As well as providing homes for rescued and unwanted animals, we are also working hard to make Brockswood a safe haven for wildlife too.
As humans continue to build and take over more and more of the countryside, a rising number of birds are losing their own homes as a result. This major habitat loss means that food and water is harder for them to find, and it is becoming increasingly hard for them to breed and survive, resulting in losses in numbers and possibly somewhere down the line – complete extinction in some cases! Can you imagine a world without our cheery Robins? Or beautiful Owls?
We have allowed some parts of our site to stay as natural as possible, to encourage birds to come to. We have created various different habitats for them – ponds and boggy wetlands, fields, wooded areas, and we have scattered nest boxes around the site for them to use.
A habitat includes all four necessities for survival – food, water, shelter and nesting areas.
Some of our sheep and goats naturally lose parts of their fleeces and coats, and as well as pieces of straw and hay that they may pick up around the sanctuary, these bits of wool and fur make excellent nesting material for birds. We don't let anything go to waste!
You will notice patches of stinging Nettles on site - this is not careless gardening - Nettle patches harbour lots of insects and invertebrates that birds eat, and in late summer the huge amount of seeds produced are food for many seed-eating species!
We compost most of our animal bedding, food and other animal waste. Worms, slugs, insects and other invertebrates will feed on this, and in turn, birds visit to seek out these insects, worms, and seeds. Compost is not only good for the farm, but the wildlife on it too!
Birds are successfully nesting and breeding, following our work with maintaining and creating suitable natural habitats and nesting boxes for them. We have seen Robins, Blue Tits, Ducks, House Sparrows, House Martins, Moorhens and even a pair of Buzzards nesting on site!
We are building nesting boxes for birds, bats, and even insects.
As well as keeping certain areas as natural as possible, to maintain and create habitats for wild birds and other animals to use, we have also created many nesting areas for them around the sanctuary. The natural nest sites on which many of our wild bird species depend, such as holes in trees and buildings, are fast disappearing as trees are cut down in gardens and woods, and old buildings are repaired (or in most cases, demolished).
Therefore providing adequate nesting areas for birds is extremely important to us in order to ensure that our wild birds can thrive and increase in numbers, in a time when we are seeing a great decline in many of our native species.
If you look carefully, you will notice lots of different sized nesting boxes around the site! Keep your eyes peeled, we have already had success with birds nesting and breeding in our boxes! Please try to ensure that you don't disturb any of these boxes, and of course DO please let us know if you see any of them being used during your visit!
Over 60 species are known to have used nest boxes. Regular residents include:
Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Nuthatches, House and Tree Sparrows, Starlings, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, Robins, House martins, Kestrels and Tawny Owls!
We are currently in the first stages of this project and hope to take it further in the future. Currently we are experimenting with different types of boxes spread throughout the various natural habitats we have. Different areas, trees, already established species in these areas, and many other environmental factors will affect which birds use which boxes, if at all!
Once we have a better idea of the areas that different birds prefer and why, we can build upon this and improve these areas for them.
You will notice that most of these boxes have numbers of letters on them. All of these boxes have a unique identification code, so that we can record any activity that we or YOU witness there!
More about our conservation efforts coming soon...