Keen birder Bill Richardson would like to put in a block funding application to provide birdboxes for churches and church partnerships in the Diocese of Gloucester.
Worshipping communities can install the boxes in churchyards, as part of their participation in the Eco Church award scheme (under the ‘Land’ heading) or in a wider community space as a church/community/school partnership application (under the ‘Community and global’ heading of Eco Church. Bill is offering to put in the funding application to the Sylvanus Lysons Fund.
The deadline for registering your interest is the end of February, to ensure time to apply to the April Sylvanus Lysons meeting. If the application is successful, this timing will allow boxes to be put into place over the summer, and gives six months for birds to notice the possible nesting site before the 2024 nesting season.
When thinking about bird boxes in your context, you might want to consider the preferences of different birds for nesting sites. For example:
- Various different shapes and sizes of individual boxes sited in trees, suitable for all sorts of tits, nuthatches, flycatchers, starlings, wagtails.
- Robins and wrens: nest preference in a low bush or hedge with plenty of cover.
- Sparrow terrace: for these sociable birds that like several nests close together.
- Barn owl box: needs a site close to a wood, with a clear flight path, and a tree big enough to hold the size of the box.
- Swift box: needs a site at least 5m up, in a shaded position under the eaves of a building or on a wall.
- Kestrel box: needs siting away from the other boxes else the inhabitants of the former will become dinner for the latter! This might therefore need to be a wider community conversation if there is interest, rather than one for the churchyard. Sites need a good flightpath to access.
The focus is on small/medium-sized boxes but there may also be the possibility of large owl or kestrel nesting boxes for those churches interested who have a suitable churchyard or community space location.
Bill represents a charity called ‘Welcome to our future’ based in Pershore. Their focus is on securing funding from small, local grant-making charities to supply RSPB birdboxes of various shapes and sizes to a wide variety of organisations, including churches, schools and care homes. All they ask is that the boxes are put up and photos sent to the charity.