Wildlife Enquiries

Wildlife

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

Wildlife Enquiries

'Good morning, Wildlife Enquiries...' We take hundreds of calls and e-mails every day. Find out what everyone's asking this week
  • Whose plumage?

    Here in wildlife enquiries we occasionally get sent some rather interesting finds including pictures of unsual garden visitors, feathers and occasionally dead birds. We are more than happy to take a look at feathers and pictures but we are not too keen on the dead birds, they don't travel well in the post and rarely arrive in one piece and make for a pretty unpleasant surprise first thing in the morning!!! So if you come across something that has died and you want to know more about it, get in touch first before popping the unfortunate critter in the post!

    I thought i'd share with you all some pictures I took of something that was sent into us recently that might be of interest, have a look below and see if you can guess what species of bird this plumage belongs to?

    Here is the wing with some of the feathers removed for illustrative purposes, as Rolf Harris would say, 'can you tell what it is yet?'

  • New Wildlife Advisers!

    Hi! We are the new Wildlife Advisers, Dannie and Louise, this week we joined the Wildlife Enquiries Team at HQ as seasonal workers, getting ready for the busy and exciting spring/ summer period. Below is a little bit about our first week on the job!

    Dannie:

    Hello! My first day started off with a tour of our headquarters, the offices, library, and of course tea making facilities (an essential stop on the first day!). During my tour I learnt what activities my new role will entail and the types of queries I may receive, which seem to cover all manner of things wildlife related! I am looking forward to spending my day answering the phone, e-mails and letters on the wide variety of issue that my new team covers. From anything from how to manage land for wildlife, issues with renewable energy, bird diseases and bird identification, it sounds like I will definitely be kept on my toes and I can’t wait to get stuck in!

    The Lodge is a wonderful reserve to work on. I have been taking lunch-time walks through a variety of trails and have seen a number of exciting birds already, including a green woodpecker, mistle thrush and some flirtatious blue tits. Though there is so much to learn, we have a great team around us who will help us find all the information that we need.

    Louise:

    Hey! So, as I’m sure you can imagine people contact us with queries about a vast range of subjects, some controversial and others more light-hearted including bird ID’s or where the best pub is in relation to the Reserve. So the first three days involved getting to grips with, and trying to digest, the substantial amount of information required to answer all of these areas.

    Late on day three saw me receiving my first phone call.....by mistake! Was there anything this lady could do to stop the Ravens fighting her resident Crows? Unfortunately not, she would just have to watch them battle it out. Although nervous, I am not too worried about starting to answer the phone calls as I know the Team here will get me through the difficult or tricky questions. I’m just not looking forward to the first irate caller.....keep calm I guess. My highlight of the week was when I received an email with a photograph of a 3 year old boy dressed as a Kingfisher for World Book Day at his school. Thomas the Tank Engine, Batman or a pirate were suggestions from his mum but no ‘I want to be a kingfisher, like in mummy’s book’!!

    We have had a good first week, learning the ropes of this challenging and ever evolving job, and we look forward to keeping you updates with our progress.

  • Now where do I put it?

    I am of course talking about nesting boxes! Putting up nesting boxes in gardens at this time of the year has got to be one of the best ways to help give our feathered friends a great chance of finding a top spot for raising the next generation when the spring arrives. In this blog i'll talk about boxes with small entrance holes.

    Your standard small nesting box with a 32 mm entrance hole is potentially a nest site for house sparrows, great tits, blue tits and possibly coal tits in gardens, also pied flycatchers if you are in the right areas with the right habitat. You can limit the variety of species that can use the box by fitting a nesting plate over the hole, blue tits can squeeze into a 25 mm opening, but 32 mm is usually a good size hole that can attract a range of species in a garden. In order for these species to feel safe enough to nest, the box needs to be positioned somewhere open, so they can check the coast is clear, relatively disturbance free and ideally at or above two metres high. House sparrows are a little bit more sensitive than the tits so go higher for them if you can whilst some tits will nest much lower but would be more vulnerable to ground predators as a result.

    Some good examples of tit nesting locations are tree trunks, fenceposts, shed, garage and house walls. Always choose somewhere that has open access to and from the hole but some cover nearby to disguise their approach and exit from the nest. In order to prevent the young inside getting cooked during hot weather, try to avoid walls or the side of trunks that face south, north or west are usually fine. House sparrows seem to prefer their boxes being located up under the eaves in loose colonies, two or three on the same wall a few feet apart could be the start of a nice little colony. If you cannot get up to the eaves, have a look on your house to see if any window ledges offer an over hang, as long as they are above two metres there is a chance that sparrows will have a look.

    Remember, these boxes don't need a perch under the hole, these birds can cling quite easily to the hole itself. You might see them pay a visit to check it out over winter, they may even use it to roost but for most of us it takes a while for the box to be accepted so prepare to be patient!

     Any questions, add them using the comment box below!!!