• All that glitters

    It’s that most wonderful time of year (and with Santa’s pending visit) when folk want to put out food for Santa’s reindeer. Now there is no doubt that Rudolf, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen would appreciate the odd carrot and some oats to munch on, it’s worth bearing other wildlife in mind when providing festive food. Birds, for example, will readily polish off any food left out for the…

    • 6 Dec 2016
  • Birds attacking my house!

    We’re starting to get a few calls about birds attacking a whole host of shiny, reflective things: windows, door handles, cars, TV aerials, metal chimneys, to name a few. We are right at the beginning of the breeding season, and some birds are busy sorting out territories and then defending them from intruders with a vengeance! These defensive birds see their reflection as another bird coming into their territory and start…

    • 23 Mar 2015
  • Bolshie Feeders

    Hope you all had a great Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

    Over the festive break I’ve been watching the birds in my garden. There was nothing out of the ordinary; apart from a Greenfinch spotted two days running, which is a rare sight these days. There was also a mixture of Tits, Blackbirds, Robins, Dunnocks and a charm of Chaffinches on a daily basis. A Fieldfare was another unusual visitor.

    I also saw…

    • 16 Jan 2015
  • Why are you getting all up in my grille?

    A rescue operation greeted the wildlife team at 9 am this morning. Lorna from our trading team was alarmed to hear shrill whistled calls coming from the grille in the front of her car as she arrived at work. The bird in question was a beautiful kingfisher that had gone gotten himself stuck near the radiator.

    The poor chap would not budge as he was gripping his perch inside the grille very tightly. But after a few attempts…

    • 16 Jan 2015
  • Winter feeding – let them eat cake (well... bird cake)!

    We should all be busy filling our feeders regularly now, but this year has been unusual and particularly mild for a long time, resulting in plenty of natural food for birds and other animals to feed on. Their instinct is to use this natural food source over the supplementary food we put out for them. Some of you may have found that your feeders are already being regularly used and others are apparently being shunned or…

    • 9 Dec 2014
  • Dissecting owl pellets

    Friday October 3rd

    With some of our team out training our colleagues in the world of wildlife enquiries Claire and I decided that we would use our time to brush up on our wildlife skill set. Having taken delivery of a fresh batch of owl pellets we set about dissecting them on Friday...at lunch time.

    First we selected a pellet that we felt would have a good haul of bones and hopefully an intact skull having never actually…

    • 10 Oct 2014
  • Pigs in the garden!

    Well, Hedge Pigs really. I hadn’t seen hedgehogs in my garden for years, but this year I’ve had two or three adults visiting most nights. I had my suspicions when I kept noticing a very neat corner of the buggy nibbles I put out for the birds in the ground feeder tray had been eaten away. I’ve managed to watch them feeding a few times and found them mooching about in the garden too.

    I’ve always considered…

    • 3 Oct 2014
  • In at the deep end

    Summer is drawing to an end and the signs of change are all around us. If you have a pond in your garden, now is the time to take action and do a bit of pond maintenance, if needed! So, you’ve been marvelling at all the wildlife making the most of your pond, some are more easy to see than others, but there’s a whole ecosystem going on in there. We often get asked how to encourage more birds into people’s gardens. Supplying…

    • 4 Sep 2014
  • Time for some nest box maintenance!

    Apart from the odd storm, this summer has been brilliant for our wildlife and has enabled us to get outside and enjoy watching everything that’s going on around us. I’ve been watching some butterflies, moths, bats, hedgehogs and a variety of birds in my garden, including recently some families of Goldfinch. Earlier on this year, Blue Tits successfully raised a brood of chicks in my new nest box.

    It’s always…

    • 12 Aug 2014
  • It’s a lot less bother with a hover!

    Amazingly, there are about 250 species of Hoverfly in the UK, but most of us will only have seen a few species in our gardens, if you can keep up with them! They are not all brightly coloured, bee and wasp impersonators, but can be dark in colour and harder to spot. Mimicking bees and wasps will warn off predators as this type of marking and colours normally depicts a stinging insects or one that’s bad to taste. This…

    • 1 Jul 2014
  • What’s all the buzz about?

    We get a number of calls coming into Wildlife Enquiries about bees taking over nest boxes with people wanting to know what can be done to remove them. Well, the best thing to do is to leave them where they are and enjoy watching these industrious creatures. You could put another nest box up for the birds (which is unlikely to be taken over by the bees), but in the autumn you’ll be able to clean the box out as you would…

    • 10 Jun 2014
  • Getting the wrong end of the stick about hedges and trees!

    At this time of year, we get a number of calls about hedge cutting and tree pruning in the nesting season. It’s amazing how many people think you cannot touch hedges and trees while birds are nesting, but you can. People are very passionate about protecting our bird life, quite rightly, but I thought I would do a bit of myth busting.

