Bird Barn logo
Wooden bird box mounted to side of painted shed

Is it too late to put up a bird box

What with the nesting season being February through August, past this time would seem no point in putting up a bird box, but that is not completely true.

You can put up a bird box 12 months of the year because if you missed the 7 mouth nesting season, you can get ready for the roosting months ahead. Put up a bird box now to be ready in the colder months. But at the beginning of each year, your the bird box would be ready to go for nesting.

When to put up a bird box officially would be between February through August, right at the peak of nesting season in the UK.

Its therefore recommended to put up a box in January to be ready for any possibilities, including the likelihood of early nesters.

More than likely to happen in January time is wild birds arriving at your bird box not to nest, but to simply roost - which means they only use the bird box to sleep in during the cold, wet months outside the nesting season.

And it often doesn't matter how big a bird box is, as you can expect to see a dozen small or medium size species of birds using a bird box to roost at any given time.

But while a bird box for nesting would see mamma and pappa build their nest inside the box with mixed material - that doesn't happen to roost.

Only when you know the birds have left the bird box as the weather gets milder, can you clean out the bird box ready for new occupants to move in.

Never too late to put up a bird box

You might not of realised this but a bird box can pretty much be used all year round, so if its not being used to raise chicks - it can be used to roost many birds at one time.

If you decide to put up a bird box early on in the year from January through February, then you are way ahead of the nesting season.

March through August then you are in the peak of the nesting season, so get it up right now to avoid missing out with nesting birds.

However, September through December is far outside the nesting season so never expect to see chicks exit the bird box, ever.

On a plus side the bird box is still going to be used by a few or many wild birds at once, as its re-purposed for roosting.

Roost in box if not nesting

If you've missed the nesting season going late into August, so leading into the autumn, winter time, be prepared for roosting.

Its no big deal really, as you won't always see common garden birds use your box, but to roost the bird box becomes a simple cosy, warm place to see out the chilly, wet winter nights.

So, it isn't too late to put up a bird box because as I've said, there's multiple seasons for wild birds to make the best of a wooden bird box all year round.

Its not a guarantee birds will nest, nor is it a certainty wild birds will roost; but to have a more multi-purpose bird box in use with a larger entrance hole, is going to cater to a wider species, rather than restrict access.

No rush to site box

With all that in mind, you don't then want to rush putting up a bird box as its only going to result in no success of nesting or roosting birds.

Example of that is positioning the bird box in the wrong location for the type of birds you want to attract, while locating the box to high or too low can be a big issue.

Follow my advice about siting a bird box in the correct location to allow birds to nest or roost in complete safety.

Rushing to put up a bird box can also result in it facing the wrong way.

Bird boxes put up by people must always face north, north/east as to avoid direct sunshine while facing away from southerly winds.

Check integrity of bird box

While you can put up a bird box all year round as its never going be to early or to late, but do remember to always look after the bird box.

What I am referring to is not only making sure its fixed securely to the wall or fence post, but it can never drop down with occupants inside.

You will also want to make sure you can access the bird box with ease as to avoid damaging it, or worst still - knocking it off if you were to fall onto to it.

What you want to do is access the bird box by pulling up lid or side entrance, unhindered.

Don't disturb wild birds during the nesting season as its against the law in the UK, but to check the bird boxes integrity, only do so from a far.

To summarise

It is never to to too put up a bird box as wild birds can use it for two purposes, as 8 months of the year, bird boxes can be used for the nesting season.

And the final months can be used to roost on their own or with a large group in one box.

With that in mind, do not rush to put up a bird box because it can still be used for either purpose, so its not a waste of time that's for sure.

Take your time to site the bird box as you would if you didn't feel rushed as to avoid locating the bird box in all the wrong places.

In putting up a bird box to nest or roost, all the same rules apply.

Site the bird box up high and out of the way; face it north or north/east; while offering enough clearing for birds to enter and exit the entrance hole with ease.

Share this article: