April 2019 - Wildlife Den

Spring is an excellent time to watch wildlife, as many birds and mammals are often so absorbed in their preparations of finding a mate, claiming territories and rearing young, that they will occasionally drop their guard.

Why not build a hide that you can sit quietly inside or a screen that you can sit behind, to observe wildlife, without it noticing?  You may be lucky enough to see some unusual animal behaviour.

Den Kits

A structure for your hide could be a small play tent, some old chairs or a picnic table, or even some garden canes covered over with a dark blanket, an old sheet or a tarpaulin, making a space for you to sit inside. In a woodland, it could be a tree with a helpfully shaped trunk and branches that act as a frame for you to cover with brash and leaves for camouflage.

Remember to plan where you are going to position your hide.  If it is in your garden, then try to make it face towards a place where you think there will be the most wildlife activity.  This could be a well-stocked bird table, or a view towards some open countryside or a hedge.  You could set up your hide in a countryside place, such as beside a pond, a river, in a wood or field.  Try to position your hide down wind of your wildlife so that your scent isn’t blown towards them, alerting the animals to your presence. Remember to add windows or viewing slits to your hide and if possible, leave it for a day or two so that the local wildlife become familiar with it.

Once you are ready to do some wildlife watching, make sure you will be comfortable and quiet for a long wait.  Take a snack and a note pad.  A camera, binoculars and a wildlife guide book could be useful too. 

Helen Howes April 2019

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This article has been written by our lovely friend Helen, a Sustainability Consultant and Forest School Practitioner with over 30 years experience working with learners from preschooler to adult.

Helen is in her element making woodland cocktails and mud pies with both young and old, is an inspirational Forest School Leader and Outdoor Educator, and has received much positive feedback for the quality of the learning she initiates.

She will be sharing more of her favourite outdoor activities in this month-by-month blog titled “From the Forest”.