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We Need Wildlife, and Wildlife Needs us.

Saturday, 16th March 2013

Nowhere is this truer than in the bird world. All the success stories are the result of conservation measures. Stricter legislation regarding pollution of waterways has seen an increase in Kingfishers, even in urban areas.
The Red Kites soaring so spectacularly over an ever-increasing number of areas of British farmland are the result of a carefully managed ‘re-introduction’ programme.  Peregrine Falcons have benefited hugely from bans on pesticides and less persecution.  Avocets are breeding at more and more wetland reserves, as are Dartford Warblers on protected heath land and so the list goes on.
Sadly – in fact worryingly – the successes are balanced by the ‘failures’, and of course this time ‘man’ is the culprit not the saviour.  Farmland birds – such as Skylarks, Corn Buntings and Grey Partridges – are still decreasing due to intensive agricultural practices, whilst Turtle Doves are clearly being shot when they migrate across other parts of Europe.  All we can do about that is protest and lobby our Euro MP’s but the British farming situation is improvable, and indeed farms such as the one featured in ‘Britain Goes Wild’ are terrific examples of what can be done.
More than once I referred to good farming practices as ‘Wildlife gardening on a grand scale’.  Which brings me to the very good news.  Recent figures have indicated that the situation in our gardens has improved even further than suspected.  Rigorous surveys and censuses prove that birds are breeding and feeding in British gardens in record numbers.  In fact, ‘gardens’ are arguably now the most prolific and valuable habitat we have.  There is no question at all that this is the result of more people putting out food, providing nest boxes and planting and managing their gardens, backyards, patios and even window boxes to intentionally benefit wildlife.  Good news indeed.

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