tit box, confirmed as occupied. There is no shortage of cover and there was no evidence of disturbance to account for the dismal take up of the boxes. The trees are largely native and the boxes were sited on trees such as silver birch, lime, whitebeam, ash and oak. 


In the hour we were there we saw and/or heard the following –

Robin, blue tit, great tit, nuthatch, treecreeper, blackbird, mistle thrush, magpie, goldfinch, goldcrest, wren, great spotted woodpecker, bullfinch, chaffinch, jackdaw, long tailed tit – so no shortage of bird life. 


Here’s hoping for better results next year ………

SLB Nest Boxes at Rectory Farm

Club members consisting of Dave J, Brian P, Roger, John, Jane H, Martin W & Graham had a visit to Rectory Farm on Monday 22nd October to clean and replace the existing boxes as necessary.


We replaced 2 boxes, refurbished another and added 2 more including a superb little owl type box which we placed in the “middle spinney” away from the other 2 nest box areas.  A big thank you to Brian who made all the boxes!


Out of the 25 existing separate boxes spread over 3 areas, 12 were used to varying degrees. The tree sparrow colony boxes do seem to show extensive use and successful breeding which we are all very pleased about.

Other boxes showed signs of activity with successful fledging, nest material, unhatched eggs, dead fledgling or partial/obvious use.


“Large” Spinney:-

Box 1 – used

Box 2 – used box was replaced with new box, same number

Box 3 – robin box – not used

Box 4 – robin box – not used

Box 5 – blue tit box – not used

Box 6 – robin box – not used

Box 7 – tit box – used by tree sparrow

Box 8 – robin box – not used

Box 9 – robin box – not used

Box 10 – blue tit box – not used

Box 10a – tree sparrow box – used

Box 10b – tree sparrow box – new box 2018 put up

Box 11a, b, c – original colony box – all compartments used

Box 11d and e – compartment d not used, compartment e – used

Box 11f and g – compartment f not used, compartment g – used

Box 12a, b, c – original colony box –used – nest material in all compartments but appeared unfinished/not used.

“Middle” Spinney – a little owl box newly erected 2018

“Small” Spinney

Box 12 – robin box – not used

Box 13 – used by tree sparrow – new box erected to replace, same number 2018

Box 13a – robin box – not used

Box 14 – blue tit box – used by tree sparrow, one unhatched egg in box

Box 15 – new box erected, old box on ground

Box 16 – not used

Box 17 – not used

Box 18 – blue tit box – used -nest material – one unhatched egg.

Oak Tree

Box 20 – blue tit box – used

Box 21 – robin box – not used

It was disappointing again to find that none of the robin/open fronted boxes have been used so we re-sited one and will look to re-site others so that they have more cover and see if that improves occupancy.


SLB Nest Boxes at Rectory Farm

After our recent successful erection of bird boxes at the Attenborough Arboretum it was time to carry out a post breeding visit to Rectory Farm to check on our boxes there.

The first copse contained twelve boxes and I’m pleased to report that all but three had been used (or at least were full of nesting material). There was full occupancy in the two three-berth sparrow colony boxes, in one of which we found a failed egg which was later identified as a great tit – see photo. One open fronted box was in need of repair and one other was resited to take advantage of thicker cover.  Four of the five tit boxes and three of the five open fronted boxes were used with evidence that one of the latter was being used by a small rodent, given the amount of fresh leaves and twigs it contained.

On to the second copse approximately 100 metres nearer to Eyebrook reservoir where nine boxes had been placed. Despite a good search we only located eight – quite where the last one was we still don’t know! Less successful breeding here as only two boxes had been occupied but this is a smaller copse and may not be as desireable as the other. It may also have been the fact that Phil from Rectory Farm had positioned a purpose built seed feeder rack with five feeders near to the first copse which may have had a bearing on the bird’s choice of nesting site.

It was decided to purchase some nest box metal plates for the tit boxes as it was clear a woodpecker had been chipping away at the boxes over the summer. We will make a return trip to instal them soon.

A big thank you to the members who completed the task – Roger, Jane H, Brian C, Brian P, Barry, Ben & Graham.


Attenborough Arboretum Nest Boxes

Six members of the group put up 22 nest boxes in the Arboretum grounds, off Knighton Road, Leicester – 14 tit boxes and 8 open fronted robin type boxes.  A mix of trees and height of box were used and monitoring of the success or otherwise of the various locations will be undertaken following next years breeding season.

Thanks to Ben Lee, Dave Johnson, Roger Keightley, Jane Hibbert, Brian Pepall and Graham Turner for their time, use of equipment and erecting skills.

Photos of the workforce below.

DSCN5799 DSCN5796 DSCN5801

SLB Bird Boxes at Rectory Farm, Great Easton

Following on from Phil Johnson talk at our December indoor meeting it came to light that the bird boxes we had placed in two of the spinneys on the farm were no longer being monitored by Dr Colin Hewitt. It was therefore decided to arrange for a working party to visit the farm to clean them all out and carry out any repairs necessary and if possible to have them ready for this Spring’s breeding season.

So our intrepid group consisting of Roger, Jane H , Sue W, Brian C, and John set off to complete the task in hand. Despite the spinneys being much more dense and them having to fight their way through the branches and the undergrowth they managed to find 21 boxes.

They were happy to report that despite the lack of any attention being given to the boxes their overall condition was very good with just a few in need of repair, and more importantly most of them had been used!

After all of them had received a good clean out, with some being fixed more securely to their tree, a couple of Robin boxes being re sited and a new roof being made for one of the Blue Tit boxes they are now all ready for this years breeding season. Another visit will be arranged later in the year to record breeding successes.

 Bring on the birds!

Eyebrook boxes 1 Eyebrook boxes