Tarvin's woodland is well used by the many people (and dogs) who pass through it. However, it also provides a home for a fair range of other creatures, some of which can be seen as we pass by. Although it would be impossible to run our woodland as a truly natural woodland, we do try to encourage as many wild creatures as we can to make it their home – and most notable amongst these are our birds.
From the beginning, Jim Grogan and his band put up bird boxes. These were made of wood and it was quickly found that those others of our woodland residents – the squirrels – could eat their way into the boxes and would treat themselves to a lunch of baby birds. Thus it was that we began to purchase nest boxes made of 'Woodcrete' – a material made up of wood chips and cement – that is sufficiently hard to defeat the teeth of squirrels. Such high-quality boxes are expensive and it is thanks to the many Tarvin folk who have sponsored their purchase that we have been able to buy as many as we have. At present, we have 53 of the Woodcrete boxes, with three further boxes (for woodpecker, owl and kestrel) being made of wood.
Pete Maiden (who, amongst so many other things, is our Bird Box Co-ordinator) and John Price survey and clean the boxes each autumn. They checked all 56 of the boxes and found that, while none of the wooden boxes had been occupied, 49 of the 53 Woodcrete boxes had been used. That is an occupation of over 92% – a stunningly good rate of uptake. The birds occupying them were 21 pairs of Great Tits, 26 pairs of Blue Tits and, joy of joys, two pairs of nuthatches! Last year, there was only one pair of nuthatches and it is really pleasing to discover that they are finding our woodland to their taste!
It is good to be able to report a success for our woodland. It is all very well our woodland being awarded Green Flags for what is being done but here we have an absolutely unbiased endorsement from the creatures which have made it their home. How marvellous!