Did you know today is Suffolk Day? Celebrating the beautiful county of Suffolk!
Our long-term farmland bird research project is based in the wonderful Suffolk countryside. Sadly, in spite of dedicated wildlife-friendly farming efforts at this site, the number of breeding songbird territories has declined by 30% in 10 years.
SongBird Survival is working to find out why. Read more about this project on our website: http://bit.ly/2rPttn4
With bird nesting season in full swing – this is worth bearing in mind to give new fledglings a head start this Spring!
- keep cats indoors at dusk and dawn when wildlife is active
- consider attaching a bell to your cat’s collar so small birds can hear your cat is in the area
- position feeders away from walls and fences, to prevent cats from pouncing onto feeding birds
A charity has urged pet owners to keep their cats inside, while posting a picture of the ‘slaughter’ wreaked by felines on local wildlife.
Source: Cats should be kept inside says charity while pleading for ‘daily wildlife slaughter’ to end
Today is World Migratory Bird Day – an international celebration of the ecological importance of birds.
Watch the official World Migratory Bird Day trailer here:
Their future is our future!
To learn more about the fantastic collaborations which are happening to help conserve our migratory birds, visit the World Migratory Bird Day website.
Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 1 May 1917, this little insight into the sounds of the countryside a century ago makes for an enchanting read.
But there’s a more sombre angle to take note of as well: with the numbers of songbirds declining in the UK, our dawn chorus is getting harder and harder to hear. The sounds of spring today are much less rich than in our parents’ and grandparents’ generation.
SongBird Survival aims to save the dawn chorus for tomorrow by researching the reasons for songbird decline in the UK, and promoting solutions to restore their numbers.
With International Dawn Chorus Day taking place this weekend, Sunday 7th May, now is a fantastic time to get outdoors and hear this wonderful natural spectacle for yourself.
Source: Woods alive to the sound and throb of spring: Country diary 100 years ago | Environment | The Guardian
Well done B&Q! As the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, they’ve just commissioned a report into the importance of gardens for wildlife, with practical ideas on how to help.
It includes a top 10 tips for beginner gardeners, including creating shelter, ponds, and making your cat safe and seen to reduce the threat to wildlife:
The report shows that 67% of people are concerned about British wildlife, and with 24 million gardens in the UK, there’s plenty of scope for people to get involved. Having a small garden doesn’t stop you from making a difference for wildlife. Even small spaces are valuable for songbirds and other wildlife. SongBird Survival have some great tips for small spaces, as well as lots of information on planting for birds.
With wildlife conservation news often focused on the doom and gloom, B&Q’s report shows that there’s a lot to be hopeful about in terms of UK wildlife.
To find out more about how you can help wildlife in your garden, read the full B&Q Nature of Gardens report here.
Next time you’re making a car journey, take a moment to appreciate the humble roadside verge, as you might find something surprising.
Far from being lifeless stretches of faded grass, roadside verges are incredibly valuable for biodiversity. Studies by Plantlife have found that road verges in the UK represent a last refuge for some of our rarest species of plant. However, mowing and management of verges presents a threat to these endangered plants. Plantlife have called for verges to be managed for wildlife to aid conservation efforts.
Plantlife found an incredible 724 species growing on road verges, with some species being found nowhere else. The top 10 threatened verge species are as follows:
Some of these species are now restricted to a single ditch in the wild.
In 2015, SongBird Survival supporter Eddie Bullimore lobbied Norfolk County Council to reduce verge cuts on rural roads to conserve the county’s wildlife, including songbirds.
Verge management such as flail cutting means that haws (hawthorn fruit) and rose hips are lost, and thistles are often cut before they can seed. It also endangers ground-nesting birds such as skylark. Thistle seeds are a favourite food source for goldfinch, whils
t fieldfares eat haws, and field mice, an important food source for barn owls, like to feast on rose hips.
Reducing the frequency of cuts means that plant species, and the other wildlife which relies on them such as insects, birds and small mammals, are able to thrive.
To find out more about good management of verges, download Plantlife’s Good Verge Guide here.
New research from a team at the University of Nottingham has found that high populations of deer in UK woodlands are having a negative impact on woodland birds.
Dr Markus Eichhorn studied the factors behind the decline in species such as nightingale, marsh tit, willow tit and lesser-spotted woodpecker.
Breeding populations of these birds have suffered severe declines over the last 25 years, whilst the number of deer has doubled. The absence of large predators, such as wolf, lynx and bear, and reduction in hunting, are some of the reasons for deer population expansion.
Although deer do play a part in the health of woodland ecosystems, over-browsing can also have a negative effect. The researchers used laser technology to build 3D maps of woodlands. Comparing 40 woodland areas in England, the team found in areas of dense deer populations there was 68% less foliage near the ground compared with areas with fewer deer.
Dr Eichhorn suggests that if we want to encourage more woodland birds, then we need to take action to restore the woodland structures that they require. Replacing farmed venison with wild meat is one way that deer populations could be controlled.
This research was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology. More about this fascinating paper can be seen here.
Citation: Eichhorn, M. P., Ryding, J., Smith, M. J., Gill, R. M. A., Siriwardena, G. M. and Fuller, R. J. (2017), Effects of deer on woodland structure revealed through terrestrial laser scanning. J Appl Ecol. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12902
Great article in the Guardian about the Swedish art of gökotta. With International Dawn Chorus Day next month, there’s plenty to get up early for at this time of year!
Swedes call it ‘early cuckoo morning’ – the act of getting up just to enjoy the first birdsong.
Read more here: Source – Sunshine releases all the sounds of spring | Environment | The Guardian