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Orchards Rise show complex receives RSPB gold award

The RSPB has presented staff at a new housing development in Wichelstowe with a ‘Gold’ award for its wildlife friendly show complex gardens.

To be eligible for the Wildlife Show Garden Award, Barratt David Wilson Homes South West has included a range of features in the outdoor space at the show complex at Orchards Rise that supports and enhances nature and natural habitats. This includes external bird and bat boxes, integral bird brick and bat boxes, bee boxes, hedgehog highways and associated homes, wildflower turf, scented gardens with native hedgerow, dead wood features, water butts, compost bins and food and water for birds.

Louise Ware, sales director at Barratt David Wilson Homes South West, said: “We’ve enjoyed a unique, eight-year national partnership with the RSPB - Britain’s largest nature conservation charity - which supports and provides us with tips, advice and guidance. We’re determined to be the leading national sustainable housebuilder and we’re committed to create places where nature can thrive. As a Group, this includes hedgehog highways in our developments going forward and the aim to include 7,000 swift boxes in our developments by the end of 2025.

“We want to continue to ensure we’re doing that bit extra to retain and build upon natural habitats and the RSPB ‘Gold’ award for Orchards Rise assures new and existing buyers of our ongoing commitment to enhance biodiversity across all our developments.”

As we look forward to spring, the RSPB has top five tips that can help our feathered friends:

1. Put food and water out on a regular basis right through Spring and across the Summer. Don’t forget to keep feeders, tables and baths clean to help prevent disease and infection spreading among garden birds.

2. Adjust the quantity of food according to the demand, which may go down as weather warms. Do monitor feeders and never allow uneaten foods to build up. 

3. Create a feeding routine and try not to change it as birds will become used to it. 

4. While birds need high-energy, high-fat foods during cold weather, as Spring arrives birds will need more high-protein foods. But be careful with peanuts and only provide in rigid mesh feeders that prevent sizeable pieces being removed which could be a choking hazard to chicks. If you're serving up fat balls (available from the RSPB shop https://shopping.rspb.org.uk/), throw away any leftovers after three weeks. 

5. Nest boxes are best cleaned during Winter (you can find out how here - will hyperlink https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/helping-birds-and-wildlife#nests-and-nestboxe). If you forget don't worry - natural nest holes aren’t cleaned - and, as Spring approaches, it is best to leave nest boxes so as not to disturb the birds. Wait until the end of the nesting season and do an annual autumn clean if you've missed the window. And on the subject, do check shrubs aren't home to nesting birds before you trim back. Bushes are best cut back in Autumn.

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