Why not give our feathered friends a helping hand by making them a nest box? An old boot can create a unique bird box, as well as being a good alternative to a hole found in trees.
1 Cut a length of weatherproof wood, 15mm thick and 400mm long (check your boot fits on the board with room for a roof). Don’t use CCA pressure-treated timber, as the leachates may harm birds.
2 Cut two 150mm lengths of the same wood at right angles to make the roof. Drill and nail the pieces together, then place the roof on the backboard and drill and nail into place.
3 Attach the boot to the backboard with glue, toe facing down, and tilted forward so rain falls off. Fix, two to four metres up a tree, or a wall. Try to face the boot north-east to avoid strong sunlight and wet winds. There should be a clear flight path to the nest.
4 Different species will be attracted to different sizes of hole. Tie the laces tightly, to 25mm for blue, coal and marsh tits; 28mm for great tits, tree sparrows and pied flycatchers; 32mm for house sparrows and nuthatches and 45mm for starlings.
5 Clean the boot with boiling water in August once the birds have stopped using it to get rid of any parasites.