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April 17, 2020

Birdhouses and nesting boxes have been a feature of gardens and urban spaces for more than 500 years.

In Britain and Europe the earliest examples were made of baskets, clay or wood and were used for collecting eggs - and sometimes the birds themselves - for food. But history’s first birdhouses originated in Turkey during the pre-Ottoman period and had a far more compassionate purpose.

Often created with ornate detail to look like miniature architectural versions of real life buildings they were a safe haven for non-migratory birds during the Winter.

It was believed that the person who built and erected one of these tiny homes would be granted good deeds, making them a common sight and many old examples still survive today; the oldest being a 16th century ‘bird palace’ on the side of Istanbul’s Büyükçekmece Bridge.

In modern day Britain many bird species’ natural habitats are disappearing and the birdhouses and nesting boxes in our nation’s gardens and parks serve an increasingly important role in giving birds a place to shelter and breed.

And while we stay safe at home too, now is a perfect opportunity to connect with our feathered friends with a well stocked bird feeder or perhaps even your own lucky sparrow palace, blue tit bungalow or pigeon pavilion.