When the Friends of Rectory Park was formed in 2006 the following projects were undertaken.
All have now been completed:
a) Total of three new benches have been made and installed
b) Local children helped plant new trees in the park
c) Twelve new established lime trees were planted
d) Encourage bird life and breeding
One of the first task considered by the newly formed Friends of Rectory Park in November 2006 was a desire to encourage birds to breed in the park.
One of our members, Jack Jennings had identified the birds seen in the park recently and produced the following listing: -Heron; Wood Pigeon; Collared Dove; Tawny Owl; Green Woodpecker; Greater Spotted Woodpecker; Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail; Dunock; Robin; Song Thrush; Mistle Thrush; Redwing; Fieldfare; Blackbird; Garden Warbler; Blackcap; Willow Warbler; Goldcrest; Great Tit; Blue Tit; Long Tail Tit; Coal Tit;; Nut Hatch; Magpie; Jay; Carrion Crow; Starling; Jackdaw; House Sparrow; Chaffinch; Brambling; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Siskin; Bullfinch; Wren; & Sparrow Hawk.
To accommodate such a wide & varied bird population we sought the opinion of Dr Stefan Bodnar, Biodiversity Officer for Birmingham City Council, who advised us that we need to acquire bird boxes that required little maintenance, that had a long life in a fixed tree position and meet the individual requirements of the birds. Some had to be deep boxes, others had to have oval entrance holes of varying sizes. In other words they had to be tailor made for each breed of bird.
Peter & Sue Bell went and visited Alana Ecology in Bishop's Castle in Shropshire to look at boxes manufactured by Schwegler a German company, whose boxes were made of woodcrete, a mixture of sawdust and concrete with a 25 year life and only require being cleaned out periodically.
With the aid of a £2,000 Community Chest award we were able to purchase 67 bird boxes, 2 bat boxes and one bat winter roost box. Our problem was how to erect them, especially those that needed to be in the wooded area, and being made of concrete they were heavy, in particular the owl boxes.
The Council's Parks Departments erected some of them, the Sutton Coldfield Cricket Club erected 5 double house martin boxes on the south side of their pavilion, but the bulk of the erecting work was carried out by Jack Jennings, Andrew Jennings and Simon Chew for which FoRP are extremely grateful.
Having had a very cold and wet winter, a number of birds have used the boxes for shelter and we are now hoping to see them breading in the spring.
Schwegler 1B Bird Box, forest green
The most popular box for garden birds, the 1B appeals to a wide range of species. The box can be nailed to the trunk of a tree, or hung from a branch.Schwegler boxes have the highest occupation rates of all box types. They are carefully designed to mimic natural nest sites and provide a stable environment for chick rearing and winter roosting. They can be expected to last 25 years or more without maintenance.Woodcrete, 23cm high x 16cm diameter.
Schwegler 2M Bird Box
A free-hanging box offering greater protection from predators. Standard general-purpose 32mm diameter entrance hole. They can be expected to last 25 years or more without maintenance.
Schwegler 2GR Nest Box
This box is especially well protected against predators such as cats, magpies, jays and martens, because of the special design of the large nesting area and front panel.Nesting area 14 x 19cm. Supplied with wire loop hanger. Three 27mm holes for extra light encourage small tits to build their nests safely in the large nesting area at the back of the box. They can be expected to last 25 years or more without maintenance.
Schwegler 2H Open Fronted Nest Box
This box is attractive to robins, pied wagtails, spotted flycatcher, wrens and black redstarts. Best sited on the walls of buildings with the entrance on one side. They can be expected to last 25 years or more without maintenance.
Schwegler 1N Deep Nest Box
An extra deep nest box ideal for robins, spotted flycatchers, pied wagtails, tits and sparrows. Being deep, it offers protection from cats, magpies, jays and martens. Entrance hole (2) 30 x 50 mm. Nesting area 15 x 21 cm. They can be expected to last 25 years or more without maintenance.
Schwegler- House Martin & Swallow Double Boxes.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for Swallows and House Martins to find suitable nest-building materials in our modern world. The mud they do find is often poor quality, in addition the walls of buildings nowadays often very smooth, as a result nests tend to fall down, sometime with nestlings inside. In many places the vibration caused by heavy vehicles shake the nests loose.
These birds build nest facing south with a clear flight path from a meadow that has a good insect population. Entrance hole 110 x 120mm
Schwegler No. 5 Owl Box
This box is suitable for tawny owl, stock dove, and jackdaw. Hanging height 4 meters
Schwegler 2BN Treecreeper Box
Treecreepers like to build nests which have contact with the trunk of the trees with thick bark such as oak, poplar and Pine. This box is therefore open to the tree trunk at the back and attached to the tree by wires at each side
Wooden Bat Box
A traditional softwood bat box with access slit at the base and access ladder. Wooden boxes are subject to fluctating temperatures, so site three boxes around a tree facing different directions, in a fairly sheltered position, to provide the best choice of environments for the bats. Wooden boxes should not be painted or treated with any type of preservative, as these can harm the bats. The box can be expected to last 5-10 years.
Schwegler 3SV Nuthatch Box
Nuthatches climb along tree trunks and branches, in search of seeds and nuts. They inhabit deciduous woods, needing plenty of oak and beech, and like to nest close to the tree trunks. They have a habit of plastering mud around the nest entrance. A 34 mm diameter entrance hole attracts , not just nuthatches but also tits, redstart, pied flycatchers and tree sparrows.