Sightings fall of garden visitors

Great crested newts were spotted in around a third of West Yorkshire gardens that were monitored last year as part of the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch.
Great crested newts were spotted in around a third of West Yorkshire gardens that were monitored last year as part of the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch.
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Families are being urged to get closer to nature after a nationwide survey revealed that many had recorded fewer sightings of some of Britain’s most familiar garden wildlife.

More than 6,800 people in West Yorkshire took part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch to monitor creatures which appeared in gardens last year.

Great crested newts were seen in only around a third of the region’s gardens, hedgehogs in around two-thirds and mole activity was recorded in around half.

Foxes remained a common garden visitor with almost 70 per cent spotting one through the year.

Daniel Hayhow, conservation scientist at the RSPB, said: “Unfortunately, the sights and sounds of wildlife that was once common to us are sadly becoming more mysterious to people.

“There are simple things we can all do to make our gardens perfect of wildlife. From creating a feeding station for birds or hedgehogs to digging a small pond to help amphibians, these easy activities can help turn your garden into a wildlife haven.”

The RSPB is urging people to get reacquainted with nature as part of its new Wild Challenge which suggests 24 activities to provide garden wildlife with habitats and sources of food.

Emma Reed, the RSPB’s regional education, families and youth manager, said: “Studies have shown how getting outside and discovering nature is really important for children’s mental and physical well-being and it also provides memorable, fun family time.

“Every child should have the opportunity to connect with nature.”

The RSPB runs family-friendly activities at its Fairburn Ings nature reserve near Castleford and its new St Aidan’s nature park on the outskirts of Leeds.

For more details about the RSPB’s Wild Challenge, visit www.rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge

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