Blue tits back Prince Charles in architecture debate

Given the choice, birds prefer traditional architecture to modern design any day.

At least, that’s the verdict of the family of blue tits who are currently rearing their young in my garden. Faced with the choice of a traditional, pitched roof bird box, without any balcony – not even a perch, and its more elegant Modern Movement equivalent, they’ve come over all traditional.

The designer bird box was purchased at great expense, and installed just below the traditional alternative. It’s even got its own bird box on the side. But the vernacular tradition of natural wood finish won through – maybe for its ability to be camouflaged against the tree trunk, who knows? And now, with the tweeting youngsters inside, the parents are clearing the area of any caterpillars they can find in order to feed them.

There’s still hope for the designer model, however. Come the winter, it can be refitted to act as a bird feeder, dispensing nuts from its black base. Let’s see whether hunger will allow the birds to overcome the shock of the new.