News, views and advice from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Water water everywhereOver 95 per cent of the world’s chalk stream habitat is found in the UK, with Hampshire being one of the most important locations. Chalk streams really are extraordinary habitats. They support an abundance of fish, crustaceans, insects, water plants, birds and mammals. Falling rainwater soaks into the ground and through the underlying chalk. Along the way it dissolves some of the chalk, which turns the water alkaline and rich in nutrients. There are plenty of easy actions you can take to help conserve our water to help ease the current pressure on our rivers and their wildlife.

 Tap tips• Turning off the tap when you clean your teeth (more than half of us still don’t do this).• Take a short shower instead of a bath.• Keep a bottle of water in the fridge so you don’t run the tap for a cold drink.• Use the washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full.• Set up a water butt to provide water for your garden.• Fit a dual flush toilet.• Install a water meter – people with meters tend to use 10-15 per cent less water.

Question  How can I encourage birds into my garden?

Answer You can attract birds into your garden by providing water, food, shelter and nest sites.  If you have a pond with a gently sloping side this will supply water for drinking and bathing or you could install a bird bath or a shallow-sided container which should be at least 5cm deep.  A natural food supply can be provided by choosing plants that produce berries such as blackberry and elderberry or seeds such as greater knapweed or teasel. If you delay cutting back your annual and herbaceous plants until late winter, you can provide hiding places for insects that will be an excellent food source for insect-eating birds.

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