Too many birds sharing nest boxes

The RSPB has had reports of different bird species living in the same nest boxes across the UK.

Barn owls have been sharing living space with species as diverse as kestrels, jackdaws, blue tits, great tits and pied flycatchers.

In Boston, Lincolnshire, birds of prey barn owls and kestrels were spotted nesting together after both mothers chose the same spot to lay their eggs in.

However, not all of these species are happy cohabiting—the RSPB has received reports of them hassling each other as they vie for space.

Richard James, RSPB wildlife advisor, said: ‘If birds are sharing, both species would appreciate another box.

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‘Now is a great time for people to put up new nest boxes. Long before eggs are actually laid and chicks hatched, the adult birds will start to scope out possible nest sites.’

There could be several reasons for the increase in cohabitation, including lack of nesting sites in many areas.

In addition, multiple cavities in some nest boxes could lead to birds fledging from one cavity and returning to roost in the wrong hole, which is already occupied.

Mr James advised: ‘Different species have different nesting requirements, but the general rule of thumb is to position a nest box so it isn’t easy for predators to get in, and try and face it away from strong sunlight and prevailing winds.’

For more information about attracting wildlife to your garden, visit

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