A new RSPB report shows that wildlife across Europe is already being affected by a changing climate. Unless Governments take decisive action now, many of these effects will only intensify.
From disruption to ecological food chains, to more frequent extreme events, to species shifting their range – the effects of a changing climate on our natural world are already evident.
The report, published just ahead of the forthcoming United Nations climate change conference in Paris, highlights that protecting and restoring natural systems and space for nature is vital in helping both people and wildlife cope with the impacts of climate change – now and in the future.
At a local level, we can do our bit to protect our wildlife from such changes. As we go through autumn and the morning fog clears it might seem that the colour is draining from your garden. From now on your patch will provide a lifeline to birds and other animals seeking food, water and shelter over winter.
One of the great joys of attracting wildlife to your garden in winter is that as well as improving their chances of survival, you’re gaining a deeper understanding of the needs and behaviour of the birds, mammals, invertebrates and others that drop in. A little effort now will bring endless moments of pleasure over winter as wild visitors bring life to your backyard. You are giving nature a home and doing your bit to counter the effects of climate change on our precious wildlife.
On the practical side it’s a good idea to provide a cosy place for small birds such as wrens to keep warm as the frost and snow approach. Nestboxes will often be used as snug communal shelters during the colder months.
Out in the chilly, misty countryside in the depths of winter, everything is under ice including birdbaths. Here’s a top tip – float a small object such as a ping pong ball, on the surface of the water to that the gentlest breeze will keep the water moving and slow down the freezing process. All birds need to drink every day so it’s vital through the winter to make sure they have access to water.
A word about the leaves scattered over everyone’s gardens at the moment. It may look messy but the leaves can harbour insects and other invertebrates and these are good for blackbirds, dunnocks and others. Hedgehogs root around in leaf litter before they hibernate and toads and newts will use it for shelter. Earthworms too will be on hand to break down the leaves, benefiting your soil and lawns in years to come.
Remember that on 30 and 31 January 2016, you can take part in our annual Big Garden Birdwatch.
For more information go to: www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch.
For more information on events and visits to RSPB Titchwell Marsh visit www.rspb.org.uk/titchwell or ring 01485 210779.