December, 2010

Wildlife

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

Notes on nature

We love nature... from every little bug on a blade of grass to birds, butterflies, otters and oaks!
  • This weekend....things to look forward to

    Our Friday posts are usually all about getting out and about.

    But as it's the last day of 2010, I thought I'd share with you our top five things to look forward to next year (and which I'm sure you'll be hearing lots more about on this blog).

    1. Big Garden Birdwatch kicks off the new year in style as we ask you to count the birds in your garden for an hour over the weekend of 29-30 January. It's a great way to take an hour off to enjoy nature, and really helps us see how birds are faring across the UK.
    2. The start of summer is heralded by the return of swifts and swallows to our skies. It will also mark the return of our swift survey, where we'll be asking you to tell us where you've seen swifts and their nests.
    3. Our Homes for Wildlife project runs all-year round, so why wait until the New Year to sign up and get personalised gardening information? Register now and turn your garden into a haven for wildlife in 2011.
    4. Our popular Make Your Nature Count will also be making a return next year. A bit like Big Garden Birdwatch, but for all the creatures that sing, chirp, snuffle and bark in your garden, not just birds.
    5. This year, our Letter to the Future campaign has helped ensure that UK nature conservation hasn't been devastated by the recent spending cuts. Thanks to everyone who took part. But our efforts won't stop here. In 2011 we'll be stepping up for nature, taking our supporters back to the essence of who we are and what we do. So watch this space...

    I have a feeling 2011 is going to be a great year for nature. What are you looking forward to?

    Oh, and if you do want to get out and about this weekend, our reserves run plenty of New Year events - find one near you.

    Happy New Year everyone!

  • Monday's Magic Moment: Boxing hares

    Whatever you do this Bank Holiday Monday, we hope you aren't fighting like cats and, err, hares with your loved ones!

     Brown hares boxing in the snow by Richard Revels (rspb-images.com) 

    You can see this photo by Richard Revels and loads of other wildlife action shots and landscape images in our image library.

  • This weekend…share your festive feast

    Winter is challenging enough for birds at the best of times, but the recent freezing conditions are making things even tougher. So, instead of throwing your leftovers away, why not leave a Christmas treat out for the birds?

    Many festive favourites can provide much needed (and as we all know, calorie-rich!) nourishment that will make a real difference.

    Here’s a quick guide to the best and worst Christmas food for birds:

    Christmas feast

    • Christmas cake and mince pies 
      The dried fruit and fat in these make them high-energy snacks. 
      Best served: Crumbled and scattered on a bird table.
    • Cooked potatoes
      All potatoes will be snapped up, but roast potatoes are particularly good, due to their high fat content.
      Best served: Cooled and chopped.
    • Vegetables
      Carrots, parsnips and even brussel sprouts will be eaten by starlings.
      Best served: In small quantities, so as not attract unwanted furry visitors.
    • Cheese
      This high-fat, high-energy food is perfect for keeping birds going during a cold-snap.
      Best served: Grated or cubed (stick to mild cheese, and avoid very strong or blue cheeses).
    • Water
      Dehydration is just as dangerous in winter as starvation, so a constant supply of ice-free water is a must.
      Best served: In a shallow dish or bird bath.

    Festive flops

    • Salty food
      Birds can’t process salt, so avoid snacks such as salty peanuts, crisps and salted bacon. 
    • Cooked turkey fat
      This can smear on a bird’s feathers, ruining their waterproofing and insulation properties.

    So this weekend, as you tuck into your Christmas dinner, spare a thought for the birds in your garden.

    Merry Christmas everyone!