Give na­ture a home in your gar­den

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

THE RSPB is call­ing on peo­ple to get in­volved in ‘Giv­ing Na­ture a Home’ this sum­mer by do­ing at least one thing for wildlife in their gar­den or out­door space - af­ter new data re­vealed fur­ther de­clines in sight­ings of some of our most fa­mil­iar and favourite gar­den species.

Re­sults from a re­cent sur­vey showed only 19 per cent of peo­ple in Greater Manch­ester spot­ted a hedge­hog snuf­fling around their gar­den at least once a month, 18 per cent fewer than in 2014.

Hedge­hog pop­u­la­tions are in a long-term de­cline with the lat­est fig­ures sug­gest­ing that the UK pop­u­la­tion has dipped to un­der one mil­lion.

UK gar­dens cover an es­ti­mated ten mil­lion acres, an area equiv­a­lent to the size of five mil­lion foot­ball pitches. Each green space can make a dif­fer­ence, from a win­dow box full of pollen rich plants for bum­ble­bees to a small pond host­ing a whole range of dif­fer­ent species.

With the right care and at­ten­tion your gar­den could be­come a home to many dif­fer­ent species, and you could have a front row seat to some amaz­ing wildlife shows. It’s in­ter­est­ing to see a rise in the num­ber of peo­ple record­ing sight­ings of some of our strug­gling gar­den wildlife – and al­though this isn’t sug­gest­ing pop­u­la­tion changes, it could mean that peo­ple are be­com­ing much more aware of the species that can find a home in their back gar­den.

Read­ers’ emails to this col­umn would cer­tainly back this up, with videos, just in the last few weeks of deer, badgers and owls, and pho­to­graphs of hedge­hogs, foxes and but­ter­flies, all from around Glossop.

The re­sults re­vealed that foxes were the third most pop­u­lar vis­i­tor with 39 per cent of peo­ple in Greater Manch­ester catch­ing one in their gar­den at least once a month this year.

Stoats how­ever, are a very elu­sive species with less than one per cent spot­ting one on a monthly ba­sis.

Grey squir­rels re­mained the most com­mon gar­den vis­i­tor in Greater Manch­ester for the third year run­ning, with 88 per cent of par­tic­i­pants spot­ting one scur­ry­ing across their gar­den at least once a month.

To help peo­ple cre­ate their own wildlife friendly gar­den, the RSPB launched a new on­line tool this week - www.rspb. org.uk/plan - that will help you build your own per­son­alised plan for na­ture.

The plan will be unique to the in­di­vid­ual and not only tar­get your favourite species, but the wildlife that is strug­gling in your par­tic­u­lar part of the coun­try.

The Laugh­ing Bad­ger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glossop

●● Red fox

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