Eco Tip – Spare a thought for the birds…

CAVERSHAM IS blessed with large public open spaces for dogs to race around. Within the town there are the floodplain meadows along the Thames, and a trio of grassland, woodland and scrub areas along the Northern boundaries at Clayfield Copse, Mapledurham Playing Fields and Bugs Bottom, leading out into Oxfordshire countryside.

Dogs need regular exercise, and also enjoy a good sniff and explore, but the scrub and woodland areas are also the nesting sites for much of the bird population in the town. More than half the population in the UK encourage birds to visit their gardens by putting out food, and some provide nest boxes that are useful for small birds, but the scrub and woodland areas provide a much wider range of potential nest sites to suit more species, as well as the juicy caterpillars and spiders for the nestlings. Dogs exploring the scrub and woodland areas create disturbance which disrupts the adults when collecting food for nestlings, interferes with their need to rest, and hence reduces the number of successful nesting sites.

The blackbirds and thrushes have started nesting already, and many more native species will join in by the end of this month and during March, with migrant species returning later in April and May. Please encourage your dogs to race around the grassland areas, but keep them to heel or on a short leash whilst going through woodland and scrub areas, and keep your walk through these areas to the main paths.