There is never a bad time to put up nest boxes. Bear in mind that their design and in particular the dimensions of the opening provided is very important as regards the particular species of bird willing to nest in it. 

How and where you situate any nest box is also crucial. Some species including blue tits, great tits and sparrows prefer theirs to be at a height while other, for example, robins, coal tits and wrens, like them to be less than 2m above ground level. While a few species will happily tolerate a nest box sited in an open spot, many, for example, robins and blackbirds, much prefer a hidden, shadier, leafier location out of clear sight.

Whatever the species, try to situate any nesting boxes so they are sheltered from prevailing winds, out of bright sunlight and tilted slightly forward to prevent rain reaching inside. 

As wild birds are naturally very territorial, it’s also important to place nesting boxes at a distance (no less than 7 – 10m ) from any bird feeders or bird tables to avoid turf wars breaking out.

As for these feeding stations themselves, a birdtable hung with wire-mesh peanut feeders, suet balls and apples and sprinkled with pinhead oatmeal, sunflower seeds and mealworms will attract a wide variety of species. But always keep hygiene in mind to avoid the spread of disease and scr ub it down regularly, making sure to regularly disinfect feeders also by dunking them in boiling hot water.

 For many more useful tips on how to make your garden as bird-friendly as possible, visit the website of Birdwatch Ireland ( or the website of expert ornithologists and authors Oran O’Sullivan and Jim Wilson ( whose classic guidebook on the subject, Ireland’s Garden Birds: A Guide to Attracting and Identifying Garden Birds (€14.99), has just been re-issued by Cork-based Collins Press.