Looking after the environment isn’t just about waste, energy and climate change. Caring for our local habitats and wildlife are vital to ensure biodiversity thrives throughout countryside and busy towns.

A simple thing you can do to help is to support the local wildlife in your garden or nearby parkland. Having the chance to get close to nature and observe wildlife close up is great for our mental wellbeing too. Something especially important at this time of year and after a tough couple of years for many.

As we enter one of the coldest periods of the year, a simple thing we can do is to put food out for the birds.

Feeding the right thing at the right time of year is important, but thankfully the RSPB have some great tips and tricks to help get you started. Check out their free bird feeding guides here.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – 28-30 January

Whether you are a beginner or expert, feeding your local birds gives you an opportunity to observe what birds live nearby. This information can be vital to help experts understand whether certain species are thriving or whether their numbers are reducing. Your observations can help them make important decisions about conservation projects to support species under threat.

Every year the RSPB runs the Big Garden Birdwatch. A chance for anyone to take part in a National bird survey at the end of January. Simply count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour between the 28th and 30th January 2022.

Find out more from the RSPB here, including tips on how to attract birds to your garden.

Big Garden Birdwatch 2022 (rspb.org.uk)

Supporting socially isolated individuals

Bird feeding doesn’t just have to benefit the birds and your own family.

In 2016 Shropshire Wildlife Trust piloted a scheme which has since expanded into a fully funded project. Feed the Birds is a befriending scheme for bird lovers, to reduce loneliness and social isolation for individuals in the community.

‘Feeling lonely frequently is linked to early deaths. Its health impact is thought to be on a par with other public health priorities like obesity or smoking’ (Government guidance on measuring loneliness).

Bird watching is a simple way to engage with nature. The project trains and matches volunteers with lonely individuals in their community. Volunteers visit each week to top up the bird feeders and chat about the birds. Providing not only conversation about the wildlife, but a support network for vulnerable people.

If you would like to get involved visit the Wildlife Trusts Feed the Birds website to find out more.

shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/feedthebirds

If you would like to find out more about local birdlife in Shropshire, have a look at Shropshire’s Ornithological Society, or get involved with Shropshire Wildlife Trust. There are often bird related events running in the area too. Search the What’s On Calendar to find something near you.

Know of a Shropshire wildlife conservation or enthusiast group not listed on the Directory yet? Let us know! We would love to support them with a free listing.

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Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot