Monday, 26 March 2012

How long does it take to put up a couple of nest boxes?

Yesterday with the help of Adrienne Stratford and Andy Young an eight-hour operation was mounted to site two new Chough nest boxes on the cliffs south of Aberystwyth. Thanks to the generosity of Peter Davis and with the agreement of Emily Foot at the South and West Wales Wildlife Trust, the boxes were funded by profits from the sale of the late Hywel Roderick's and Peter's book "The Birds of Ceredigion".  I know Hywel would have thought this very fitting as Choughs featured very high on his list of favourite birds and these cliffs were where he first showed me of the nest-sites he knew back in the early 1990's at the start of the Cross & Stratford Welsh Chough Project's 21 year colour-ringing scheme. 

Nestboxes are a big aid to the Chough population on these cliffs as the rock is very loose and crumbly and natural sites tend not to last too long. Carefully sited boxes can last 20 years or more and be more productive than natural nest-sites. Nearly half of all the Choughs nesting in Ceredigion now nest in purpose built nest-boxes. The two we erected yesterday were made with recycled plastic "EcoSheet" from Second Life Products Wales Ltd at Birch Farm in the Swansea Valley. They have since kindly agreed to donated several more sheets to the cause so more boxes will be constructed and erected when suitable sites have been identified.

Thanks are definitely due to Mr. & Mrs. Lewis for the loan of the quad - humping all that gear up and down from the farm would have been an absolute nightmare!

First pick a suitable spot and prepare the ground

Cement box to cliff

Wait a few years for Choughs to find it! Once in regular use though nest-boxes are rarely abandoned, being utilised by successive generations.

One we prepared earlier!

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