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A Poem for May
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
Jean K Cave
Photo by John Harding
Connect with Nature During Lockdown
You may recall last month, I mentioned that connecting with nature is good for your mental health and well-being. The lockdown continues and we don’t really know how long it will go on for. Our movements are restricted and we have to stay at home. In Woodborough we are so fortunate that we have beautiful gardens where we can admire our flowers, sit outside in warm weather with a glass of wine and simply relax, but there may be a lot more in your garden than you think. Do you feed the birds which visit your garden? Do you notice if any birds have built their nests in your garden? If you have a pond, have you observed frogs or newts or have you seen a toad hiding in a damp, shady spot? How many different species of butterflies flutter through your garden? Have you seen hedgehogs pottering about on your lawn in the evenings? By observing the creatures that visit your garden, you are connecting with nature. So, why not learn more about your garden and contribute to scientific research without leaving your home.
You can do this through the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch scheme. In last month’s edition, I advised it was a perfect time to join the BTO GBW scheme. Normally the scheme costs £17 per annum in order to participate and you receive a free book and a quarterly magazine.
However, during the lockdown, the BTO are now offering free membership of the scheme. You will not get the free book or magazine but you will have:
- Access to the Garden BirdWatch on-line recording system
- A regular e-newsletter
- Access to the BTO’s team of wildlife experts to answer your questions.
After a year, the offer will cease and return to normal.
Why join GBW? First and foremost, it is a great way to learn more about birds and other wildlife in your garden. Secondly, the data collected by Garden BirdWatchers helps the BTO learn how wildlife uses the areas around our homes and therefore how they can improve our gardens, towns and cities for wildlife.
What do I have to do to participate? All you have to do is keep a list of different birds that are using your garden over the course of a week. You also have the option of recording mammals, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, bumblebees and dragonflies. You then send your weekly findings online to the BTO.
How much of my time will it take up? That’s the good thing about this scheme. You can take as long as you would like but the BTO suggest a minimum of 20 minutes a day. The main thing is to be consistent so you could do it every time you have your morning coffee break. It’s your choice.
What do you mean by ‘using’ your garden? This would include, birds on your feeders, perching on shrubs and the branches of trees or nesting on your house, eg. House Martins. It also includes birds feeding on insects in your garden and birds flying low over your garden for the purpose of eating, e.g. Swallows. It may also include frogs in your pond and butterflies feeding on your flowers.
At this time of writing, over 3,770 people have signed up to the free lockdown scheme. So, why not take this opportunity to learn more about your garden and at the same time contribute something towards nature. Our wildlife needs you more than ever before. To obtain further information or join contact www.bto.org/join-gbw
Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife which visit your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you. If you would like a free information pack about the scheme, contact Jean at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bto.org/gbw