Sunshine and showers

This is a phrase we are certainly used to hearing from the weather forecasters this summer. Sometimes it’s just been showers without the sunshine too.

A soggy summer has been annoying for us, but what has been the effect on our wildlife? Results from recent research by the RSPB shows some worrying trends.

Although adult song thrushes saw an increase in numbers and blackbirds were the most commonly sighted birds in people’s gardens, the numbers of chicks of these species were down.  13% fewer blackbird chicks and 27% fewer song thrush chicks were seen this year compared to 2011.

This may be a result of the wet and cold spring we had, which will have affected many breeding birds at the time. Insect food is harder to find in these conditions, so adults spend longer away from the nest, meaning chicks are more likely to get cold and die.

Sunshine adding sparkle to the showers © Rhian Davies

Some of our favourite summer visitors also suffered. Swift numbers were down by 10% and house martins by nearly 25%.

Other birds which were severely affected were house sparrows, starlings, goldfinch, chaffinch, coal tit and wrens. Although these results were from studying garden birds, it will reflect what has been going on in woodlands such as the Falls of Clyde.

Greenfinch were the only species to show a significant increase since last year, of 11%.

Of our mammals badgers and hedgehogs were regularly seen in most gardens, apart from many inner city ones. As we know grey squirrels are increasingly common, with most gardens getting monthly visits. There are still some red squirrel strongholds though, which the Scottish Wildlife Trust is working to protect.

Fingers crossed for a wildlife friendly winter.

Bye for now,

Rhian (Seasonal Ranger)

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Preface

This is a phrase we are certainly used to hearing from the weather forecasters this summer. Sometimes it’s just been showers without the sunshine too. A soggy summer has been …

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