Early this year I was approached by a local community group, they wanted me to plank up some of the Ash that have to come down on their patch of public land, dry it and make kits for bird boxes. Which they intended to put up in the Autumn ready to replace some lost nesting sites in the Ash trees with nesting boxes made from the timber of the Ash trees. Being a sucker for circular solutions I liked the idea and agreed to assist. Almost immediately I was approached by a separate group looking after a different site to help them as well.
Then came Covid-19!
So the trees are not down yet, those that are I can’t get to the timber of and chances are this will all be happening late summer early Autumn meaning there would be no chance to get timber seasoned and building from unseasoned planks will mean draughty and unused nesting boxes.
Playing around with ideas I came up with a design for a nesting box turned from a section of green log. With most of the heartwood removed yes it will check and some will actually crack but most will survive.
As I know virtually nothing about birds I sent my design off to the RSPB for advice and approval of the idea, also while having learned that Ash timber doesn’t spread Ash die back (the reason they are not felling and burning it) I was unsure about the bark, leaving it on especially with winter felled trees looks nicer, and means I have less waste to dispose of! But I reached out to the Woodlands Trust for advice on this issue. The problem with asking for advice is you then get asked to do more! Seems this issue is not confined to my two local groups.
So I came up with the title “Bodging for Birds” thinking with lots to make and less time to make them I could reach out to other turners and get a group of us making.
So, here we are… making is quite simple, take a log cut a slice off back, top and front so it sits on the drill press, create a stepped entrance hole, mount between centres and hollow it out… mount the top and dome it, more details and measurements are HERE.