Garden Notes 2: Redstarts

Build it and they will come…

At the start of lockdown my son and I decided that we would complete a list of outdoor activities, as well as the work that was set from school. For me outdoors education is just as important as learning numeracy and English language.

We created a list, top of the list was to create a new bird box. So we set about the challenge to create one from leftover cottage renovation wood. It didn’t take long and before we knew it we had secured it to a tree in the garden and considered it a success.

As the weeks ticked on, we hadn’t seen any birds interested in the box, so assumed we had put it up a little too late. Not to worry, perhaps it would pick up a late clutch.

Then one morning, as I was looking down the garden with a coffee. Our garden has a bank of mature trees along the open border at the far end. I spotted a bright red breast of a bird I thought was a bullfinch. Bullfinches appear to have had quite a successful year of breeding and we have two pairs that frequent the garden. But on closer inspection through a pair of binoculars, I noticed it had a more orangey breast.


Clearly a Redstart, it made us both delighted, a new bird species spotted in the garden. It kept on popping by and as the weeks again moved on and homeschooling continued, I began to see it more and more.

It got braver and braver, coming closer to the feeders, although never actually using them.

Then on Sunday this week, my son, whilst swinging on his rope swing at the end of the garden, came running in and announced

the Redstart is using the nestbox!

Down the garden I fly and patiently wait to see if the male and/or female are using the nest box. Luckily 30 seconds later, the male flies straight in, with us stood below. Chuffed is an understatement.

So the next challenge for the Redstart nest will be to photograph the fledgelings if we can. We don’t have a nest cam, but I may knock up a little hide and see what I can manage to get, it would be great to photograph young Redstarts.

Just goes to show how much fun can be had building a small little bird box and tracking the success, through photography and observation of our first visitors. Reminds me of a great film quote!

Contact me with any questions, or leave a comment!

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