Tuesday, 1 March 2011

New Nest Boxes on Chorlton Ees and Ivy Green

Recently, with the aid of a grant from the City Council, FoCM were able to purchase a number of bat boxes and twenty bird nesting boxes.

Ten of the bird boxes have been sited on the Chorlton Ees side (south side) of Chorlton Brook and ten on the Ivy Green side (north side).
The boxes are located both within the woodland and on the woodland edge adjacent to paths and open grassland.

The boxes are positioned so that their entrances face north/north east and this orientation shields the entrances from direct sunlight and the prevailing westerly winds.

There are very few mature trees on Chorlton Meadows because, prior to landfill, they were part of the flood plain of the river Mersey and used for grazing cattle. What is to be seen today is plantation woodland, thirty to forty years old - and certainly no older than fifty years; these trees are too young to have developed natural nest holes. Given good management and a hundred years there will, perhaps, be no need of nest boxes.
In the wider countryside there are fewer old trees available, due, in part, to the modern practise of lopping branches or clear felling trees at the first sign of rot (Health and Safety) thus denying birds of natural nest holes in which to raise their young and provide refuge in the winter months.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and The British Trust for Ornithology give guidance on the size of aperture for boxes depending on what species it is hoped to attract 25mm for Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) 32mm Great Tit (Parus major) But all our boxes are 32mm as we believe that this provides access to many woodland species. In the wild natural holes in trees do not appear in any particular shape or size.

The value of nest boxes as shelter in winter is illustrated by the fact that sixty Wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) have been counted occupying a single box!

By installing these boxes we hope to attract a greater number of species which can only add, especially in spring, to the enjoyment of all who use our local green space. We will add more boxes as funds become available.

All of the boxes have been numbered and their exact locations measured using GPS. They will be monitored to determine which species use them. Sadly we seem to have lost one box already - we think that it has been stolen.

We would like to thank Mark Hackett and Mark Agar who did the hard work of putting up the boxes.

John Agar, March 2011

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