Many people dismiss the wildlife value of domestic gardens, describing them as artificial, full of introduced plants and managed by intrusive management practices. While it is true that we manage gardens for our own ends (and that they contain a high proportion of introduced plant species), it is worth remembering that much of our countryside is also heavily managed, as our many of our nature reserves. Gardens, then, are one component of a wider spectrum of land management practices and it is becoming increasingly apparent that they do have a benefit for wildlife.
This section of the website explores gardens and their wildlife. As well as providing profiles of the many different species that use our gardens (such as birds, amphibians, reptiles and butterflies), we also touch on some of the other forms of wildlife to be found using our gardens. This section will continue to grow over time. We have started with a few familiar species and will keeping adding to these. You'll also find sections on bird behaviour, disease and ecology that look across groups of species.
Most gardens are isolated from what we would regard as natural habitats and are, instead, often surrounded by other gardens. This isolation may make them accessible to only the more mobile animals and plants (and for plants I'm thinking in terms of seed dispersal). The habitats they do contain are often only present at a small scale, although once you add neighbouring gardens together, you can end up with a substantial patch of suitable habitat. We'll look at the garden habitat in more detail, drawing upon research as to its characteristics and elements. Find out more>>>
A third section of this part of the website is hand's on advice for those who wish to improve the wildlife value of their garden. Drawing upon published research we'll highlight different approaches to wildlife gardening and examine key methods, such as plant shrubs for nesting cover, building a pond, constructing and butterfly mound, etc. Find out more>>>
Winter bird ID and WeBS (Residential, Flatford Mill, Suffolk)
Improve your winter bird ID skills and learn all about the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) on this weekend residential course for relative beginners and improvers. With a focus on waterfowl and waders, discover more about...
Unlocking the science to reveal the state of nature
David Noble takes a sober look at the latest State of Nature Report.