Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Nestboxes in Paris Parks

We photographed this nestbox in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in December. The notice underneath provides an explanation of a project that includes installing nest boxes in all Paris parks. It says:
Why put up a nest box?
The increasing rarity of natural nest sites due to the disappearance of natural grasslands, the culling of hollow trees, hedges and copses, the abandonment of old orchards, the cutting down of old non-commercial trees, and the demolition or renovation of old buildings, constitutes a significant obstacle to the reproduction of nesting birds. As a result, many species are struggling to find suitable places to build their nests.
One simple and effective means of encouraging breeding birds is to put up nests designed to be substitutes for the natural places that have been destroyed. Putting up nest boxes is an act to protect nature that should not be dismissed -- a species can be maintained thanks to this single action. The method offers the advantage of being within reach of everyone, but also to provide the sort of nest spaces that fit the birds' needs, by putting them out of the way of predators and disturbance, and allowing their reproduction to be monitored.
Every gardener, horticulturalist and forester has good reason to protect the birds -- every garden bird, and, all the more so, those inclined to use nest boxes, are insectivores during the breeding season or feed their young on insects, larvae, caterpillars, eggs, etc. A pair of Great Tits can bring up to 6000 caterpillars and other insects to their chicks during the breeding season. Not insignificant help, even if it often goes unnoticed!
This nestbox, for a Common Redstart or a Black Redstart, has been installed on the occasion of the 6th Nature Festival 9 - 13 May 2012, as part of a campaign to get 10000 nest boxes erected throughout France. To learn more, go to www.fetedelanature.com.
It's National Nestbox Week over in the UK, and now is certainly the time to be putting new nestboxes up for the coming season, and making sure your existing ones are clean, in good condition and firmly attached. Tim from Aigronne Valley Wildlife has been busy making new nest boxes (when he's not battling The Rat). Don't forget that it's not just birds that will appreciate safe dry nests -- I've been making bee hotels.
Loire Valley Nature Update:  a new entry for Common Knapweed Centaurea jacea has been added. If you are from the UK you may know the British species as Lesser Knapweed C. nigra. It's a taxonomic nightmare and I've tried not to get too complicated with it. Even the most stalwart and intrepid members of l'Association de Botanique et Mycologie de Sainte Maure de Touraine just look at it and mumble 'hmm, some variety of la Centaurée noire...', and don't attempt to take it any further.
A new Habitat entry for Gardens (Compost Heaps) has been added.


Tim said...

This open fronted box is the style I'm making most of... we've got plenty of nest places for the tit family! There is even a hole near the top of the barn wall that a Blue-tit uses... that it shares with Pipistrelle bats!!
But as parts of the building get "done up" and closed off, the places for the Black Redstart, Robin and Wren... to name but three... disappear!
The full story will be on Aigronne Valley Wildlife when I've completed the work...
Next year I will make more... but will put them up at the correct time... and not now... it is almost too late!! And especially NOT in May!!
BTO recommend October/November.

Susan said...

Tim: It's bordering on too late for bee hotels too, if you want them occupied for this year. On the other hand, in a way it doesn't matter when you get them up, as if you miss year, hopefully they will be occupied the next. I think the Fete de Nature was just a handy awareness raising exercise.

We'll have to install a couple of these for our Redstarts once they are locked out of the barn and garage.

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