We have placed 100 nest boxes in trees across the campus for research on nestling tits. This long term research looks into the factors influencing the nestling behaviour: what places do tits prefer? Does it make a difference if there is light in the night or a feeding place nearby in the winter?

So why this focus on nestling tits? Tits are one of the most common and well-known breeding birds in the Netherlands. Common in deciduous forests, but also in towns and cities where they often breed in nest boxes.

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What about tits and the oak procession plague? The great tit has become a symbol in the Netherlands in the natural control of the oak processionary caterpillar. The great tit is a big fan of this caterpillar and eats it during different phases of its life cycle. More and more municipalities and companies are therefore using nesting boxes in their fight against the nuisance of the oak processionary caterpillar.

Why are birds so important for biodiversity? Birds help maintain sustainable population levels of their prey and predator species and, after death, provide food for scavengers and decomposers. Many birds are important for plant reproduction through their services as pollinators or seed dispersers.

As biodiversity is under significant threat, Wageningen University & Research is actively involved in this theme with numerous disciplines: our ecologists, soil experts, plant and animal scientists, behavioural scientists, transition scientists and other experts study biodiversity issues that affect land, freshwater systems and the seas. Click here to find out more.