April, 2017

Our work

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.

Way out west

South west England is rich in wildlife - from the high moors to the coast and out to sea, it's one of the most wonderful regions in the UK. This blog celebrates all that's wild about the region. Here we will share insights into our work to protect
  • Incubation Begins! - Salisbury Peregrine Blog 1

    RSPB Salisbury Peregrine Volunteer, Granville Pictor, is going to keep us up-to-date with the peregrines' nesting progress. So check this page for regular installments  - here's his first...

    Things have really moved forward apace this week at Salisbury cathedral. The new nest webcam is working well and is providing really high quality footage which can be viewed live on your PC; insomniacs can even view goings on in the wee small hours as there is an infrared function. Follow the peregrines webcam progress, here: http://bit.ly/2PeregrineCam

    (Photo: Adult Salisbury peregrine)

    On Good Friday, 14 April, everyone was surprised to see that the falcon had laid a fifth egg. This is most unusual, as peregrines almost always lay a clutch of three or four eggs; indeed ‘our’ female (assuming it is the same one since the site was reoccupied in 2013) has laid two clutches each of three and four eggs.

    (Photo: Parent peregrine ready to start incubating the 5 eggs)

    Clutches of five eggs are not unknown however, and it is reckoned that perhaps about 2% of all clutches are of five eggs. It would suggest that our falcon is in prime breeding condition, and it has been thought that the recent slight increase in the number of ‘fives’ recorded in urban locations may be a reflection of the ready supply of prey, particularly pigeons, in town and city centres. Whatever the reason, it will be very exciting to see how things progress.

    Large clutches are not without there problems however. A group of three or four eggs sit neatly together to be incubated, a fifth does not always ‘fit in’ quite so well. This was apparent this week on Wednesday when the smaller male bird took a turn at incubating. He seemed to have some difficulty manoeuvring all of the eggs under his breast and wings, so much so that he clearly did not realise that he had ‘lost’ one of the eggs which was for quite a while sitting on the gravel substrate of the nest near the tip of his tail. It was a warm sunny day however so all should be well, and the female arrived later in the afternoon to show him how it should be done!

          (Photos from the Live Webcam on Friday 21 - showing the parent incubating all eggs in the morning and missing the fifth egg in the afternoon)

    Incubation will have started in earnest when the last egg was laid, and on past experience, we anticipate that, if all goes well, the eggs should hatch around the weekend of 20/21st May……fingers crossed.

     All photos courtesy of Salisbury Cathedral.

    For more info about Salisbury Cathedral, visit: http://salisburycathedral.org.uk/


  • Keep Calm and Step Away from that Bird!

    Morwenna Alldis from the RSPB, talks about the do’s and don’ts of this year’s nesting season.

    At this time of year we get hundreds of calls from well-meaning members of the public about the seemingly helpless baby birds they’ve discovered on the ground. But it’s vital that people resist the urge to intervene – this is a natural part of the bird’s development, so keep calm and step away.

    Just before baby birds are ready to tentatively extend a wing, wiggle a tail feather and take flight for the first time, they leave their nest – “fledge” as it’s called. Fledglings then spend a couple of days on the ground and around the nest developing their final flight feathers.

    The fledglings will appear fully feathered and hop around your garden in broad daylight – hence why members of the public are convinced they need rescuing.

    Another common fear is that the fledgling has been deserted by its parents. But fledglings are extremely unlikely to be abandoned. Mom and dad are probably off gathering food or hiding nearby with a beady eye on their young, waiting for you to leave. Parents know best and are the experts in rearing their young. Removing a fledgling from the wild significantly reduces its chances of long-term survival – so please don’t ‘kidnap’ the baby bird, even in a well meaning way.

    (Photo 1: Fledgling jackdaw by Ben Andrew)


    There are only a couple of situations when the public should lend a friendly helping hand:

    Immediate Danger: If the baby bird is found on a busy road or path, we advise it is picked up and moved a short distance to a safer place - this must be within hearing distance of where the fledgling was found. Similarly, if you discover your cat or dog eyeing up a fledgling we recommend that you keep your domestic pet indoors for a couple of days – or at least around dawn and dusk..

    Injury: If an injured fledgling is discovered this should be reported immediately to the RSPCA on: 0300 1234 999. Sometimes local vets treat wild birds for free, but please check with them first.

    Nestlings: If a baby bird is discovered on the ground that is either unfeathered or covered only in its fluffy nestling down, it has likely fallen out of its cosy nest ahead of schedule. Very occasionally it is possible to put these babies back in their nest, but only if you are 100% sure of the nest it has fallen from.

    However, sometimes a parent bird will intentionally eject a chick from the nest if they sense it has an underlying health problem or is dying. It’s a harsh truth to stomach, as humans we want to fix things, but sometimes we need to allow the law of nature to run its course. To find out how you can give nature a home in your garden, visit: www.rspb.org.uk/myplan

    (Photo 2: Fledgling wood pidgeon by Ben Andrew)

  • My Passion for the Natural World and Photography by Madeline Reid

    Dorset based photography student, Madeline Reid, got in touch with us recently to tell us how inspiring she found our RSPB Radipole nature reserve in Dorset, for her photography - we thought we'd share Madeline's story here about marrying her love of the natural world with her art...

    Hi, I’m Madeline Reid, I live in Weymouth and I’m studying a Foundation degree in photography with Plymouth University at Weymouth College.  

    (Photo 1: Photographer, Madeline Reid)

    I have a great enthusiasm for the natural world and all wildlife, I love to capture the small simplicities that go un-noticed or are overlooked by a lot of people. 

    (Photo 2: Tree stump taken at RSPB Radipole, Dorset)

    I enjoy the peace and quiet of an RSPB reserve, I also enjoy the way that, although it is managed for the benefit of the birds it also benefits other wildlife.  

    (Photo 3: Swan taken at RSPB Radipole)

    I have always had a love for photography since I was a teenager.  My passion for nature and wildlife came through discovering paganism in my mid-twenties, although I had an enjoyment for being outside before this in my late teens.  This has led me in recent years to follow the path of Druidry, to which all of nature, wildlife and care of the Earth is sacred. A big part of druid practice is combining love of the Earth with love of creativity and the arts.  This helps me to connect with nature and improve my creative interpretation.  

    (Photo 4: Cormorant taken at RSPB Radipole)

    Starting in 2011 I went travelling, I travelled across Britain and then continuing to New Zealand and the USA.  During this time, I was inspired by my experiences and the environment I was in to really develop my photography.  I felt as motivated taking photos of cityscapes and great architectural buildings as I did with the mountain wilds of Scotland and the Southern Alps.  


    (Photo 5: Sparrows are at a cafe in Te Puia nature reserve, Roturua, New Zealand)              

     (Photo 6: Seal on Ninety Mile Beach, North Land, New Zealand)

    Between 2013 and 2015 I was employed in a couple of seasonal roles in rural Wiltshire working at Longleat and at a hostel in the Peak District, this increased my inspiration and passion for my photography because I was surrounded by farmlands and wildlife.  This deepened my connection with the natural world and informed my decision to study photography full time towards the end of 2015.  

    (Photo 7: Lemur was taken at Longleat)

    I am in my first year of my foundation degree, which is going well so far, I am pleased with what I have achieved.  In the future, I want to live an eco-friendly, low impact, sustainable way.  I want to be able to capture the wildlife and nature around me, to inspire other people to find its beauty and wonder for themselves.

    (Photo 8: Taken from the top of Win Hill overlooking Ladybower Reservoir, in the Peak District.)


    To find out more about RSPB Radipole in Dorset, visit: http://bit.ly/RSPBRadipole