One of the easiest habitats to create are nesting sites for birds. Some of these can be natural, like a bramble thicket or a beech hedge, but artificial sites in the form of nest boxes are also important in urban areas. Eynsham already has many birders and there has recently been community action to provide more nesting sites for our nomadic birds, particularly swifts.
In ages past, Dave Russell and Robin Saunders designed, constructed, and installed a number of owl boxes in the Churchyard and elsewhere; these have been well-used by e.g. little owls and tawny owls, but are at the end of their natural life and now serve best only the resident squirrel population, so the owls need something new.
This year (2020) the Peace Oak Association and the NRN organised an intergenerational Nest Box Build-a-Thon. Some nestbox kits were bought in, others were improvised from offcuts acquired by the NRN from Eynsham sawmill. These mix-and-match offcuts offered the opportunity for participants to design and build their own bespoke boxes, which they could then take away to install in their own gardens. The Peace Oak site is also now dotted with the new boxes.
The Scouts were recruited to construct replacement owl boxes for the Churchyard and Swift boxes for some of the streets, and the Eynsham Fire Department volunteered to install them all. Unfortunately, after acquiring the timber, which was cut to various nest box patterns by the Master Carpenters of Evenlode DIY, the pandemic struck. Reluctant to waste the opportunity for the 2020 nesting season, the elves of Long Mead Workshops assembled the boxes and shipped them out for single-isolated installation.
The result is that the parish community have now added to their stock of rent-free, bespoke houses for our resident birds and overseas visitors.