The RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign needs your help in Cheshire

Blackbird bath Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com

Blackbird bath Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com - Credit: Archant

In Cheshire gardens the numbers of baby song thrushes recorded in an RSPB survey were down this spring as much as 21%. Here’s how you can help WORDS BY NATALIE DRURY

British birds are in trouble and need our help. The ‘State of Nature’ report, compiled by 25 wildlife organisations revealed that 60 per cent of the species studied have dramatically declined over recent decades. And because of the deterioration of natural habitats, one in ten of all the species assessed are under threat of disappearing from the UK.

In Cheshire gardens alone, the numbers of baby song thrush recorded in the RSPB’s 2012 ‘Make Your Nature Count’ survey were down this spring as much as 21% compared to last year. Sightings of baby blackbirds (-19%), robins (-21%) and song thrushes (-19%) were also down on last year, which may be a result of wet weather in the early part of the breeding season making it harder for birds to find food for their chicks.

Results from the RSPB’s annual 2013 ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’ survey, of which more than 10,000 Cheshire residents participated, showed that some of our best-loved bird species are continuing to decline in this county. The numbers of starlings and house sparrows, which are already UK ‘red-listed’ species – meaning they are of the highest conservation concern dropped a further 11% and 22% respectively in Cheshire gardens compared to 2012. Bullfinches and dunnocks, both amber-listed, fell by 28% and 19% respectively.

So what does this really mean for a nation which purportedly loves nature and the great outdoors? It means no birds tweeting, no butterflies fluttering, no hedgehogs or ladybirds to enchant us, and no bees to pollinate flowers and make honey for our tables. However, the State of Nature report also highlights that with sufficient resources and public support, we can turn the fortunes of our wildlife around. The RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign urges the public to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces – no matter if you only have a window box in a city apartment.

How children can help

• Create nature corridors for wildlife to move around and easily get from place to place.

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• Build a hedgehog home so they can shelter, hibernate in winter and even raise a family.

• Create a high-rise home for wildlife out of bricks, old wood and garden waste material that can be used by bugs to live and breed.

• Help a lonely bee by building it a home, especially in urban areas.

• Create a small pond or water feature to attract dragonflies and damselflies, while offering frogs and toads a place to drink and bathe.

For more details about the RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign visit: http://homes.rspb.org.uk.