The power of nature during lockdown
With one tweet, Catherine captured how many of us feel about nature at this difficult time:
“Spending time in nature for #BigWildSleepout helps me stay kind to myself. A cheeky squirrel has raised several smiles & I can’t help but laugh at the epic death stares I was getting from the dunnocks tonight!”
Nature surprises us and cheers us, lifting us out of our own mind and reminding us how beautiful and unpredictable the natural world is. When Catherine woke up that day, she probably didn’t think she’d be getting the evil eye from a dunnock!
The importance of nature in our lives has become even more evident during the pandemic. Since lockdown began, the RSPB has seen a flood of new visitors to their website, with more and more people asking for help to identify birds. For many, the nature on their doorstep has become one of the major sources of joy and excitement in their lives during lockdown.
Bringing in the great outdoors
The pandemic has forced many nature reserves to close, so the RSPB decided to bring nature to the people through digital. One way is the #BigWildSleepout.
While the RSPB usually holds a Big Wild Sleepout every year, encouraging families to spend a night immersed in the sounds and smells of nature, this year it went digital. The online version included fun live quizzes, tips on how to identify what falls from a tree when you shake it and ‘whose poo’ you might find, and even campfire stories and songs.
The RSPB also started #BreakfastBirdwatch in late March, a nature appreciation hour where the RSPB takes to Twitter from 8-9am every day to encourage people to share pictures of the natural world around them.
By the end of April, the hashtag had been used about 25,000 times, with video footage from nests and ponds (including a tawny owl taking a 3am bath), photos from walks (a particularly cute vole was spotted hiding under a nettle patch), and new sightings from their own gardens.
When Dr Amir Khan, a GP, saw two red kites land in his garden he excitedly tweeted: “We often get Red Kites flying overhead but I’ve never seen them land before! Such a beautiful pair with their grey/blue and red plumage! Honestly, this has made my day! I’m going to name them Alison and Marcus!”
And the wonderful thing about nature is that you don’t need to be a birder or a self-proclaimed nature nerd to revel in it. Even without knowing that the swifts screaming around the houses have come all the way from Africa, you can still marvel at their ability to spin and turn on a sixpence, and you don’t need to be able to identify a butterfly to be transfixed by its colourful wings as it dances from bush to bush.
Giving nature a home
Fifty years ago, the UK had 40 million more birds than it has today.
By reaching out to people and fostering their love of nature, the RSPB can help them to take those little steps that can make a huge difference – even putting out an upturned bin lid can be a vital water source for a thirsty bird.
The RSPB also continues to give nature a voice across the country and abroad: fighting for nature-friendly Brexit agreements; showing fisherman around the world how to prevent catching albatrosses in their nets; and demonstrating how farming can be good for both the planet and people, to name just a few.
None of this would be possible without the amazing members, supporters, volunteers and staff, so the RSPB would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has helped to give nature a home.
Find out more
For ideas on how you can give nature a home during lockdown, and to find out more about RSPB, please visit visit the RSPB website.