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Fireworks: wildlife up in smoke

Martin Aaron

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This weekend will see many official firework displays going up in smoke as Guy Fawkes night draws nearer. 

We all enjoy a good bang but please spare a thought for our native wildlife and not just the family pets (which should be kept indoors).

At night, birds will be roosting in trees and bushes and holding firework displays too close to their shelters could disturb them.

Birds also use nest boxes in winter time for roosting in, so be careful where you put your catherine wheels and avoid lighting bonfires too close to them.

Always make a quick check for hedgehogs before lighting your bonfires - especially if you've been gathering wood for it over a few weeks.

Our prickly friends been having a hard time of it in recent years, so let's give them a helping hand whenever possible.

Hedgehogs love old log piles and leaves to curl up in and sleep and could well be buried at the bottom, so have a good look before you get your matches out.

Gently remove the top layer of twigs and leaves. If you accidentally disturb a hedgehog nest, carefully replace the material. The hedgehog will either repair it or move the nest elsewhere.

If you find young in the nest, avoid touching them. Similarly, if you find a hibernating adult, avoid waking it. If you do, leave some food out for it nearby until it hibernates again.

It's also a good idea to light your fire from one side only. This gives any animals inside a chance to escape out of the other side as the fire begins to grow.

It's looking increasingly damp and unsettled for Saturday night with heavy rain in places so I'm not sure how many fires will light but wrap up warm.

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