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Tit boxes - how far apart?

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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 11:57   #1
Raggy
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Tit boxes - how far apart?

Can anyone advise how far apart will Blue/Great Tits be prepared to nest in boxes?

The box we placed in a tree has caused such a ferocious series of scraps between several pairs of Blue and Great Tits, that I feel we should put at least one more box up to ease the tension. But I don't want to make things even worse out there!
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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 13:41   #2
gw4aurora
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Hi,

If there are Great Tits fighting for the box can I assume the hole size in the box is over size as far as Blue Tits are concerned. If the hole was the correct size for Blue Tits then the Great Tits should not be able to get in.

I would put up another box with differant size hole but keep at a distance from the other. It would seem nesting sites are at a premium there or your property is seen as a des res as far as these birds are concerned.

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Chris.
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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 16:47   #3
Stuart
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I got a great tip from another birde,who was into nest boxes in a big way.Depending on available trees and space of course,the best way to hang them is in groups of three,he never worried about nest box size or hole size.His thinking was blue tits take the first one,great tits take the second box and will fend off any others of the same species,leaving the third for that possible nuthatch,flycaycher etc etc..

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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 19:58   #4
Jos Stratford
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Spent the whole day lugging boxes by toboggan across a kilometre of knee-deep snow today - was waist deep last week :) - and was certainly adopting the principle suggested by Stuart above. Managed to get 40 boxes up today and in several spots put several quite close together.
Out here, Great and Blue Tits monopoly fairly early on (about now), then in mid-April Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts turn up and sometimes turf out the tits if not enough holes for them.
I (personally) don't think you can have too many boxes - my moderately small garden has 13 or so boxes and the majority are used. Male Pied Flys often take two or even three of the boxes and mange to court a female into each, Starlings take two, Great Tits another and Blue Tits one or two more. A Redstart nabs another and in two years Swifts took up one of the Starling boxes after the Starlings left! Still need more boxes 'cos there's one big Tree Sparrow population building up in my garden!
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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 20:08   #5
Raggy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gw4aurora
Hi,

If there are Great Tits fighting for the box can I assume the hole size in the box is over size as far as Blue Tits are concerned. If the hole was the correct size for Blue Tits then the Great Tits should not be able to get in.
.
The box is 28mm hole, sold as suitable for Great, Blue or Coal Tits, but its the Blue Tits seem to have won the day!
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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 20:11   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Stratford
I (personally) don't think you can have too many boxes - my moderately small garden has 13 or so boxes and the majority are used.

The thing is our garden is really small, although it backs onto a wood. If I put up a second or third box they will be about 2 metres max away from the first. Are any of your boxes that close and still used Jos?
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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 20:24   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raggy
The thing is our garden is really small, although it backs onto a wood. If I put up a second or third box they will be about 2 metres max away from the first. Are any of your boxes that close and still used Jos?
For the last couple of years, I have had a Blue Tit and Pied Flycatcher successfully (and not fussed by each other) in boxes about 2 metres apart (Blue Tit box is on house wall and Pied Fly in apple tree). Plus last year Starling and Redstart much the same distance.
I also back onto forest and have also put up a box in that facing into my garden!

Last year, Pied Flycatcher male took three boxes at three extreme ends of the garden and would split his time singing at each, attracting a female to each. The year before, one of these boxes went to a second male and both pairs successfully fledged young.
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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 20:28   #8
Jos Stratford
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Another possibility is to use the house as 'added distance' between boxes - I have boxes on front and back of house and managed to get Blue Tits in both. Seemed what the eye couldn't see, the heart didn't mind! Never saw any form of interaction between these two pairs
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Last edited by Jos Stratford : Sunday 20th March 2005 at 18:33. Reason: typing
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Old Saturday 19th March 2005, 20:32   #9
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One more possibility for anyone without trees is to put boxes up on poles - this country is not big into birdwatching or bird feeding, etc ...but almost a tradition with people who have gardens is to put up a box for Starlings (rarely for other species) - almost always they are put on poles and eagerly taken up by the Starlings. Starlings are migratory here and usually one of the first signs of spring is to hear Starlings singing as they reclaim their pole boxes :)
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Old Sunday 20th March 2005, 17:55   #10
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Thanks for all the advice Jos and everyone.
I think I might try the box on the side of the house idea.
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Old Sunday 20th March 2005, 18:50   #11
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Pleasure, let us know if you get tenants! If you get bored and fancy putting a few more up, plenty here still to go up!

Spent another day putting nestboxes up today - over 50 up now, but still another 120 to go! Lucky, many of the potential occupants are migrants and yet to return, so still have a narrow window of time to play with. Boy oh boy, it's hard work! For each ten up, it's a long trudge through the deep snow - going to try and smash my way through with my car in a couple of days!

How I'm working it now:
Starling boxes (about 30), get them up this week - they will return in a week or so.
28 mm and 25 mm boxes (110 or so), at least 70 up this week for the tits, etc, can leave some as many will be used by Pied Flys and they'll not return for almost a month.
35 mm boxes (about 30), at least half now, rest as soon as possible - Redstarts will be one of the occupants and they return with the Pied Flys.
Big boxes - two already up (hoped for owls, but more likely ducks)
Also will have one Roller box and one Hoopoe box. Not sure if I'll get time, but also got cartwheels to go up for storks, but this needs me sitting up a tree with a chainsaw and I ain't going to do that just now - still minus ten today and don't fancy playing 'russian roulette' up a tree in such conditions!
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Old Monday 21st March 2005, 09:48   #12
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How big is your garden???
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Old Monday 21st March 2005, 11:55   #13
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I put up two nest boxes actually touching each other, in the hope of appealing to the local House Sparrows. In fact they were both used by Blue Tits, and both pairs raised their broods without any squabbling as far as I could see.
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Old Tuesday 12th April 2005, 15:25   #14
N.Grant
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NestBoxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raggy
Can anyone advise how far apart will Blue/Great Tits be prepared to nest in boxes?

The box we placed in a tree has caused such a ferocious series of scraps between several pairs of Blue and Great Tits, that I feel we should put at least one more box up to ease the tension. But I don't want to make things even worse out there!
Hi, I have a Sparrow Terrace three entrance holes of 32mm, the Blue tits are building in all three you can't get any closer than that
Nev
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