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Britain Goes Wild for the birds and the bees

Category: Factual & Arts TV
Date: 23.06.2004
Printable version

The nation has been tuning in to BBC TWO in droves to follow the wild antics of badgers, foxes, and birds.

Britain Goes Wild with Bill Oddie has been the surprise hit of the season with nightly audiences of 3 million.

Now the Delia effect has taken hold, with unprecedented demand for bird boxes and bumble bee boxes being such that outlets have completely sold out.

The RSPB and leading manufacturers sold out of sparrow house terraces completely, and bumble bee boxes have become a much sought-after commodity as wildlife fans in their thousands besieged the BBC Nature message board to try and find out where to get hold of a home for this threatened species.

More are currently being made in response to demand and viewers are being encouraged to make their own boxes in the meantime.

Instructions for making bumble bee boxes can be found at

Manufacturers have also been flooded with requests for jackdaw boxes after the series featured a family of jackdaws.

Although there are currently no jackdaw boxes on the market, manufacturers are considering designing and stocking one to meet the high demand.

Over 52,000 people pledged to join the BBC's Make Space for Nature campaign.

A further 31,000 people phoned in to make a pledge. Pledges ranged from planting wildflower seeds to installing a bird box or making a compost heap.

By pledging, members of the public are promising to give time and/or money to help save our natural heritage.

Many of the audience have pledged to do far more than just one of the ideas suggested in the programme.

Over 45,000 have pledged to put up a bird box, which is great news for the nation's birds, and next year could be home to roughly a quarter of a million new baby birds across the UK.

The audiences are particularly keen to help house sparrows. Numbers have halved since the 1970s.

In London their decline has been even worse - a 75% decline since the mid 1990s.

With thousands promising to put up sparrow boxes, this decline could be reversed. One sparrow box can house up to 36 baby sparrows in a year.

Over 40,000 have pledged to put up a bird feeder. In the past decade there has been a big increase in the number of species of birds coming to feeders in our gardens from 20 to 80. As bird feeding increases further, this can only get better.

Almost half of our ponds have disappeared in the past 50 years, particularly on farmland, so every new pond, even if it's just an upturned dustbin lid, does help. Nearly 20,000 have pledged to make a pond.

And 24,000 have said they will plant a native tree.

If everyone keeps their promise this will also make a real difference to all sorts of wildlife from insects to birds.

In the UK we have 20 species of bumble bee, but three quarters of them are in trouble. 22,000 bee boxes have been pledged.

Also under threat the adder and the slow worm, with the slow worm getting a helping hand in the future with 30,000 pledging to make a woodpile or compost heap in their garden or space, which also helps hedgehogs.

The Make Space for Nature campaign will continue to run on until the autumn and there will be an update on Britain Goes Wild with Bill Oddie later in the year.

There is also a free newsletter for web visitors to sign up to that will send out reminders so viewers know the best time of year to do things for wildlife.

Fiona Pitcher, executive producer of the series, said: "We've had a fantastic response from the audience both in terms of consistently high viewing figures and the numbers who have joined our Make Space for Nature campaign.

"The messages we've been getting every night show that the audience now feels rather differently about Britain and its natural heritage.

"The UK is actually a huge home for wildlife and on a much greater scale than many realised.

"We've inspired thousands to help support our wildlife and natural heritage, and we plan to continue with this."

Notes to Editors

Britain Goes Wild with Bill Oddie ran for three weeks on BBC TWO from 31 May 2004.

It was the BBC's biggest ever, live natural history TV event, broadcasting live reports on British wildlife for three weeks (Monday to Thursday, 8.00 to 9.00pm).



Category: Factual & Arts TV
Date: 23.06.2004
Printable version


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