Wildlife Column with Prof Ian Rotherham

There is still a great deal happening in the countryside, gardens, and greenspaces in and around town.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 11:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th August 2019, 1:53 pm
Sheffield weather expert Professor Ian Rotherham.

So in my urban-fringe garden at Norton in Sheffield, just the other night I heard a roe deer barking loudly in the nearby wood.

Not far away someone photographed a roe deer in broad daylight on a street in Sheffield 8.

My barking deer was joined by the local tawny owls which I guess have got youngsters out and about. Earlier I had popped out to feed the badger, hedgehog, and fox – all in my ‘wild’ garden.


The next morning in the pouring rain I estimated between 20 and 30 assorted blue tits, great tits, and coal tits on the bird-feeders; along with a family of great spotted woodpeckers and some nuthatches.

I am quite proud of my garden though this is not intended to be a boast!

However, it makes the point that we can all change the world for the better - even if just a little.

It just shows what we as individuals can do to improve things for nature even if on a small scale.

My feeling is that ‘rewilding’, if we choose to call it that should be from an urban window-box to a remote mountain-top!

It is not just for the wide open spaces but for a different lifestyle and an approach to the world, both around us and within us.

Just think what we can do together if we each contribute our own little bit.

Finally that same afternoon in the pouring rain, as if to validate my hopes of having a positive impact on the local wildlife, ‘my’ resident moorhen from last winter reappeared.

I didn’t expect it to return after spending several months in and around my ponds but then leaving to breed on the nearby park pond in spring.

Nevertheless, I must be doing something right as it came back and spent an hour or so perched in our cherry tree. I hope in the autumn it will return fulltime. In Sheffield parlance, I was ‘dead chuffed’!

Professor Ian D. Rotherham, of Sheffield Hallam University, researcher, writer and broadcaster on wildlife and environmental issues.