A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

As Spring is upon us, we’ve been busy in recent months adding to the selection of nest boxes we have on offer to the Lizard’s feathery residents.
Bird boxes
The National Trust has more than a dozen holiday cottage gardens in our care, and we’ve committed to making these more wildlife friendly. Our volunteers have been making robin boxes (which are open fronted) and sparrow and tit boxes, from untreated timber and recycled pond liner for hinges, to go up around the gardens. We’ve found that a metal plate around the tit box entrance hole prevents the hole being widened out, which invariably happens otherwise, by the tits themselves doing some fine tuning, or predators like squirrels attempting to get in.

We’ve also constructed some swift boxes, to see if we can increase the number of pairs nesting in and around National Trust farmyards locally, and we have located a bespoke grey wagtail box under one of the river bridges at Poltesco, this being one of the few places they reside on The Lizard.
Installing a Barn Owl box
Sometimes you don’t get what you bargained for though! A barn owl box at Grochall was never used by the intended guests to our knowledge. It was first used as a roost by a tawny owl, and later became home to wild honey bees.

We tolerated them for over a season, but after a few stings (the box was above a much used entrance to our timber store) we decided they needed to be rehomed to a beekeeper. So after a few phone calls off they went, still inside their barn owl box home, heavy with honey!
Great Tit
If you are interested in erecting bird boxes, handy resources for dimensions are available on the BTO’s website, and there are tips on positioning boxes on the RSPB’s website. Remember to clean any boxes you have out, over Autumn or Winter.

We look forward to seeing who moves in!

Published: May 2019
Author: Rachel Holder: Area Ranger, The Lizard