Nature Snippets

Nature Snippets

(Photo above of a swift from

A round-up of environmental news that’s been overlooked recently.

By Colin Serjent

Save our swifts

Homeowners renovating period properties are inadvertently destroying nesting sites for endangered birds in a quest to make their homes more energy efficient, conservationists have warned.

Swifts usually nest in holes near the roofs, but renovation work is plugging these gaps and making it more difficult for the birds to breed.

Swifts and house martins have suffered huge declines in recent years and were added to the UK red list for endangered birds in December. Swift numbers alone have dropped 60% over the past 25 years.

Greenland shark dies of meningitis

A 100-year-old Greenland shark found on a Cornish coast died of meningitis, a post-mortem examination found. It is believed to be the first case of the disease in the species. The Greenland shark is extremely rara and can live beyond 400 years.

Chicken poo power?

A town in Devon is getting all its gas from renewable energy – made from manure. South Molton’s anaerobic digestion plant transforms crops and chicken poo to energy, also supplying 40% of electricity. Darren Stockley, of Candate Biogas, said it could ‘solve the UK energy crisis.’

Four-fifths of UK orchards lost over past century

Four-fifths of traditional orchards in England and Wales have been lost in the past century, spelling bad news for wildlife that relies on them, the National Trust said.

The total area of orchards have halved since the early 1900s, reducing the spectacle of blossom through the landscape.

Orchards have been lost to conversion to fields of ryegrass for livestock, urban development and a switch to arable farming.

Nature’s sounds ‘aid wellbeing’

Listening to natural sounds such as birdsong, breaking waves and falling rain could benefit people’s mental health, research has suggested.

A survey of more than 7,500 people found that sounds from environments such as coasts and woodlands to rainforests could reduce stress and mental strain. These psychological benefits were reduced when no natural sounds were heard.

Threat to tropical forests as birds plunge by 90%

Tropical rainforests may be losing more then half their birds after research found numbers have dipped in the past 40 years.. Panama’s 54,000-acre national park has seen a decline of up to 90% since 1977, a US study finds. The losses are said to be a threat to ecosystems.

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