Hedgehogs slow to get going this spring



Use of gardens by hedgehogs, BTO Garden BirdWatch.

The latest results from the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch show that Hedgehog emergence is a month behind where it was in 2011 and 2012, suggesting that it is likely to have been a particularly difficult winter for this declining species. The weekly ‘reporting rate’ graph (below) shows how the cold weather of February and March held emergence back, underlining that Hedgehogs are only now emerging from hibernation.
 
The late emergence of Hedgehogs from hibernation is in sharp contrast to what happened last year and is perhaps unsurprising given the weather that we have had. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks and to discover what impact, if any, this late emergence might have on the 2013 breeding season. We had a later than usual emergence in 2010 as well, but still not as late as this year. Worryingly, the 2010 season was curtailed by a poor autumn, so it is fingers’ crossed that things are better for Hedgehogs this year.
 
British Hedgehog populations are in decline, as revealed by a recent review of figures from a suite of monitoring studies (Roos et al. 2012). BTO Garden BirdWatch is one of a number of studies that are being used to monitor Hedgehog populations, providing additional information on hibernation patterns.
 

More information on Hedgehogs in gardens can be found here 



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