With natural habitats in the countryside disappearing and the effects of modern agricultural practices taking their toll, many creatures rely on our gardens for food, shelter and suitable nesting sites. Wildlife expert Chris Packham is now warning that the problem is so severe that different species are beginning to fight for the same resources.
There's a battle going on in our backyards!
Bees and Nesting Boxes
Mr. Packham has said that he is receiving many reports of bees taking over garden nesting boxes and it is a phenomenon that he has witnessed himself. The bees are preventing garden birds from laying their eggs. Bees usually nest in hollow trees but garden bird nest box provide an excellent alternative.
Chris Packham has been observing suburban gardens for a year and has found that aggressive bees are taking over a surprising number of the available nesting boxes. Bees are important creatures themselves but most householders would prefer not to host too many of them, especially when what they really want to see is the birds!
The problem with nesting boxes is being caused by a species of bumble bee which arrived in the UK in 2001 and settled in the New Forrest before spreading across the country. Chris Packham says that the nesting issue isn't causing a crisis yet but could become more serious over time. He has spent a whole year counting the various species in eight gardens for a new documentary. This will be broadcast on BB4 so watch out for The British Garden: Life and Death on Your Lawn.
British Gardens and Wildlife
Mr. Packham found more than 600 different species across the eight gardens including several animals which are more associated with the wild including sparrowhawks, badgers and pheasants. His research has demonstrated that further species may become involved in the battle for resources. He feels that many species would die out if it wasn't for domestic gardens. The gardens of Britain cover an area the size of Suffolk so they have an important role to play in the survival of our native wildlife.
British bird feeders
The people of Britain put out more food than any other nation which is fantastic but we may all be called upon to do more for our garden visitors in the future. This could include redesigning our outside areas to be more wildlife friendly. Chris Packham has warned that decking is particularly problematic and certainly the enemy of wildlife. Perhaps that is one trend which may soon be viewed in a different light!