Feed the Birds – but don’t forget the rest!

Getting out into the garden might not be at the forefront of your mind this weekend given the weather we’ve been having, but it’s been brought to my attention that as well as being Valentine’s Day, today is the first day of National Nest Box Week.

Now I know it seems that every day or at least every week on the calendar is a national something-or-another event, but this does seem to me to be a national week worth mentioning – although ‘Talk like a Pirate day’ is a whimsical and amusing idea, encouraging and promoting biodiversity and wildlife conservation is probably rather more worthwhile.

This year is the British Trust for Ornithology’s 10th National Nest Box Week. Since its original launch, promotions surrounding the annual event have encouraged thousands of budding ornithologists to put boxes up in their gardens and around their local areas, which does a great job in combating the loss of natural bird habitats associated with increasing urban sprawl, and gardens and public areas becoming more manicured.

Installing a nest box into your own garden can be a great way to engage with the wildlife which is all around us but is so easy to ignore. It’s an easy way to get involved with a worthwhile national scheme, and I’m sure the birds in your garden will be pretty pleased to get an additional nesting spot as the cold snap continues. The National Nest Box Week website gives some (fairly!) straightforward instructions for building your own nest box, but if you’re not so much into the DIY, Wildlife World have a lovely range of bird nesting equipment, as well as other wildlife friendly habitats for your garden.

So birds have earned themselves a favourable national week, but it does lead you to wonder about other creatures being squeezed out of their natural habitats due to human activity. Last weekend in Glasgow I saw a fox roaming down a residential street in broad daylight which surprised me enormously – it seemed very incongruous with what would be expected of the creature’s natural behaviour, and I would say definitely the result of human disturbance.

More thought needs to be put into our urban spaces to enable a mutually agreeable co-existence with our feathered and four-legged friends. As Spring is (hopefully!) just round the corner, as well as nest boxes, it’s time to think about ways to encourage all sorts of wildlife. An easy step that anyone can engage in is to scatter some peanuts on your lawn to feed hungry garden inhabitants, but we’d love to hear about other action which is being taken out there.

Photo via Flickr: law_keven

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