• On my patch: Ruislip Woods

    Kabir Kaul, Member of the RSPB Youth Council

    It’s summer in Ruislip Woods. The groves of dappled sunlight are packed with marbled white butterflies, while sparrowhawks search for prey. Purple emperors tumble from the tree tops, soon the redstarts and spotted flycatchers will pass by on migration. Out on the lido swallows and house martins skim for insects, returning to the same nests each year, and migratory hobby’s swoop…

    • 20 Apr 2022
  • Home swift home: How local groups are saving swifts

    Alasdair McKee

     

    Join the screaming party

    The phrase “screaming party” may conjure an image of toddlers who have had too much cake and jelly, but it also perfectly describes the gatherings of swifts that hurtle through our summer streets at speeds of up to 70mph. It’s one of the most evocative sounds of the season but, sadly, one that's being heard less and less.

    Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com) - Swifts…

    • 29 Mar 2022
  • RSPB Otmoor nature reserve: Saved by Alice’s meadow in the 1980s

    Did you know that before the RSPB bought the land that is now Otmoor nature reserve, it was nearly lost to the M40? A recent article in Nature’s Home sparked many memories of the site’s history, so we decided to take a closer look into the story.

    Otmoor gate

    Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)

     

    Otmoor vs the M40

    The wetland area of Otmoor became at risk in the 1980s when the then government were looking to expand the M40 motorway…

    • 10 Mar 2022
  • Spring is springing: Signs you’ve been spotting

    The change of seasons can bring such joy, with spring feeling like a time of hope, renew and cheer. Thank you for sending in your stories and photos. We’ve loved sharing in the signs of spring you’ve been noticing. It reminded us that we all see the start of the season a little differently, with each of us having our own buds, blooms or awakening animals that mean spring is coming.

    Here are some of our favourites…

    • 3 Mar 2022
  • Nature sights: Well I wasn’t expecting that!

    We’ve loved hearing the stories you’ve been sending to us after reading the article in Nature’s Home by Simon Barnes about tuning into nature. It really can be a wonderful way to notice nature moments happening around you when you least expect it.  We couldn’t share them all in Nature's Home but here’s a few more marvellous moments with nature!

     

    Mistaking a peregrine and pigeon race for…

    • 25 Feb 2022
  • Why we need nature reserves: havens for wildlife and people

    Thriving with nature

    There’s no doubt that nature reserves provide precious sanctuaries for wildlife. From bitterns in our wetlands to red squirrels in our woodlands, the RSPB’s 220 nature reserves are home to a remarkable 18,000 species. But it’s not just wildlife that benefits from nature reserves.

    Nature reserves are good for people too. There’s a wealth of research which shows that time spent in…

    • 15 Feb 2022
  • Mighty birds of prey this winter: your photographs

    You’ve been sending in some of your excellent birds of prey photographs this winter. These agile hunters are fast-moving – so capturing them on image can sometimes be a challenge.

    Here are some of our favourites, from being magnificent in mid-flight, to taking a perch whilst surveying their surroundings.

    Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk

    “I took this sparrowhawk (1st winter female) at Castlemartin Corse, Pembrokeshire, on 31…

    • 11 Feb 2022
  • Birds of a feather: Your favourite collective nouns for birds that flock together

    We’ve loved hearing from you following our article about flocks in the latest issue of Nature’s Home. Many of you agreed the collective nouns we included were among your favourites. Here are some great ones that you shared with us too, plus some photographs which show how apt the group’s collective noun is for them.

    My personal favourite is a real classic: a gaggle of geese. The name captures the scene…

    • 28 Jan 2022
  • Your Nature’s Home is on its way: a peek at the stories soon flocking to your doorstep

    Here’s a first look at the winter/spring issue of Nature’s Home soon to be dropping through your letterbox. Spring may feel like it’s far away just now, but after the Winter Solstice this week, days are already starting to slowly lengthen (though it doesn’t feel like it yet!). In your magazine, you’ll find a monthly guide to wildlife, so you’ll soon have some reassuring sights to seek as nature moves through…

    • 23 Dec 2021
  • From bitterns to swifts: how your support helps

    While news of the Birds of Conservation Concern report might leave you feeling deflated, it’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t a hopeless situation. Thanks to coordinated conservation work over the decades, some birds have bounced back.

    Bitterns, nightjars, woodlarks, stone-curlews, red kites and ospreys are just some of the birds that featured on the Red List in previous Birds of Conservation Conc…

    • 2 Dec 2021
  • A joy of robins: your photos and stories

    The robin has long held a special place in the heart of the nation. Although especially treasured at Christmas, a robin’s cheerful, friendly presence can be appreciated all-year round. The RSPB is pleased to be a partner of the latest Aardman/Netflix film collaboration, Robin Robin, released earlier this week. You can now watch the heart-warming tale about a robin brought up by a family of mice that sneak around searching…

    • 25 Nov 2021
  • Marsh harriers, 50 years on

    How have marsh harriers, scarce in the 1970s, bounced back over the last 50 years?

    Marsh harrier - Les Bunyan (rspb-images.com)

    One of our supporters, Judith McDonald, kindly posted us some old issues of Bird Life, the quarterly magazine for the RSPB’s junior branch from 1965 to 2000.

    I was fascinated to find an article on marsh harriers by Minsmere’s pioneering warden Bert Axell in the October – December 1971 edition.

    Copies of Bird Life magazine - Jamie Wyver

    Bert wrote: “Of the three…

    • 4 Nov 2021
  • What's in a name?

    Stephen Moss

    Bird names may be a frequent part of our daily language, but we often give little thought as to what they mean or how they originated. That’s partly because, over the centuries, changes in the English language have obscured their original sense. It’s necessary to turn linguistic detective to learn more about our birds’ often puzzling names.

