If you're a fan of fireworks on bonfire night, of course there won't be any big gatherings and spectacular displays this year so you may be thinking of having a little celebration at home.

  David Broadbent (rspb-images.com)

Although we could all do with a lift and a bit of fun at the moment, do spare a thought for not only frightening pets, but also your garden wildlife. Mammals may flee the loud noises and run into danger, but even if no harm is done, it can still be a terrifying experience for them. Roosting birds nearby may also be disturbed. The harsh truth about bonfire night is that it's bad for the environment and wildlife that needs peace, natural sounds and natural moonlight or darkness to continue with it's essential nocturnal /hibernating habits. The RSPCA have written an online article entitled Bang out of Order with an online petition about changing the regulations of fireworks 

It is still possible to enjoy a glorious evening outside. As an alternative to fireworks, consider having a bonfire that you can prepare during the same day, this will mean it's safe to light with no wildlife concealed inside. Remember our precious garden hedgehogs who's numbers are rapidly declining; a bonfire heap is a perfect hibernation habitat for them so if you've already prepared one, do relocate it to avoid the most treacherous of disasters. 

Maybe you can pick up some eco sparklers or huddle around the fire-pit with lots of candles alight and listen to the sounds of nature in your garden; likely to be infinitely more engaging and fascinating than artificial fizzes, pops and bangs!

Alternatively, how about lighting the fire indoors and snuggling down in front of Autumnwatch at 8pm on BBC 2 and letting the outside world carry on with it's night-time business in peace. Perhaps consider spending that firework money on some native or bee friendly spring bulbs to plant at the weekend which will bring weeks of joy to you and your garden pollinators. 

Whatever you're up to, be safe, take care of your pets and consider your garden wildlife.

The Flatford Wildlife Garden is now closed for the rest of the winter season 2020 / 2021. Details of re-opening in 2021 will be posted on this blog and the Flatford Wildlife Garden  website.