The Human Debt to our Birds
So, you ask, what is it exactly that we owe the birds? In short we pinched great big chunks of their habitat in the British Isles over the last two centuries and we did it in three main ways. The Industrial Revolution was voracious with its appetite for raw materials and our natural deciduous trees were ravaged at that time culminating with the First World War which resulted in our tree coverage of land area down to 3%. Secondly mature woodland has been decimated over the whole period, in order to build our houses, connecting roads, motorways and related industrial infrastructure for our burgeoning population. Finally, we have, and continued to clear natural avian habitat for our insatiable need for more arable land to feed ourselves.
There are over twenty species of hole nesting birds common to us in these British Islands. Their natural nesting hole sites were mainly provided by the mature deciduous trees such as oak, ash, elm, beech and sycamore. Also to a lesser extent the coniferous stalwarts, the Scots and Corsican pines. These hole sites are naturally formed very incrementally when a branch is broken off as a young tree grows. Then the stump of the branch gradually rots back to the tree trunk, where a natural ring begins to form incrementally with each year’s growth. (We emulate this natural tree ring/hole on every one of our nest boxes to stimulate a real attraction for the birds) Eventually the old branch stump rots back through the ring and forms a cavity inside the trunk of the now mature tree. That takes more than a hundred years. Thus the dilemma becomes clear to us.
We and our forebears share this DEBT to the birds, we are all guilty as it were. Yet, it is well within our capability to redress what we owe if we have the individual desire to do so. Nest boxes ARE the answer. Longevity built in, Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP), lifetime guaranteed. Unlike wooden nest boxes which are rotten within five years. There are two main places to install nest boxes in order to significantly improve the breeding prospects of our birds.
No 1, On your house, on your factory, on your public buildings and offices. Please bear in mind that modern buildings are void of any HOLES so a nest box will remedy the problem immediately!
So start at home and take ACTION. Individuals make a difference and governments don't.
No 2. On any immature tree in your garden or lands that you may own. Do remember that food for the birds is often plentiful in immature woodland but they cannot wait for a hundred years for a nest site! Another potential habitat for the birds which is crying out for ACTION are all the immature trees lining the sides of our motorways. Their raison d'etre is to stop side wind effecting high sided vehicles but is it such a quantum leap for someone in authority to spot the obvious opportunity to help the birds with some nest boxes? Surely it would be paying back a little to the birds to compensate for all the habitat we've stolen to appease the god motorcar. I am not holding my breath for anyone in authority/politics to grasp such a vision. What I do believe is that individuals are both capable of clear VISION and the physical ACTION to see it become reality. It is up to us.
Our new display is coming along nicely.....