RSPB seeks Sidmouth folk to aid garden wildlife survey

PUBLISHED: 15:35 01 June 2011

West Country stakeout will be biggest summer wildlife survey for RSPB

THE RSPB wants people in Sidmouth to join a West Country stakeout in their gardens.

For an hour next week it is conducting the UK’s largest summer wildlife survey.

This year, as well as common garden birds, the wildlife charity is interested in creatures that are associated with water, such as frogs, newts and toads.

Thousands of people will keep their eyes peeled for wild visitors as part of the RSPB’s Make Your Nature Count, running from June 4-12.

The RSPB is concerned about how the early dry weather has affected wildlife and wants to highlight how important access to water is for many creatures.

With the driest start to summer on record in the region, the RSPB hopes the survey will encourage people to think about providing more water and building ponds or smaller water features.

Its spokesman, Tony Whitehead, said: “In Devon we know the lack of surface water on our nature reserves around the Exe Estuary is troubling birds such as lapwing who in part survive by eating insects attracted to small pools.”

More than 70,000 gardens were surveyed last year by nearly 100,000 people.

Almost a quarter of gardens are regularly visited by hedgehogs, and blackbirds visted 92 percent of gardens.

To take part, spend one hour next week counting the birds and other wildlife that visit your garden, and record the highest number of each species seen at any one time.

For more information visit the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk/naturecount. An online survey form will be available from June 4.

You can also ring (0300) 456 8340 (until June 10) for a Make Your Nature Count survey form.

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