RSPB Cymru is urging people to put on a festive feast to fatten up garden birds this Christmas, but to avoid leaving out the potentially dangerous leftover contents of their Christmas dinner roasting tins.
Cooked turkey fat is extremely dangerous to birds for several reasons and can have catastrophic consequences for your garden visitors.
The fat remains soft even when cooled and it could easily smear onto birds’ feathers and ruin their water-proofing and insulating qualities. This layer of grease would make it virtually impossible for birds to keep their feathers clean and dry, which is essential if they are to survive the cold winter weather.
The fat in roasting tins can quickly go rancid when leftover with other meat juices in a warm kitchen before being put outside. This forms an ideal breeding ground for salmonella and other food poisoning bacteria, which could prove fatal to birds at this time of the year.
It is a popular tradition to add other ingredients to a joint of meat before roasting, including rubbing salts in order to crisp the skin and to add extra flavour. High levels of salt are toxic to garden birds so RSPB Cymru urges people not to leave the cooked fats from any meat on bird tables this Christmas.
To read more about this story go to www.rspb.org.uk/wales These hints and tips will help encourage visitors to your garden in time for the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch. Join around half-a-million other people on 24-25th January taking a closer look at the wildlife on their doorstep, over seven million birds were counted in last year’s Birdwatch alone. To get involved simple pick an hour over the weekend and tell us what you see. For more information about how you can give nature a home in your outside space visit – rspb.org.uk/homes
A rare beetle, called the ‘inquisitor’ has been discovered for the first time at Cwm Llyfnant, part of RSPB’s Ynys-hir reserve near Machynlleth in mid Wales.
The rare beetle (full Latin name Calosoma inquisitor) and also known as the ‘Caterpillar-hunter’ or ‘lesser searcher beetle’, was discovered in ancient woodland – a key habitat for the species - in the Cwm Llyfnant area of the reserve.
The survey which took place this summer has been part-funded by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and is part of a wider survey which is investigating special communities of insects in the Dyfi Valley. These insects are one of the main reasons for the designation of the area as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Consultant Ecologist Dave Boyce and NRW Invertebrate Ecologist Adrian Fowles made the discovery, though neither had to dig around under logs or rotting leaves to unearth the rare find. As Dave Boyce explains: “We were discussing management specifically for these special insects, when out of the sky an inquisitor beetle, one of Britain’s rarest beetles, flew into a clearing and landed right next to us!”
Wales is thought to be the last remaining stronghold in the UK for this creature, with a particularly strong population at RSPB Carngafallt reserve in the Elan Valley, another site with lots of ancient oak trees. The inquisitor beetle was once widespread in England and Wales but its population has halved in the last 25 years, and it is now only found in small, isolated pockets of woodland in England, and a handful of sites in mid and north Wales.
Adrian Fowles believes that the discovery is a good sign, he said: “Finding this beetle suggests there is a breeding population within the valley, which is encouraging news.”
The ideal habitat for the inquisitor beetle is ancient oak woodland, and with more than 40% of the UK’s total upland oak forests found in Wales, it’s easy to see why Wales is a valuable and special home for this creature. The cause of the decline of the inquisitor beetle is not fully understood but it is thought it may relate to a lack of appropriate management of woodland, including a lack of grazing.
Adrian Fowles added: “Discoveries like this when we are monitoring help us further our knowledge about the significance of Welsh oakwoods. They also highlight the importance of the conservation efforts to manage and protect these key areas of our environment and help prevent the loss of biodiversity.”
These beetles are nocturnal and adults are often found climbing the trunks of oak trees to feast on the caterpillars of woodland moths like the carpet and pug species in the canopy. It is possible that there's been a reduction in their food as many widespread moth species are also declining.
This work is part of the RSPB-NRW Strategic Partnership and looks at exploring what insects call ancient woodlands their home, especially those woodlands with veteran trees and an abundance of deadwood.
For more information about this project please contact email@example.com
I ddarllen hwn yn Gymraeg cliciwch yma
Tell Welsh Government to put action for nature in its recovery plan
You can do this by sending a letter in response to the public consultation open right now.
Natural Resources Minister, Carl Sargeant, and his Welsh Government officials are developing a Nature Recovery Plan and new legislation, the Environment (Wales) Bill. The policy plan and new law could go a long way towards saving nature. But there’s a problem.
There’s not enough action in the plan to meet nature’s needs.
Bizarrely, the Nature Recovery Plan doesn’t say much about how we’re going to achieve nature’s recovery. There is very little action included in the plan. In contains many good words, but it doesn’t show the commitment to action or access to funding that will make the difference nature needs.
Instead Welsh Government has pinned its hope for nature’s recovery on an idea called “natural resource management”. This proposes to integrate plans and policies to join up the different ways people work across the environment in Wales, from farmers to fishermen, conservationists to construction workers. This joined up approach makes sense and is necessary. But Government is missing the point if they focus on process at the expense of action for nature in our fields, wetlands, seas and mountains. On its own, Welsh Government’s “natural resource management” is not enough to bring back our wildlife.
For nature to recover, it needs strong leadership from Government:
Help put action in the Nature Recovery Plan. The RSPB has over 50,000 members in Wales and there are thousands more nature lovers. You are not a lone voice, but one of tens of thousands of Welsh people who care passionately about our natural environment, and your voice is important. Join us in speaking up loud and clear for birds and wildlife in Wales by telling Welsh Government to include action for nature in the Nature Recovery Plan.
Email or post your letter to Welsh Government by Wednesday 3 December to firstname.lastname@example.org or Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Branch, Rhodfa Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3UR.
To help you, here are four points you may like to include in your letter:
Please help us monitor the progress of our campaign – email or post a copy of your letter to Heather Galliford, Conservation Officer (Policy and Campaigns) at email@example.com or RSPB Cymru, Sutherland House, Castlebridge, Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF11 9AB.
To receive more information about our campaigns and find out how to get involved visit – http://www.rspb.org.uk/joinandhelp/campaignwithus/
Thank you for joining us to make a difference and speak up for nature