    The majority of bird names fall into one of six…

    • 27 Oct 2021
  • Guardians of nature and global action

    A crucial time for the climate

    The natural world is the beating heart of all our lives and our planet, and we – the RSPB and you, its supporters – have been campaigning to maintain and improve the health of that ‘heart’ for over 130 years.

    The beating heart of the organisation is its membership, without which we couldn’t take part in this vital, ongoing healing process. We are so grateful for all…

    • 22 Oct 2021
  • Our changing wildlife - part one

    Matt Ford

    Plants and animals have adapted to specific conditions. But as the climate warms, these conditions are changing as well, and species like the five birds below must adapt fast – or fail.

    Golden plover 

    Golden plover - Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)

    Golden plover - Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)

    Both golden plover chicks and adults rely on cranefly – or ‘daddy longlegs’ – larvae and adults for food during the breeding season. It’s been shown that chick…

    • 8 Oct 2021
  • How nature inspires beautiful music

    From Strauss to Mahler, many composers have been inspired by the natural world. To celebrate these powerful connections, this autumn, the Philharmonia Orchestra is presenting a series of live and online concerts, talks and screenings. These live events will not only look to the composers of the past but will also ask what role music can play in tackling the climate crisis right now. And best of all, there’s a special…

    • 21 Sep 2021
  • Grazing for the greater good – how munching mammals help nature

    If you’ve visited an RSPB nature reserve, you will have seen that they’re not just home to birds. They support a plethora of wildlife from tiny, rare flowers like the yellow centuary, to our largest beetle, the heath tiger beetle. These wildlife havens are managed by an incredible team of staff and volunteers up and down the country, but sometimes we need a helping hand, or hoof. 

    Chough foraging in front of Highland cattle, an example of grazing supporting species conservation – Tony Blunden (rspb-images.com)
    A chough foraging in front of Highland cattle…

    • 21 Sep 2021
  • Magical encounters with dippers – a bird of tumbling water and rocky stream beds

    Jos Ashpole 

    The river flows strongly and swiftly, sweeping over huge granite boulders. Low-hanging branches dip gently into the racing water. The air is filled with the smell of damp ground and moss. It is cool and calm, but the woods are full of life – grey wagtails are flying upstream; blackbirds and song thrushes are calling from the treetops above.  

    I’m scanning the riverbanks in search of a remarkable bird that…

    • 1 Sep 2021
  • Celebrating your summer wildlife

    Summer is a bit up in the air, isn’t it?! Hot, cold, raining, clear blue skies, is that thunder? But our UK wildlife has been here nonetheless keeping us smiling and wanting to head out for more. A couple of weeks ago we asked you to share some of your favourite summer pictures. Of course, you did not disappoint! Here is a selection of what you’ve been seeing, come rain or shine. 

     

    Spot the difference 

    One species…

    • 11 Aug 2021
  • Climate Change - let's pull together and change the course of history

    I’m going to talk to you about something that matters to all of us. Something that many of us have been aware of for a while. But recent events have been a wakeup call none of us wanted but our leaders needed. Images of extreme weather in Greece, California, Canada, Germany and London have filled our screens and news homepages. Then, on Monday 9 August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched their Climate Change…

    • 11 Aug 2021
  • Cows vs robots - Finding the best solutions to save capercaillie

    A large-scale trial is taking place at the RSPB’s Abernethy nature reserve to find out whether technology or livestock is the best approach to restore habitat suitable for capercaillie. The process of habitat restoration, either by machine or mammal, replicates lost natural processes like wildfire and trampling by large herbivores, such as ancient aurochs, an extinct type of cattle. The team wants to find out which method…

    • 4 Aug 2021
  • Handy hammocks - Getting creative for kittiwakes

    The power of “innovation and intervention”. As our Friends of Coquet Island and regular giving supporters will know, continuing the breeding success of kittiwakes on Coquet Island required thinking outside of the box, or rather ledge. Northumberland Coast Site Manager, Paul Morrison, explains more about this project to help these coastal birds. 

    Kittiwake pair displaying on their nest - Andy Har (rspb-images.com)
    Kittiwake pair displaying on their nest – Andy Hay (rspb-images.com) 

    • 4 Aug 2021
  • The UK welcomes an ocean wanderer - but is it raising brows for the right reasons?

    Gliding amongst the gannets and the puffins is one of the most glamorous seabirds of the southern oceans, a black-browed albatross. But we’re not here to talk about the southern oceans, in fact this black-browed albatross has found itself at the RSPB’s Bempton Cliffs nature reserve on the UK’s east coast. After a winter of exploring European waters, he’s returned to our shores and set the wildlife scene ali…

    • 28 Jul 2021
  • When the wood warblers just won’t warble

    Jenny Tweedie 

    Who’s up for a challenge? With spring behind us having dusted off the winter birdwatching blues, it might be time to see how your newfound skills are holding up – or, if you fancy a quick refresher have a look at our Beginners Guide to Warblers. RSPB’s Jenny Tweedie has been challenging herself too, recently spending an afternoon on the search for a summertime elusive warbler, the wood warbler. Jenny…

    • 21 Jul 2021
  • A Spanish dove story – One in a million

    With turtle doves experiencing one of the harshest population declines of any UK bird (98%), a ban on hunting them across Spain could not be more welcome. This was the news recently announced by Spanish authorities that they will not be authorising the hunting of turtle doves for 2021, saving almost one million birds, some of whom will be migrating to the UK. 

    Turtle dove resting on a branch – Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)
    Turtle dove resting on a branch – Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)…

    • 28 Jun 2021