This week (Feb 14th-21st) is National Nestbox Week and is definitely one of my favourite yearly celebrations. You can nab yourself some great deals on boxes, kits and some goodies for your gardens or wild spaces.
To kick-start the week, myself and my very good friend Sammy went to visit the boxes at WWT Llanelli to clear them out ready to be used in the breeding season. We armed ourselves with masks, goggles and gloves as a lot of the boxes are eye level when using a stool so having flies in your face is a given especially after the nest boxes have been used. This year was a complete contrast to last year, we went out in jeans and a t-shirt but this year its thermals, coats and gloves!
We were looking through each box’s contents to see what they were using in different areas, the first box is located next to a feeding station and near some fields where horses sometimes are so was a lot of moss with hair in it. The second box had a surprise in store for us! I opened the box and saw a flash of brown, assuming it was a bird, I moved in closer ready to open the lid and let it fly out… only it didn’t fly. Opening the lid up to let in some light, two little faces stared back at us from out of the hole- Wood Mice! Two tiny wood mice were huddled up using the box as a spot to keep warm during the winter as during the breeding season it was occupied by a Great Tit so was filled full of moss and grass. I felt too guilty to evict them in the cold, so we left them there and will evict them when it’s a tad warmer, it’s an opportunity to put up a mouse house in some trees to encourage them there instead of in our nestboxes.
After our surprise encounter with the adorable residents, we continued round and cleared the remainder of the boxes. A couple had paths that were full of thick bramble so we will clear a small amount to make it easier for us to get to the boxes to check them in the breeding season. A few of the boxes had signs of bats using them as a roosting space, there were signs of droppings all over the inside of the boxes, these boxes were in two clusters in dense tree covered area so may be an idea to put up some bat boxes in these areas to encourage the bats out of the bird boxes. It’s great to nose through the materials found in boxes to see the difference between species and locations too.
Quick clip of the Wood Mice inside the nestbox: