The nestbox scheme at Rhug Estate moves from strength to strength and this year’s inspection, carried out in May, showed a very impressive overall occupancy of 47%. This was an increase against 2021 when the occupancy was 38%.
Very encouragingly there were record numbers of Pied Flycatchers, the nest box population having risen from five (12%) in 2020 to 12 (22%) this year – even outnumbering Blue Tits. Whilst the number of nest boxes in the scheme was expanded in 2021 several were not suitable for Pied Flycatcher so this result shows a clear increase in the population using boxes. This may well be the young of previous years returning as adults.
Quite miraculously, Pied Flycatchers navigate all the way back from their wintering grounds in West Africa to the UK and in many cases return to the wood (and even the nest box!) they were born in.
Whilst birds like Pied Flycatchers and Blue Tits will find natural nest holes there is absolutely no doubt that initiatives such as this nest box scheme greatly increase the available nesting sites, making the most of the invertebrate-rich mature woodland surrounding Rhug Hall.