Backwell Environment Trust

...15 years of conservation, protection, improvement...

Nest Box Survey 2015/2016/2017

Clearing the nest boxes is a bit like a lucky dip – you never quite know what you are going to find.  In past years there have been indignant yellow-necked mice, a wasp nest, squirrel nests, a wad of wax moth cocoons, and always a selection of huge spiders, countless woodlice and fat slugs. 


We do also find bird nests and dormice nests and, as Gill will attest, fleas! The surprise for 2015/6 was finding that one of the owl boxes was not stuffed with the dead leaves typical of squirrel occupation, but dry green leaves indicating that a dormouse had been in residence.

Great Tit

Jubilee Stone Wood has 26 boxes and Badgers Wood 30.  In both reserves about 50% had bird nests. On looking inside, what one hopes to see is a nest from which it is evident that all chicks have successfully fledged.  Occasionally we find abandoned clutches of eggs, or, sadder still, little skeletons. This year there were 4 obviously failed broods. The usual occupants are great or blue tits, but we did find 2 marshtit nests and one which was most probably that of a nuthatch.

Marsh TitThere are always a few yellow-necked mice, wood mice and dormouse nests.  This year there were at least 5 boxes which had both bird and dormouse nests, with a further 3 with just a dormouse nest.

January 2017 update:

Badgers Wood last year - 15 bird nests, 14 no nests, 4/5 dormouse nests;  this year - 14 bird nests, 17 no nests, 7 dormouse nests.

Jubilee Stone Wood last year - 13 bird nests, 13 no nests, 4/5  dormouse nests;  this year - 11 bird nests, 15 no nests, 2 dormouse nests.

Some boxes have both bird and dormouse nests.



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