Your chance to save nature
- New data reveals that only 19 per cent of people see hedgehogs in their gardens at least once a month in Scotland, 14 percent fewer than in 2015
- Gardens cover an estimated ten million acres in the UK, an area the size of five million football pitches, therefore have the potential to play a pivotal role in efforts to reverse the fortunes of struggling UK wildlife
- RSPB Scotland is calling on people to get involved in Giving Nature a Home this summer by doing at least one thing for wildlife in their garden or outdoor space
- New online digital tool launched this week by the RSPB that allows people to create their own personalised nature plan to help struggling wildlife in their area
RSPB Scotland is calling on people to get involved in Giving Nature a Home this summer by doing at least one thing for wildlife in their garden or outdoor space, after new data revealed further declines in sightings of some of our most familiar and favourite garden species.
Results from the wildlife survey showed only 19 percent of people in Scotland spotted a hedgehog snuffling around their garden at least once a month, 14 percent fewer than in 2015. While the number of people who have never seen a hedgehog in their garden continued to grow to 24 percent, up 8 percent since 2015.
Across the UK this pattern of decline in sightings is apparent across both rural and suburban gardens, yet in urban gardens the number of people who have reported seeing a hedgehog on a monthly basis has increased by 12 percent in the last two years (26 percent overall). Hedgehog populations remain in a long-term decline with the latest figures suggesting that the UK population has dipped to under one million.
Gardens cover an estimated ten million acres, the equivalent area the size of five million football pitches, in the UK. Each green space can make a difference, from a window box full of pollen rich plants for bumblebees to a small pond hosting a whole range of different species.
RSPB Scotland is calling on people to help save nature this summer by getting involved in Giving Nature a Home, and doing at least one action for wildlife in their garden or outdoor.
James Silvey, Nature Recovery Officer at RSPB Scotland, said: “Gardens can play a vital part in giving nature a home but you don’t need lots of outside space to make a difference. Planting nectar rich flowers in window boxes is a great way to provide food for insects that lots of Scotland’s wildlife in turn rely on.
“Scotland is home to a great variety of wildlife from bugs to butterflies, hedgehogs to house sparrows. Our outdoor spaces are really important for providing these species, and others, with the homes they need to survive throughout the year.”
For the first time in Big Garden Birdwatch participants were asked to keep an eye out for foxes and stoats visiting their garden. The results revealed that in Scotland foxes were the second most popular visitor with 33 percent of people catching one in their garden at least once a month this year. Stoats are an elusive species with only five percent spotting one on a monthly basis.
Grey squirrels remained the most common garden visitor for the third year running in Scotland and the UK. In Scotland 52 percent of participants have spotted one scurrying across their garden at least once a month, while across the UK 76 percent of participants have. The grey’s native relative, the red squirrel, continued to struggle across the UK with only three percent of people seeing one on a monthly basis. However, in Scotland – the species’ stronghold – 22 percent of participants reported seeing a red squirrel once a month in their garden.
James Silvey added: “There’s lots of ways you can help wildlife in your outside space; creating hedgehog corridors allows these creatures to move between gardens, bugs love log piles, while putting up a box for bats gives them somewhere to rest during the day and raise their families. By providing shelter, a safe place to make a home and often a reliable source of food and water, gardens are an invaluable resource for wildlife and helping to save nature.”
To help people create their own wildlife friendly garden, the RSPB launched a new online tool this week that will build their own personalised plan for nature. The plan will be unique to the individual and will not only target their favourite species, but the wildlife that is struggling in that particular part of the country.
You can create your own personal plan and give nature a home near you at www.rspb.org.uk/plan