By Didi Dyer, 8-year-old resident of Cluster 1C
The latest home to be built in the Witchcliffe Ecovillage has a small footprint, but it’s a very important place for small animals who live in trees. It’s a nest box.
What is a nest box? A box made of wood (preferably form ply), that birds can nest in.
Why do we need them? Trees are being chopped down faster than we can plant them. Some trees have hollows in them and are being chopped down and they could be 100 plus years old. Some birds and mammals are hollow dependant species and need a place to live.
Simon Cherriman, an expert on ornithology (science of birds), came to the Ecovillage and donated a nest box each to two of the Ecovillage trees. Simon gave a brief explanation of how he was going to do it and why he was going to do it.
“It’s important to protect the tree as well as the hollow dependant species. We can’t just bolt or drill into trees,” Simon said as he made the final touches to the nest box.
Simon climbed the ladder then stepped onto the tree (with harness and ropes) to find the right resting spot for the nest box. The rope was connected to the nest box and away it went up approximately 5 metres high.
Some hollow dependant species only nest in hollows in trees that are 200 years old, the tree has taken that long to create the space needed for that animal to call it home. Nest boxes are not the solution, but we are using them until we find a real solution to keeping these beautiful trees.
Next steps are to observe the nest box and document what animals call it home. Further information about nest boxes can be found in Simon’s book ‘Hollowed Out?’. Simon is from iNSiGHT Ornithology.