Notes on nature

Wildlife

Wildlife
We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Notes on nature

We love nature... from every little bug on a blade of grass to birds, butterflies, otters and oaks!
  • Get your wildlife adventure started this September

    September is a month of great change for wildlife. As summer begins to make way for autumn the nature around us adapts to its changing surroundings. We’ve got some great ways for you to discover more of the wildlife close to you this month. No matter your budget, there’s nature waiting out there for you.

    The Great British Wildlife Hunt

    Accept the challenge and discover wildlife across the UK. Score points for every species you see as this book helps you learn where to go, when to go and what to look for.

    RSPB Ultimate Easy-clean® seed feeder

    Take a look at our new and innovative Ultimate Easy-clean® seed feeder. The modern, fresh design will also look great in your garden, and especially wonderful when your garden's birds are queuing up to take a perch.  Brilliantly made and easy to clean, these feeders are fantastic for helping all manner of garden birds.

    Frogilo frog and toad shelter


    Give a home to the awesome amphibians. The last froglets and toadlets of the year are just making their way out of the pond in early September and begin to feed to prepare for the winter ahead. The frogilo is ideal to help these amphibians shelter from the elements.

    Hedgehog kit


    Young hedgehogs start to step out on their own in September, looking for new territories. Why not help give them the perfect start to their new found independence with the hedgehog kit? With a great home and an easy meal to start them off they’ll be prepared for anything.

    Magenta Bat 4 bat detector


    September is one of the best months to go looking for bats. As the nights start to get longer, the mating season begins. Try using this bat detector and see if you can pick up any of the purrs, clicks, and buzzing of the males as they use special calls to try and attract females.

    Birdcam wildlife camera


    The ideal gadget for catching glimpses of the shyer visitors to your garden. Find out what goes on in your garden when you’re not there, as this great camera takes still images and videos of that hard to glimpse wildlife.

    RSPB Avocet 8x42 binoculars


    The perfect tools for birdwatching. Whether you're going to a reserve or enjoying the last good weather of summer in your garden, our 8x42 optics will come in handy. These will help give you a brilliant up-close view, making it easy to pick out identifying features of birds. And they're ideal for looking for those rare birds coming to our shores soon in autumn migration.

    Special offer

    Grab your kit and start a wildlife adventure, and if you’re quick there’s free delivery when you spend £25 before 8 September. Quote ENEWS4 in your online basket or over the phone.

    Terms and conditions

    Offer ends 8 September 2016. Not available with any other code-driven offers. Free delivery is not available on our personalised or made-to-order gifts. Free delivery to standard UK addresses only.

  • Monday‚Äôs Magic Moment:Newt-on's fourth law - water is where the wild things are

    As anybody who has seen Blue Planet can attest, there are few things more fascinating than the underwater world.

    But these wonders aren't confined to the tropical seas and oceans, there are incredible ecosystems at work right in your back yard.

    If you haven't already, give making a pond in your back garden a go, it can bring all sorts of benefits to wildlife,

    But the best bit about any pond, is the little creatures you find there, grab a net or shallow tub and see what wonders you can find,

    That's what I got up to this weekend where I came face-to-face with one of these little beauties, the smooth newt. 

    These fantastic little amphibians are our most common species of newt, but don't wait around to find them, they start hibernating in mid-October

    There's all sorts to find in a pond though as the watery world plays host to shrimps, beetles, snails and tiny tiny creatures you might need a microscope to find!

    While you're waiting for your pond to gather life why not check out your local reserves, tonnes of them have pond dipping sessions going on throughout summer or if you can't make that head to the beach and give rock pooling a go!

    This photo was taken by Ray Kennedy and comes from our own photo library, RSPB Images. Browse to find more breathtaking photos like this (you can order a print or canvas if any takes your fancy).

  • Butterflies - Winging it?

    I’ve always felt that butterflies were show-offs, or maybe even a bit mad!

    When nearly all other flying insects try to keep a low profile, with a nice plain appearance and speedy movements, butterflies seem to waltz around doing the exact opposite. Like bits of brightly coloured paper caught in a breeze, fluttering about chaotically in all directions.

    They have crazily big wings for their bodies - unnecessarily big - bigger than any other insect of a similar size. Many have amazingly loud and eye-catching colours too, that they wave around like big flags, as if to say, ‘Hello birds, here I am, come and get me!’

     As caterpillars they have to be very worried about predators, but it’s almost as if having gone through all of that hiding under leaves, and emerging as a butterfly unharmed, they feel as though they have the right to relax a little bit and not worry so much.

    They are really beautiful though, and it’s only when you start to look more closely, that you begin to see that there’s actually an amazing design behind the apparent madness. In fact, the truth behind a  butterfly’s design and biology is so bizarrely clever that it continues to inspire (and confuse!) humans, and science, in really remarkable ways.

    Maths experts and flight engineers for example, are busy trying to understand the secrets behind a butterfly’s flight. It turns out that those jumpy, random flutters are in fact a very clever and unique skill.

    Butterflies flap their wings by contracting and retracting their bodies, and unlike many other winged-animals, this means that they can move their wings in a useful figure of 8 pattern. What seems like crazy flitting about is actually one of their best defences against predators - allowing for fast turns, strength, and incredible movement. In fact, butterflies can easily fly with broken wings, or even with a missing wing if they want too.

    Their wings are also very special for another reason. We all know that butterflies are often covered with bright colours and intricate shapes – there are so many shapes and colours in fact, that an artist has managed to find a complete (and very convincing) alphabet hidden in their patterns! That’s an interesting way of learning your ABC’s!

    What you might not realise though, is that they actually don’t have any colour at all.

    A butterfly’s wings are transparent! The colour that we see, is in fact created by thousands of tiny see-through scales, that mess around with the way light-waves touch each other as they hit and reflect from the wing. They do this in such a mind-bogglingly smart way, that they can create a giant amount of different colours and patterns.

    Their ability to do this is so impressive and unique, that it’s inspiring scientists to create new nano-technology and smart-imagery – that uses loads of tiny computers (too tiny to see without a microscope) that team up together to do amazing things!

    So maybe they have the right to show-off a little bit. They’ve been happily floating about on this planet for at least 50 million years after all, and we’re only just beginning to fully understand their secrets.

    So next time you see an butterfly, clumsily tumbling from flower to flower, remember that they’re smarter than they might at first seem. In fact, we’re learning from them! They know exactly what they’re doing and they’re doing it very well indeed.




    Butterflies need out help!

    Have you noticed less butterflies than usual? Sadly, it's not surprising. Lots of our UK species seem to be in trouble and are dramatically declining in numbers every year.

    There are all sorts of things we can do though! Things that can help give them a safe, friendly home to re-build their numbers and fill our skies again. You could grow flowers for butterflies, or even have a butterfly banquet! One of the best ways though, to help butterflies thrive again, is to grow food for caterpillars. Caterpillars are quite picky eaters, and they need specific plants to munch on. So without those plants they'd be no caterpillars, and without caterpillars they'd be no butterflies! 

    See butterflies in action

    If you want to see a butterfly's amazing wings in action, whilst you're still in the process of making your garden butterfly-friendly, why not pop along to one of our reserves? We have lots that a particularly great for butterfly-spotting!