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Useful facts about bird boxes and tips concerning setting them up.

Erecting bird boxes using oak plugs.



Always try to avoid using metal nails. Nails in-grown in trees are a guaranteed cause of problems for future foresters.

We have used oak plugs to fix boxes to trees with excellent results over a long period of time. We use 10 mm oak plugs. Oak is resistant to rot and lasts a long time. 

Simple tips: 

You need a sharp 9.5 mm drill,  rechargeable electric drill and a hammer. 

1        Drill a hole at an angle (see picture above) in the rear of the box.  Note: with our “superior” model, the holes have been pre-drilled.

2        Knock an oak plug into the upper hole until it sticks out a couple of centimetres on the rear side.

3        Drill a hole with the same angle in the tree trunk. Erect the box but allow 3 or 4 centimetres of the plug to remain visible on the front side (see picture).

4        Hold the box firmly and drill the lower hole. Knock in the plug. The plugs then swell as they take up moisture form the tree and this guarantees that the box stays firmly in position.

5        Check the status of the plugs and the box each year when cleaning the box.

Choose trees that grow slowly – if erecting boxes in a regular forest avoid trees of commercial timber value.


Clean the box every year – birds down spring-clean the boxes themselves! A good time to do this is in the spring. 

Choose a height of 2 – 3 metres for boxes for smaller birds. Compass direction is not so critical as long as the box is not exposed to long periods of strong sunshine every day. Allow 15 – 20 metres between boxes.  If the boxes are closer, choose a mixture of entry hole sizes.

It is advisable to erect boxes for tawny owls  in agricultural areas with a mixture of fields and trees. Make sure there is free access for the birds to fly direct into the hole.  These boxes should be erected at a height of about 3 – 4 metres, or v even more.  Owl boxes require a layer of base material in the bottom since they do not build their own nests. Use sawdust, shavings or pieces of an old tree trunk.

The golden eye  relies on hollow trees for nesting purposes. Erect such boxes near water. This helps the young birds get a good start in life.

Best of luck with your bird boxes!


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