May, 2014

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Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Natures Home magazine uncovered

Behind the scenes at the RSPB magazine and much much more...
  • Ready to fly the nest

    The washing up has become a much more interesting, and enjoyable, task over the last few weeks - and it’s getting more interesting by the day...

    We have a pair of blue tits nesting in a box that I put on the side of the extension last year. I meant to attach it more securely over the winter, but I didn’t get the chance, so I will be glad when the birds have left and I can firm up the fixings.

    So, I’m waiting anxiously for the day when the young fledge and it should be any day now.It will probably happen when I am at work and I’ll miss the moment of exit! I find myself checking the weather hoping my family won’t have to put up with wind and rain, not leaving the house until I have seen the adults visiting the nestbox so I know that no disasters occurred overnight.

    I now know that there are two young blue tits in the box. They are coming to the entrance hole now, but the parents soon scold me if I get too close.

    Over the weekend, I worked out that the parents were visiting the bax up to three times a minute, which is a frenetic rate of food delivery. If that continued all day, more than 2,000 visits would be made to the box! They kept it up for most of the day so probably wouldn't have been far off. Their rate has slowed now and I wonder if they are trying to lure the young out to find food for themselves.

    I know I’m not the only one waiting expectantly, as these pics sent in this week from Nature's Home readers show!

    Rebecaa Backhouse sent this photo of a fresh-out-of-the-nest great tit being fed by its parent.

    And a scene very like the one currently playing out outside my kitchen window from Stuart Millington

    Thanks both for your photos and to everyone else who is sharing their wildlfie moments. Look out for out guide to RSPB nestboxes in the August issue of Nature's Home.

    Let us know how the breeding season is palying out for your garden birds. My total so far is two blackbirds and two robins fledged from three nests, so I'm hoping for more.

  • Who are your Springwatch stars?

    I hope you enjoyed the summer issue of Nature’s Home, including our feature on the “Springwatch Effect” with the stars of the show from Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan to Bill Oddie and Mike Dilger sharing their favourite moments, along with some of the RSPB staff members who have also featured on screen.

    I always enjoy bringing you the latest news in Nature’s Home, but there was one piece of news that I couldn’t in this issue because of the all important press embargo on the announcement that Springwatch will be coming from our Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk from 26 May.

    You can be pretty sure that bitterns, marsh harriers and avocets will feature, but look out for mysterious ant-lions that make their pits in the reserve’s sandy areas. I’ve seen the pits before, but not the lions!

    Springwatch always inspires me to get out a bit more and enjoy my local wildlife and in 2012, I blogged about my badgers that kept me entertained after the show had finished each night. They’re back again this summer, taking a while to settle into the routine of coming to the food I put out for them – but one in particular has rapidly lost her inhibitions and is tucking in happily for long periods.

    My blue tits are currently going mad for RSPB coconut treats (photo by Chris Gomershall rspb-images.com)

    It’s actually the birds rather than the badgers that are taking centre stage at the moment. I have never had so many visiting at this time of year before and they are getting through the food I put out at an incredible rate. I’m hoping this is because they have hungry mouths to feed, but I’m also sure it is because the work we’ve been doing in the garden to give nature a home has come to fruition with trees and shrubs maturing, a good mix of flowers now established, several log piles and the pond looking good.

    If the Springwatch team cam to my garden, it would be our pair of swallows, currently engaging in lots of agile courtship flights with the longer-tailed male powering through the garden twittering loudly to show off, the beautifully glossy starlings that descend on my buggy nibbles and those classic Springwatch stars, blue tits, feeding young in one of my nestboxes. They hatched over the weekend, so it’s all go with both parents gathering and bringing in food at a rapid rate. It’s a nice distraction to watch them coming and going while doing the washing up.

    I’ll be blogging regularly during the show and I hope you’ll let us know your favourite Springwatch memories from shows past – and from the next few weeks. Please e-mail natureshome@rspb.org .uk or leave your story below by posting a comment. Thanks – enjoy the show!