In Scotland we are incredibly lucky to have amazing nature and wildlife worth celebrating. RSPB Scotland's Allie McGregor shares five things to celebrate about our incredible nature that we should be protecting.
Five things to celebrate about Scotland’s nature
Our wide array of habitats
Scotland makes for a remarkable patchwork of landscapes and habitats which hosts important ecosystems and wildlife, as well as making for special places to visit across the country. Scotland holds a significant amount of blanket bog, remarkable machair, breathtaking native woodland, wetlands, mountains and more. In Scotland this puts us in a position to tackle our nature and climate crisis with nature-based solutions - this is certainly a reason to celebrate but also a responsibility to take seriously.
Marvellous marine life
Scotland has thousands of miles of coastline and a wealth of marine wildlife to celebrate. 70% of the UK’s breeding seabirds are found along Scotland’s coasts. We're also incredibly lucky to be able to see dolphins, whales, seals and basking sharks! Our incredible marine life is something many of us have found ourselves particularly missing this year as we have stayed safe at home. As our coasts and seas are home to this incredible wildlife, it is important that we celebrate it, protect it and help it thrive.
Read more about how we are working towards a better future for our oceans and marine life here.
When you think of our Scottish wildlife there are many species that come to mind that are either unique to Scotland or not so common elsewhere. Scottish crossbills are UK's only endemic bird species, while other bird species such as ptarmigan and crested tit find homes in Scotland's mountains and forests. We have stand-out marine life that I have already mentioned, a huge number of the UK's red squirrels reside here and we have a fantastic array of invertebrate life to celebrate such as the rare pine hoverfly.
A lot of Scotland's most iconic wildlife may be the species we end up seeing the least, especially when we have not been able to travel far from home. But while we have missed searching for a crested tit amongst the pines or scanning the skies for eagles on our isles, our appreciation for other wildlife has grown right at home.
Wildlife on our doorstep
Many of us get to experience slices of nature and wildlife without venturing far from home. Whether it's a a wildflower patch in your local park, a bird nibbling at the feeder or a butterfly flitting past your window, there's little things to appreciate almost anywhere. Those who are lucky enough to have gardens can create thriving spaces for wildlife and nature at home and while those of us without gardens have to work a little harder, many of us have local greenspaces or have developed a new appreciation for species we might not have always given so much love to.
You might not often encounter huge enthusiasm for gulls or crows for example but, especially during lockdown, I have heard more and more stories of people spending time staring out their windows finding a new love for an unexpected bird or bug. Lot's of us have found hidden havens for wildlife near us in mini meadows that have sprung up or maybe some bushes and trees along the roadside we had never given a second glance.
A bright future?
In Scotland we have a lot of potential to invest in nature recovery and create bright future for wildlife and for ourselves. Unfortunately, our nature is currently in decline. Last year the State of Nature report highlighted that 49% of species in Scotland have declined and one in nine are threatened with national extinction. Climate change and nature loss present very real and urgent threats and there is still much work to be done to reverse our nature’s decline. As Scotland sets out its plans for recovery from Covid-19 nature must be at its heart. Scotland has an incredible environment and fantastic wildlife worth celebrating, and one of the best ways we can celebrate it is to build a better future for it.
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