    1. All birds in the UK are fully protected by law (Wildlife and Countryside Act…
    • 1 May 2014
  • Batty about Bats

    You should be able to start seeing bats active at night, as they come out after their hibernation over the winter months looking for food. There are over 1000 species of bat in the world, but there are only eighteen (seventeen breeding in this country) species in the UK. Bats are the only flying mammal and the thin bones that form their wings are like the fingers on our hands, with skin stretched between each finger.…

    • 24 Apr 2014
  • Ducks on the march!

    The warm, mild weather has triggered the start of the nesting season, and we are already getting calls about ducks nesting in people’s gardens, and what, if anything, they can do. If the duck is already laying eggs, then there isn't anything you can do, as the nest and the eggs are fully protected by law (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981). Ducks build their nests on the ground, which can be just a scrape in the ground…

    • 24 Mar 2014
  • New Wildlife Advisers!

    Hi! We are the new Wildlife Advisers, Dannie and Louise, this week we joined the Wildlife Enquiries Team at HQ as seasonal workers, getting ready for the busy and exciting spring/ summer period. Below is a little bit about our first week on the job!

    Dannie:

    Hello! My first day started off with a tour of our headquarters, the offices, library, and of course tea making facilities (an essential stop on the first day!)…

    • 10 Mar 2014
  • Early broods and nest boxes

    Amazingly over the past few weeks, we’ve been getting calls regarding some birds busy building nests, and even reports of nests with chicks in! It seems that to some birds, spring has sprung!

    The mild weather, along with food availability has lulled some birds into thinking it’s a good time to raise a brood. Only today, I took a call from a supporter who was watching a Robin feed its chicks with the meal worms…

    • 4 Mar 2014
  • Winter Butterflies

    While filling up my bird feeders, I glanced up and saw a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly in the roof of the shed. As I looked around, I found about fifteen more, wings neatly folded, just hanging around, waiting for spring to arrive. The old brick shed has a door that fits where it touches, but that’s exactly what these butterflies need, tucked up between the roof beams, out of the wind, but nice cool temperatures that…

    • 4 Feb 2014
  • What a year!

    So here we are, the last wildlife enquiries blog for 2013, we thought we would use this blog to think back to what has been a dramatic year for wildlife in the UK and to look forward to next year. 2013 has flown by so here is a quick recap on some of the wildlife stories.

    The year started with one of the best 'waxwing winters' that we have seen in the UK for some time, numbering in the several thousands (not repeated…

    • 19 Dec 2013
  • Christmas shopping and wildlife watching

    Some may avoid it by shopping online, some may do it earlier and some might just not do it at all, but I can't help but consider Christmas shopping as a necessary evil at this time of year. The crowded streets, bombardment of Christmas music over the radio and the cold weather don't make it a particularly appealing prospect for me. However, even the dreaded Christmas shopping can result in opportunities to observe some…

    • 4 Dec 2013
  • Woodcocks with headaches

    If you have followed our blogs over the years then you may have seen this mentioned before but of late we have had a spell of queries that prompted me to share this. Basically every year in late autumn (or early winter if you like!) we speak with people who are a bit puzzled as they have found a strange looking brown bird, often in unusual places like the centre of London. Over the last couple of weeks these queries have…

    • 22 Nov 2013
  • Get outdoors with the wildlife 'S' factor

    Don't be put off by the dropping temperatures, November is a great time to get outside and catch up with some of the best wildlife spectacles the UK has to offer. It just so happens that many of the species involved with these special wildlife spectacles begin with the letter 'S'! Here are a few examples in no specific order!

    Starlings

    It's murmuration time yet again! We are already getting a few requests…

    • 12 Nov 2013
  • The birds are back in town

    Or so we have been told by a caller today! A few weeks ago they called us asking what had happened to all of their garden favourites and today they rang back to tell us that they had all come back, just like we told them they would! 

    This follows the pretty consistent pattern we observe every autumn, now the weather has turned a little bit wintry with bad weather, cooler temperatures and the leaves dropping in the woods…

    • 6 Nov 2013
  • Do hedge your bets!

    We often get asked what is the one best thing we can do in our gardens to help attract in birds. What do you think the answer is? My reply to this is usually get a hedge in, or if it's a tiny garden, get at least a couple of shrubs. My logic behind this, well a hedge has got a number of benefits for wildlife, not just birds. Many garden birds, and open country species like yellowhammers too, need shelter for nesting and…

    • 17 Oct 2013
  • Digging out the woolies!

    Last weekend it was warm enough to venture out in shorts and t-shirts, what a dramatic change! I've already had to dig around in the back of the wardrobe for some extra layers. I bet the birds that have just moulted into their new feathers are glad of the extra protection they offer from the elements.

    Have you heard any high pitched 'peeping' sounds overhead this week, or 'chack-chack' sounds? No? Then keep your…

    • 11 Oct 2013
  • Pigeons and wigeons

    Given the surprised reaction we get when we tell concerned members of the public that it is normal to find baby pigeons at this time of year it would seem that many people expect all bird breeding to be done and dusted by now! Not so, the pigeon family especially capitalise on the abundance of seed at this time of year to raise young at a time of natural plenty. From personal observations it looks like woodpigeons and collared…

    • 30 Sep 2013