Barry Shaw - The bird man of Frodsham
Barry Shaw has Frodsham golfers excited about another kind of birdie WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON
Barry Shaw had always loved playing the course at Frodsham Golf Club. But it wasn’t until he retired that the engineer, who then owned Mersey Weigh in Ellesmere Port, discovered the abundance of wildlife there.
The 67-year-old, who lives in Vicars Cross, has been a member of the club for 20 years. But he has now made it his mission to attract even more wildlife to the site. Barry has built and installed, with the help of friends from the club, more than 30 bird boxes to encourage more bird life to the course overlooking the Dee Estuary.
He said: ‘My eyes were really opened when I retired. It gave me the chance to look around at the world more and it made me appreciate the nature of the club a lot more.
‘Before I’d been living such a busy life that I just didn’t notice it. I general, too, I think people believe golf clubs can ruin the land they’re built on but that’s just not the case here.’
Many different bird species are now flocking to Frodsham Golf Club, including blue tits great tits, tree creepers, nut hatchers and great spotted woodpeckers. Barry has also installed a live webcam in the clubhouse for members to enjoy. His work has earned him the nickname, The Bird Man of Frodsham.
He said: ‘It’s surprised me how enthusiastic people have been. It seems to have really captured their imagination.
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‘I get reports from members about what the birds are up to and some of them are helping to monitor the boxes as well as cleaning them out. Another member made a bird table for up near the clubhouse too.’
Barry has also built bird boxes with webcams for a handful of people around the county who switch on their television sets every morning to see what is happening in their box.
Barry said: ‘It’s fantastic. There are people who tell me that they can’t wait to switch on their televisions every morning because they can’t wait to see if there are any birds in there, or whether there are any eggs.
‘One lady in Frodsham joked with me that she doesn’t get any birds in her garden in Frodsham anymore because they are all coming up here. It does seem to have brought a lot of pleasure to people and I’m really delighted about it.’
Create a wildlife haven in your garden
• Nuts and seeds attract birds when they can’t find food from the local environment.
• Don’t cut back all of your plants through winter as they will provide seeds for food as well as shelter.
• As well as being good for your soil, a compost heap can also provide a place for frogs, toads and newts to hide.
• Cut back on the amount of chemicals, in particular if you are using them to control insects as they are an integral part of the food chain that other wildlife feeds on.
• Bats and hedgehogs can be attracted to your garden by providing them with specially built boxes that would be suitable for hibernation.