November is an exciting time for people, with fireworks and bonfires helping to bring communities together. It is important though to remember our wildlife during this season. Working with idverde in partnership for Bromley’s parks, the RSPB has developed guidelines to ensure that wildlife stays safe while we enjoy our bonfires.
Event organisers and people having their own parties should leave bonfire-building as late as possible, says the RSPB, as this will avoid hedgehogs and other wildlife mistaking the woodpiles for cosy winter quarters. Bonfire makers are asked to look out for frogs, toads, newts, slow worms, common lizards and grass snakes, which all use log piles for shelter and sleep during the winter months. These animals tend to move slowly when the temperature is low and would have difficulty escaping a roaring fire.
“Bonfires and fireworks are great fun and we want people to enjoy them responsibly,” said Richard James, RSPB wildlife expert. “The trick with a bonfire is to build it with leaves, twigs and logs on the day to avoid wildlife moving in overnight. Generally, birds can cope with the disturbance caused by thunder and lightning, so firework displays are not a big issue, but it is best to avoid areas where they are known to be roosting.
“As well as – or maybe even instead of – watching the fireworks this year, we’re urging people to take in some of the UK’s most exciting wildlife sights, which we think are more than a match for any pyrotechnic display. There are no damp squibs when it comes to nature at this time of year.”
To encourage people to watch a wildlife display as well as the fireworks this year, the RSPB has come up with a top 5 list of natural spectacles to enjoy this weekend: