Look what’s landed on my desk this morning! It’s always an exciting moment when the first copies of the new issue arrive in the office. In the next couple of weeks, Nature’s Home will be winging its way to RSPB members across the UK. 

As you can see, we have a beautiful corncrake on the cover - an emblem of a successful scheme with farmers in the Outer Hebrides. In our cover feature the RSPB’s Jess Barrett reports on how this bird, as well as many other species, benefits from traditional small-scale crofting and super-rare machair habitat. 

Machair is a low-lying coastal grassland habitat supporting specific plants, only found in western Scotland and Ireland, but is incredibly rich in wildlife – some of it also very rare, such as the great yellow bumblebee. As part of Balranald’s patchwork of different habitats, it shows how farming and nature can exist in harmony. 

The RSPB’s Peter Exley celebrates another island success story, again involving the islanders. The eradication of rats on key seabird colonies in the Scilly Isles is helping Manx shearwaters in particular, and local residents are benefiting as much as the birds. 

Anyone with young people in their lives can benefit from the insight of TV presenter Mike Dilger, who writes about the joys and challenges of sharing his enthusiasm and understanding of nature with his young son. It seems to be working (they’ve had a great time out there!) and Mike has some handy tips for how to enjoy birds and wildlife with children and young people. 

We’re also taking a closer look at Sherwood Forest, one of the RSPB’s newest reserves, and delving into the fascinating world of tree ageing - both how to guess its age, and how to accelerate its ageing process in order to benefit key species. The forest has a fascinating history, and not just because of Robin Hood. I can’t wait to visit. 

You’ll find seasonal wildlife gardening tips inspired by our featured wildlife garden, things to see and do over the summer, quick field guides to butterflies as well as crickets and grasshoppers, news about our Members’ Day event and much more besides. 

Finally, don’t miss the last page, where we celebrate the Year of the Woman by inviting author Tessa Boase to tell the story of the women who founded the RSPB, back in the late 19th century. It was a time when the greatest threat to birdlife came from milliners - but Margaretta “Etta” Lemon heroically set out to combat their plummeting numbers. Although the threats faced by today’s birds have changed, the organisation she co-founded, which became the RSPB, continues her defence of nature. 

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Well, you can find out more about all these stories in the next issue, and as always we welcome your feedback. Log in to comment below, or click here to email us.

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