BAYTREE OWL & WILDLIFE CENTRE
Baytree Owl & Wildlife Centre is run by Mark Birdsall, who has been passionate about birds since his childhood. He took over running the centre about two years ago and has been slowly transforming it ever since. As well as a wide variety of birds, the centre houses a Red Squirrel (soon to become part of the national breeding programme for wild releases) and two Foxes. Mark has plans to expand the species in future to provide a way for visitors to get closer to our native wildlife, while a new Conservation Corner teaches visitors how they can get involved in protecting Britain’s wildlife in their own gardens. Schools visit the centre frequently when the students are studying nocturnal behaviour or bird life to give the children the opportunity to see avian life closer than they might ever have a chance in the wild, and inspiring them to nature-watch. This educational aspect of wildlife centres such as Baytree is what allows them to become vital parts of the conservation movement. It isn’t just about birds and mammals for Baytree though, with the centre now planning to open a native butterfly house from Easter. This has been designed with four distinct habitats – a cottage garden, a wildflower meadow, a wooded area and a scrub area of nettles and brambles – to replicate the diverse environments of the British countryside. These areas will not only provide food and shelter for the individual species but are also a great aid for the curriculum topic of understanding habitats, combined with the other native species already at the centre.
Based in Weston, near Spalding (Lincolnshire), the centre is open Tuesdaysunday, 10am-4pm. A daily flying display at 1:30pm allows visitors to see some of the birds flying free and to learn more about their species and behaviour. For more information, visit baytreeowlcentre.co.uk.