· Gardens cover an estimated ten million acres in the UK, an area the size of five million football pitches, therefore have the potential to play a pivotal role in efforts to reverse the fortunes of struggling UK wildlife
· The RSPB is calling on people to get involved in Giving Nature a Home this summer by doing at least one thing for wildlife in their garden or outdoor space
· New online digital tool launched by the RSPB allows people to create their own personalised nature plan to help struggling wildlife in their area
Results from the wildlife survey showed only 23 per cent of people in Cheshire spotted a hedgehog snuffling around their garden at least once a month, 13 per cent fewer than in 2014.
Hedgehog populations are in a long-term decline with the latest figures suggesting that the UK population has dipped to under one million.
UK gardens cover an estimated ten million acres, an area equivalent to the size of five million football pitches. Each green space can make a difference, from a window box full of pollen rich plants for bumblebees to a small pond hosting a whole range of different species.
The RSPB is calling on people to help save nature this summer by getting involved in Giving Nature a Home, and doing at least one action for wildlife in their garden or outdoor space.
Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: “With the right care and attention your garden could become a home to all kinds of different species, and you could have a front row seat to some amazing wildlife shows. The UK is home to some fascinating garden wildlife from bugs to butterflies, hedgehogs to house sparrows – our outdoor spaces provide these species with the vital homes they need to survive.
“It’s interesting to see a rise in the number of people recording sightings of some of our struggling garden wildlife – and although this isn’t suggesting population changes – it could mean that people are becoming much more aware of the species that can find a home in their back garden.”
For the first time participants were asked to keep an eye out for foxes and stoats visiting their garden. The results revealed that foxes were the second most popular visitor with 26 per cent of people in Cheshire catching one in their garden at least once a month this year. Stoats are an elusive species with only one per cent spotting one on a monthly basis.
Grey squirrels remained the most common garden visitor in Cheshire for the third year running, with 82 per cent of participants spotting one scurrying across their garden at least once a month.
Daniel Hayhow added: “By providing shelter and a safe place to make a home, gardens provide an invaluable resource and are a key element in helping to save nature, perhaps even playing a pivotal role in reversing some declines.”
To help people create their own wildlife friendly garden, the RSPB launched a new online tool this week that will build their own personalised plan for nature. The plan will be unique to the individual and will not only target their favourite species, but the wildlife that is struggling in that particular part of the country.
You can create your own personal plan and give nature a home near you at www.rspb.org.uk/plan.