Seasonal Wildlife Tips from Mark Bradfield
Now is a good time to check and clean out any bird boxes you have put up. Bird parasites can build up in boxes that have been used a few times and these can reduce the chances of young birds fledging. Give the box an autumn clean so it’s ready for next spring.
Now the nights are drawing in, it seems a good time to think about bats. Many species now struggle for roosting and nesting sites due to habitat loss. Predation by cats is also a problem as is the reduction in insect numbers.
Bats do us a great service – a tiny pipistrelle bat can eat up to 3,000 insects a night, many of them midges and mosquitos. They are not blind and they won’t get caught in your hair. Their droppings are dry and dusty so wont cause a problem if you are lucky enough to have them roosting in your roof space.
Here are a few ways you can help bats:
* If you have a cat, keep it in at night.
* Build a bat box and put it up in a suitable spot. Please do not disturb it – you need a licence to handle bats or even inspect a bat box or roost.
* Garden for bats – for example by building a pond and growing night flowering plants.
* Reducing or removing artificial lighting.
You can find out more here.
Mark Bradfield grew up in Grove and has always been fascinated with wildlife. He is Project Officer for Letcombe Brook Project and also works with Sustainable Wantage to improve biodiversity in the Wantage Parish. He used to work for BBOWT (local Wildlife Trust) where he managed their Oxfordshire Community Nature Reserves and learnt lots of conservation skills. He studied Zoology at Reading University.
Sustainable Wantage focuses on activities that protect and enhance their natural environment and strengthen their local community. They have a wide range of activities include a Community Fridge, which redistributes surplus food; Wantage Market Garden (a partnership with Style Acre and Oxfordshire County Council); The Mix community space; refills of detergents and toiletries; Wild Wantage, which aims to promote biodiversity locally. They also manage a small woodland and meadow.
You can find out more or sign up to receive their monthly email newsletter at sustainablewantage.org.uk