YOUR LET­TERS

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

Have your say on ru­ral is­sues.

I was amazed by Sara Mait­land’s re­marks on greet­ing strangers on a coun­try walk. I walk my dog, Patch, ev­ery morn­ing, wet or fine, along the nar­row tow­path beside the Wey Nav­i­ga­tion. I would never meet any­one – be they other walk­ers (with or with­out a dog), jog­gers or even cy­clists – with­out pass­ing some com­ment, be it about the weather, the muddy track, or some­thing I’ve spot­ted in the nearby mead­ows. Very rarely will I not get an an­swer, and pos­si­bly a longer chat, and even cy­clists usu­ally ac­knowl­edge my standing to one side hold­ing on to the dog.

Many lo­cals use the path, so it’s not as if I ac­tu­ally know them all. Mar­garet May Go­dalm­ing, Sur­rey

MORE EX­MOOR WILD­CATS

I was very in­ter­ested to read about Ge­orge R Feather­stone’s Ex­moor wild­cats (April is­sue).

I live in north-east Dart­moor and, while lead­ing a guided walk in Gi­dleigh Woods beside the River Teign, saw what was very ob­vi­ously a gen­uine wild­cat with the char­ac­ter­is­tic bushy tail with black tip and larger than a nor­mal cat.

I re­ported it to the Devon Wildlife Trust, who said they had re­ceived other sight­ings on Dart­moor and thought it could pos­si­bly have es­caped or been re­leased by an owner. Martin Stephens Hodge Oke­hamp­ton, Devon

APOC­A­LYPSE NEVER

I was very dis­ap­pointed to see you choos­ing to pub­lish such an un­suit­able fea­ture in the Fe­bru­ary is­sue ti­tled ‘Where to sur­vive the apoc­a­lypse’. Such a ridicu­lous and de­press­ing fea­ture has no place in BBC Coun­try­file Mag­a­zine and it was given eight pre­cious pages! I can­not imag­ine many read­ers would be in­ter­ested in this ran­dom and wild vi­sion as to what could hap­pen; the prob­a­bil­ity is so slim and not some­thing I want to see in any fu­ture mag­a­zine.

Be­sides this fea­ture, I do en­joy read­ing the mag­a­zine very much. We love the coun­try­side, walk­ing many ar­eas of the Bri­tish Isles in all sea­sons and ex­plor­ing new vil­lages and coast­lines. Please keep on sub­ject. Thank you. An­drew McWil­liam, via email

BADGER BOTHER

I am at the end of my tether. We moved into our dream fam­ily home over two years ago, and have never had a lawn since. We are plagued by bad­gers de­stroy­ing our lawn.

We treat our lawn ev­ery spring and au­tumn with ne­ma­todes to get rid of the grubs, we have tried noise emit­ters and pir lights, but still they come.

We have an al­most two-year-old boy who wants to play on the lawn but can’t and he has a lit­tle sis­ter on the way and it looks like she won’t be able to have a gar­den to play on ei­ther. Do you have any rec­om­men­da­tions? Mike Toone, Hale­sowen Ed­i­tor Fer­gus Collins re­sponds: I re­mem­ber some­thing sim­i­lar from a friend’s gar­den when I lived (long ago) in Bris­tol. There wasn’t an easy so­lu­tion as the bad­gers were strong enough to break open or dig un­der wooden fences, and chain-link fences buried un­der­ground seemed like overkill. Bad­gers are pro­tected un­der the Pro­tec­tion of Bad­gers Act so you can’t use chem­i­cal re­pel­lents, traps or any­thing that may harm them. Some peo­ple rec­om­mend chill­ies or hu­man urine as a nat­u­ral de­ter­rent. I have not tried ei­ther.

In the end we joined our friends in reg­u­lar badger-watch­ing even­ings that de­lighted us and the chil­dren.

SIN­IS­TER SPAR­ROW

Each morn­ing, when I am get­ting dressed, a spar­row taps on the bed­room win­dow. It sits on the shed roof be­tween tap­ping ses­sions. The fact that I am mov­ing around does not de­ter it. There is no mir­ror in the room to cre­ate a re­flec­tion. I do not see it when us­ing the room at other times of the day. This has been go­ing on for sev­eral weeks. There are lots of other birds us­ing the gar­den but this is the only one ex­hibit­ing this type of be­hav­iour. Is there a pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion? Pat Scott, via email BBC Wildlife Mag­a­zine’s fea­tures ed­i­tor Ben Hoare re­sponds: For a few weeks this March, a car­rion crow was do­ing the same thing ev­ery morn­ing in my gar­den, leav­ing our pa­tio win­dows splat­tered in blood.

It’s quite com­mon be­hav­iour in spring, prob­a­bly be­cause birds are so fo­cused on set­ting up ter­ri­to­ries and chas­ing off ri­vals. When they see their re­flec­tion in the glass, it seems to drive them wild.

The Bri­tish Trust for Or­nithol­ogy (BTO) has some tips on how to de­ter birds from do­ing this – go to bto.org and search for ‘win­dows’.

A robin chal­lenges its own re­flec­tion, think­ing it is a ri­val bird. Could this ex­plain why some birds at­tack win­dows?

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