September, 2016


We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Families blog

Here are some ideas and guidance to help your family make the most of the UK's fantastic wildlife
  • Be WOWed by nature this autumn

    Every now and then nature can surprise you and leave you awestruck.

    And it's not just the big and spectacular, like having a golden eagle soar over your head, it can be encountering a hedgehog on your walk home. It's special to you. 

    Even when you’re looking for something specific, in the right spot at the right time, you can never guarantee success. And that’s what makes seeing it so special. It’s a unique moment that can’t be faked.

    As part of our new online award scheme, Wild Challenge, we’re challenging you to go out and find these inspirational moments in nature. The idea of the whole scheme is to get you and your family closer to nature. 

    So what better place to start than with a bit of a spectacle

    Why not give it a try? All you have to do to complete the nature wow activity is capture a bit of one of these wow moments as a picture on your phone, or if you’re feeling creative you could do a drawing or poem inspired by what you saw and send that in instead.

    There's more info on the nature wow activity page. And if you've not already, register for Wild Challenge: it's fun and free!

    To whet your appetite for nature this autumn here’s a run-down of some of the best things to look out for at this time of year:

    1. Deer rutting

    Red deer roaring. Image by David Nunn (

    2. Geese arriving

    Pink-footed geese landing. Image by Ian S (

    3. Leaves changing

    Autumn colours at Lady's Walk, Ashridge Forest. Image by ukgardenphotos (

    4. Stars revealing

    Star trails in the night sky. Image by Paul McDonald (

    5. Starlings murmurating

    Starling roost. Image by Graham Catley (

    So get outside, and be wowed by nature this autumn.

  • Halloween approaches

    As the days lengthen and the leaves fall from the trees, there's no escaping it, autumn is here. 

    And with the arrival of autumn, it's time to reap the rewards of seeds sown in spring. 

    Earlier in the year we sent our Family Members a pack of pumpkin seeds, hopefully these have grown into healthy plants yielding hefty orange fruit in plenty of time for Halloween! If not there's always the supermarket. 

    In a couple of weeks time we'll also be sending our family members a special Halloween pack to help you make the most of your pumpkin and the autumn festivities. If that mean's you, be sure to keep an eye out for the post man.

    To get you in the mood for this holiday. Here's a selection of Halloween inspired nature pictures from our online archive RSPB-Images:

    This is the Shaggy Ink-cap mushroom, certainly the goth of the fungi world. Just look at that hair do! The drips are actually thousands of spores, each one with the potential to grow a new mushroom. 

    This ghost like visage belongs to the Dead-man's Fingers anemone, found lurking on the ocean floor around the UK coast.  

    Grave yards at night can too spooky for the bravest of us, but seeing old gravestones in the light can reveal beautiful lichens. Some live for hundreds of years. 

    The grey long-eared bat is one of the UKs rarest bat species, with only a few thousand in the whole UK. Bats tend to be thought of as scary but this guy is undeniably cute. The big ears are almost as long as its body.

    This great crested newt is in perfect colours for Halloween, but they're designed to send the message 'don't eat me I taste gross!'. If a witch pops by during the evening they might ask for eye of newt...

    ...or toe of frog. But some chewy sweets or chocolate bars will go down better with most trick-or-treaters.

    Frogs and newts may still be active for now, but they will be scoping places to snuggle up for the long cold winter.

    Why not give them a home?

  • Best conservation charity for families? It's your vote!

    At the RSPB we've always sought to inspire young people about the natural world. It’s in our history stretching back to the Junior Bird Recorders’ Club starting in 1943. But in recent years we’ve realised that it’s not just adults that help kids get into nature, often children are the reason their parents get into nature too.

    As part of our work to bring whole families closer to nature, there’s lots that we've done in the last couple of years. Ultimately it’s still about connecting children and parents to the natural world so that they will help us save it. 

    Now we have the chance to receive an independent award for our work with families, so if you have about 30 seconds to spare please do help us out and vote here:   

    If you need more convincing, here are just a few of the things we’ve done recently to reach out to families:

    The Big Wild Sleepout – In it’s fourth year over 30k people signed up to take part. We had some great content like the Whose Poo game, and our reserves put on some amazing events around the country giving the most adventurous families an exclusively wild experience. Social media was teeming with pictures of families on their Sleepouts too

    Giving Nature a Home – All our TV campaigns have focused on children and what they can do in their garden’s to give nature a home. Thousands of people have signed up online and we’ve had loads of feedback on social media showing families with their wonderful new homes for wildlife.

    Our work with Aldi – This summer our partnership with Aldi allowed us to put outreach workers into 15 cities around Great Britain, bringing with them bags of custom designed activities to hand out to families. Events were held in parks and at bigger events. All the activities done with these families contribute to our target of fostering half a million extra nature experiences for children before 2018. 

    Our new membership materials – Our revamped membership materials for families have been a big hit and include ideas to encourage families to explore, discover and enjoy nature near them. Ideas are broken down into seasons so there’s always something to do.

    Our work on reserves – Our family reserves are a continual source of inspiration for local and visiting families. These reserves provide all of the ingredients for a great family day out and are the source of countless experiences that have brought people closer to nature.

    More to come - This year we're launching an online nature award's scheme for families and schools. It arrives this autumn. Watch this space... 

    Once again the place to vote is: