BIRD-lovers are being encouraged to put up their nest boxes this weekend to help Hampshire’s struggling sparrows and starlings.
This week is National Nest Box Week and the local branch of the RSPB is making a final call for anyone who hasn’t put up their nest box to do it this weekend.
The breeding season will get under way in early March and experts say while some birds may have already chosen their nesting sites, there are some which have yet to decide where they will raise their family over the spring and summer months.
Kate Standing, from the RSPB, said: ‘If you’ve got nest boxes gathering dust in your shed, or have thought about making or buying one, then now’s the time to do something about it.
‘Ideally nest boxes should go up in autumn for winter shelter followed by breeding, but you may just be lucky if you don’t delay.
‘It may be cold outside but if you can do one thing outdoors this weekend, make it that.’
Nest boxes act as substitutes for holes in old trees.
More than 60 bird species are known to have used nest boxes, but the most regular residents which are most likely to move in are blue tits and nuthatches, as well as house sparrows and starlings, which are both declining in Hampshire.
Mrs Standing said house sparrows and starlings will readily use nest boxes placed high under eaves and two or three can be spaced out on the same side of the house.
Robins and wrens need open-fronted boxes placed low down, well hidden in vegetation.