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Remember, remember wildlife this Bonfire Night

Last modified: 02 November 2012

Curled up hedgehog

Sleeping hedgehog

Image: RSPB - Ben Andrew

The RSPB is urging everyone to remember, remember wildlife this weekend, especially those planning homemade bonfires.

The wildlife charity is asking anyone planning a bonfire or fireworks display in their garden to avoid doing it too close to nest boxes, trees or bushes. 

Ben Andrew, from the RSPB’s wildlife enquiries team, says: “As you gather logs for your bonfire, consider where you pile them so as not to give birds and other wildlife a nasty surprise.”


Although the nesting period is over for most species, many birds use nestboxes as a safe place to sleep through the autumn and winter.

“Setting off fireworks near nestboxes, trees and bushes is big a no-no.  During the hours of darkness these places become roosting sites so loud bangs and flashing lights could unsettle birds and other animals and cause them to move on.  Every movement made in the cold weather uses up vital energy supplies, so unnecessary travel to find a quieter home could have a detrimental effect,” warns Ben.

The RSPB is also asking gardeners putting the final touches to their bonfire heap to look out for hedgehogs, frogs, toads, newts, slow worms, common lizards and grass snakes, who all use log piles to sleep in during winter months.

“Log piles and leaves are the perfect places for hibernating hedgehogs, amphibians and reptiles and they will usually be buried right at the bottom so it’s best to build your bonfire on the day you plan to light it to ensure no sleepy guests have moved in,” says Ben.

“It’s still possible to have a fun fireworks display and a brilliant bonfire in your garden without disturbing wildlife, it just takes a bit of care and common sense.”

And it’s easy to continue helping wildlife even once the bonfire celebrations are over. The RSPB suggests leaving any unused logs, twigs or leaves piled up in a corner of the garden to provide shelter for all sorts of wildlife, including hedgehogs, insects, frogs and toads.  For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/hfw

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