Birds on bird feeder

Nature Notes Jan 2023– Jon Webster

Winter is over half way through and the temperatures generally have been above average. This does make life a little easier for the local birdlife and small mammals. If you can try and install some sort of RSPB recommended birdfeeder in your garden – its surprising what you will attract to it on cold days, and often a delight to watch. I’ve had sparrows, robins, blue tits, dunnocks, wrens and great tits on mine taking the seeds within, and wood pigeons and collared doves lurking underneath for the seeds that get dropped. It does help more birds survive the winter and I spend about £15 a year on seed which really doesn’t break the bank.

Its rather paradoxical that wandering around the village some of the highest bird activity is amongst the trees along Lower Green Road and in the Recreation Ground on the Woodhill Park side  rather than the local  woodland – the Robins having song duels are a treat to hear.

There are two types of frog native to the UK the Common Frog and the much rarer Pool Frog, the latter has been reintroduced having gone extinct. Additionally there are two types of toad, the Common Toad and similarly to the frogs the much rarer Natterjack Toad.  Both the common frog and toads will regularly be seen in gardens in Pembury, and should be welcomed as they are natural predators of slugs and snails.  Like most UK animal species habitat for these creatures is under some pressure, and they will be starting to emerge from hibernation in February, so if you are thinking about a water feature in your garden you will providing a valuable home for these creatures which spawn during the springtime. One can tell the spawn apart quite easily , toad spawn is laid in long double rows laid around aquatic plants and frogspawn is laid in larger masses or rafts.

And a plea to cat owners. Domestic cats, according to reliable academic research, kill up to 270  million birds, small mammals and amphibians each year in the UK alone. This is a shocking statistic I understand they are much loved pets, but could owners try to keep them indoors at night or at least fit them with a bell to give wildlife a chance please.

Lastly the RSPB great garden birdwatch takes place over the weekend 27th – 29th January – check out the website for details and do join in especially with your children its fun and a good way to learn about wildlife.