I'm in Japan at the moment enjoying the last days of beautiful Hanami, the cherry blossoms.
This weekend we will install our Little Bird Box on a three hundred year old cherry tree in a small village deep into the mountains of Niigata. They still have 1.5 meters of snow so it will be interesting. With this project in mind we put together a checklist for installing your Habi-Sabi boxes.
Habi-sabi Little Bird Boxes are wonderful places for birds to nest. They provide shelter from the elements and protect the young from predators. Our bird boxes can have different sized entrances to attract different species; tits, redstarts, nuthatchs, flycatchers, wrynecks, sparrows and wrens will all make themselves at home in them.
Each species likes different things but there are a few general rules to keep in mind when installing bird boxes so that you can attract birds to nest and make their home safe and comfortable.
Place the entrance of your box facing between North and East to avoid direct sunlight. Make sure the entrance hole is protected from rain and wind and out of reach of predators. Check that the boxes have enough space around them to allow for a clear path flight to the entrance. It is also a good idea to have somewhere close by that they can use as a lookout to check there is no danger before entering the nest.
When attaching to a tree avoid using nails as they damage the tree. The boxes are supplied with garden wire which can be used to attach the boxes to a branch or the trunk. On young trees that are growing fast you might want to use a hose or a section of a car tire to prevent the wire from injuring the tree. You can also prevent this by checking and adjusting the fixing annually when you clean the box.
If you want to attract a particular species there are other things you can do. Sparrows and starlings will be happy to use bird boxes located high under the house eaves. Remember they live in loose colonies so if you place two or three on the same side of the house you're more likely to attract them. Sparrows and starlings are territorial birds so try to install boxes away from where house martins are nesting.
Good luck with your boxes this Spring!
Hanami Image credit: yuki5287 from Fukuoka city, Japan, CC BY 2.0