We’re very proud of the RSPB’s farm in Cambridgeshire and we always jump at the chance to show it off in the media.
On Saturday Countryfile’s John Craven visited Hope Farm to talk to about the debate over farmland bird declines. Some believe this is down to predation by birds like magpies, but, as RSPB conservation director Martin Harper told the programme, we have managed to triple farmland bird numbers at Hope Farm simply by using wildlife friendly methods. You can watch the show on iPlayer for another couple of days.
Farmland birds were again the centre of attention on Bank Holiday Monday when early morning Radio 4 listeners were treated to a wet and windy trip round the RSPB’s Geltsdale Reserve in Cumbria. Farming Today visited the reserve to talk to RSPB staff there about how they use livestock to help maintain an upland habitat suitable for wild birds.
Also over the weekend the spotlight was shined on one of our most remote reserves, Ynys-hir in Wales. Why? Because it is the site of this year’s Springwatch of course! The show started this week, much to the relief of millions of wildlife lovers who will be glued to their screens in the coming weeks. The story was covered in the Telegraph, the Mirror and BBC News online.
The popularity of Springwatch is one of the reasons why more and more people are getting out an enjoying nature, according to an article in The Guardian this week.
“We get all sorts here, old, young, locals, passing bikers, and visitors from as far afield as Australia and America. Everyone is captivated by what they see,” the RSPB’s Geraint Williams told the paper from Glaslyn in Wales where he helps thousands of people see and appreciate the ospreys there.
The RSPB’s latest wildlife survey Make Your Nature Count starts next week and this was previewed in the media with a double page spread in the Mail on Sunday magazine and a news articles in today’s Daily Telegraph. We’ll be reporting the results back in a few weeks so lookout for those in the news.
It’s been a great year for the Cornish chough with 15 chicks hatching at four secret sites this season. The story, which was covered in the Telegraph and on BBC Online, is great news for the rare bird which is often found on coastal farmland.
On Thursday this week the Government unveiled the National Ecosystem Assessment, which seeks to show the valuable services nature provides for our society. The story made several of the papers and Martin Harper was quoted on the BBC News website saying: "The traditional view of economic growth is based on chasing GDP, but in fact we will all end up richer and happier if we begin to take into account the true value of nature.”
And if you want to read more of Martin’s thoughts on this groundbreaking new approach to nature conservation, he has written an article for the Guardian website on the subject.
One story that kept our press office busy this week was the reports from an Oxfordshire school of red kites swooping on the playground to steal food. The RSPB’s red kite expert Jeff Knott appeared on BBC Breakfast and Newsround to talk about the issue and it was also covered in the Telegraph, the Mirror and the Express.
The hot weather continues this week and the dry spell is causing problems for wading chicks on RSPB reserves, according to yesterday’s Telegraph. Phil Burston, the RSPB’s water policy officer, told the paper: “Wader chicks feed on insects along the edge of pools, but the pools are dying out and insects are scarce. The birds are having to go further afield to find food, and the further they travel the more danger they face.” The story was also featured on Radio 5Live
And finally the RSPB is one of the partners hoping to rescue one of the world’s most threatened birds, the spoon-billed sandpiper, from extinction. As reported in the Guardian, the Times and BBC Online, a team of scientists is travelling to a remote part of far eastern Russia to find some of the last remaining individuals.