Homes for Aston’s chicks

New homes for campus chicks

Aston University will potentially gain 12 new families of feathered friends over the coming weeks due to an initiative of the Aston Campus Wildlife Group. 

The Aston Campus Wildlife Group has been working closely with Malcolm Tonks from Estates & Facilities and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to install 12 bird nest boxes in key locations throughout the campus. Birds such as blue tits, great tits, wrens and finches take readily to nest boxes and these boxes will certainly help to increase their numbers.

A kestrel nest box has also been installed to provide a second nest site for kestrel fledglings. Carolyn Taylor from the Aston Campus Wildlife Group explains: ‘When fledglings mature they will inevitably struggle to find a nesting site once they leave their original nest site here. This is mostly down to lack of natural habitat in the city centre. The uptake by birds of prey in artificially provided nest boxes can be quite low but it does happen and we’re hoping it does here at Aston!’

Our resident Carpenter Mark Bartlett, assisted by Fred Yardley and Nigel Hamblin from Estates & Facilities, has made the nest boxes to standards set out by the RSPB. Mark said; ‘It was fantastic to be involved with the project. These are very robust nest boxes and are waterproof – they should be the perfect home! It’s great to know that the boxes I’ve made will provide a nest for generations of birds for many years to come.’

The Aston Campus Wildlife Group will be working with the BTO to apply monitoring leg rings to the chicks of any species who will take residence in the nest boxes and to ring the kestrel chicks when they hopefully hatch during May this year. Keep an eye on kestrel cam!

Finally, should you spy one of the nest boxes and wonder why there is a circle of around the entrance to it, it’s because the circular entrance gets pecked away by each bird who nests in the box to make it its own. It means that the bird won’t peck away at the chemicals contained in the wood stain!

Further information on the kestrels at Aston University.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Aston Campus Wildlife Group please contact Carolyn Taylor on ext 4317 – new members are always welcome.

Words by Louise Russell






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