With the ‘Beast from the East’ bringing very cold temperatures and lots of snow, our wildlife will be finding it very difficult to find enough food to eat just to stay alive. Did you know a Blue tit can lose 5% of its body weight overnight as it uses the fat it has built up during the day to keep it warm during the cold night?
We can do a lot to help our wildlife at these times – of course feeding the birds a variety of different food will make a huge difference, as most of their usual food is hidden underneath deep snow. But nest boxes can also be lifesavers. They can provide a safe and secure space where lots of birds can huddle together so they don’t lose so much heat.
We have a whole host of wildlife feeding in Perthshire Wildlife HQ garden just now, with a few additions to the usual. These include Fieldfares, Redpolls, Bramblings, a wild rat, 2 cheeky rabbits (eating more hen food than the hens), a Song thrush, a parliament of rooks (lots of rooks), as well as the usual robins, blackbirds, siskins, chaffinches, tree and house sparrows, dunnocks, blue, great & coal tits, starlings, jackdaws, woodpigeons and collared doves.
The wider the variety of food you offer, the wider the variety of wildlife you will attract.
Fingers crossed for a thaw soon as the cost of bird food soon mounts up!
It’s early January and we’d like to wish all our customers and other wildlife fans a very happy new year.
Every year we donate to a conservation or animal welfare charity and this year we have decided to support Animals Asia for all their work in helping to end the very cruel bear bile trade in the Far East. They recently rescued six bears in Vietnam, which now look forward to a much happier future. More info about the charity can be found on their website here: https://www.animalsasia.org/uk/our-work/end-bear-bile-farming/
Last year we decided to change from a fossil-fuelled to an electric car, as driving is definitely our biggest contribution to our carbon footprint. Making Perthshire Wildlife as sustainable as possible is a priority for us and we use ethical banking & insurers, a green energy supplier, use recycled products and when we do need to make a new purchase, use The Good Shopping Guide for guidance.
This year we look forward to seeing you on a Beaver Tour (on foot or by canoe), Swift Walk, Foraging tour or at any of our other guided walks and events. We’ll be working on a number of consultancy projects too – including swift conservation and wetland habitat management. See you soon we hope!
C Ben Amir Gov, courtesy of Swift Conservation
It’s that time of year again – our summer migrants are heading off to warmer climes and the skies feel distinctly empty. Most of our swifts left in the first fortnight of August, with the few remaining still feeding late chicks in the nest. In the days before their departure it seems that their screaming parties sound even more excited than usual. This is one of the quintessential sounds of summer and I always miss their happy-sounding calls once the birds have gone. Ted Hughes summed up the joy of their arrival in his poem ‘Swifts’ – here’s an excerpt.
From Swifts by Ted Hughes
Fifteenth of May. Cherry blossom. The swifts
Materialize at the tip of a long scream
Of needle . “Look! They’re back! Look! And they’re gone
On a steep
Controlled scream of skid
Round the house-end and away under the cherries.
Suddenly flickering in sky summit, three or four together,
Gnat-whisp frail, and hover-searching, and listening
For air-chills – are they too early? With a bowing
Power-thrust to left, then to right, then a flicker they
Tilt into a slide, a tremble for balance,
Then a lashing down disappearance
They’ve made it again,
Which means the globe’s still working, the Creation’s
Still waking refreshed, our summer’s
Still all to come
There are lots of brilliant swift videos on Youtube – have a look at this one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd3NlfbA7yQ
C Ben Amir Gov, courtesy of Swift Conservation
This has to be the best time of the year, with all the wildlife activity that is taking place. And seeing the first wildflowers in bloom is enough to lift the spirits. Probably the first to be seen in flower are the Butterbur, whose flowers come out long before the leaves, and who are so-named as their large leaves were once used as wrapping for pats of butter. They are usually found in fairy damp areas.
Lesser celandine and Wood anenome are next – the celandine have bright, shiny yellow flowers and the Wood anenome have white and yellow flowers. These pretty nectar sources are a life-saver for the bumblebee queens just out of hibernation and extremely hungry. They mated before going into hibernation in the autumn, and all the males and workers in their colonies died, so it’s very important that these bees survive the first few lean weeks to be able to establish a new colony and keep their species going!
The ospreys at the Loch of the Lowes arrived back in the last 10 days and have been busy tidying the nest and mating, so fingers crossed they do as well this year as they did last year. Here’s a video of the pair that we recorded last weekend. Enjoy spring!
- Osprey on nest, image courtesy of SWT, Loch of the Lowes
It’s almost mid-March and our garden birds are starting the dawn chorus at about 6am, with the robin being one of the earliest. Birds sing so strongly at this time of the year as they are establishing territories and trying to attract a mate. Have a listen to our Perthshire Wildlife HQ garden robin here (he isn’t looking at his best due to losing most of the feathers on his head!):
Other birds that are starting to sing now include the blackbird, song thrush and wren – which are all very recognisable songs.