To thrive in a garden, wildlife needs food, shelter and water. All these are present in abundance at the Botanical Gardens and you might be surprised at what you can see here. The patchwork of gardens, parks and wilder areas in town are often fantastically diverse habitats compared with the industrial countryside with its hundreds of acres of the same crop. Another great advantage of the town for wildlife is the absence of pesticides.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a great place to see wildlife all year round. It is linked to wildlife corridors. There is a north-south corridor provided by the Worcester & Birmingham canal and adjacent cross-city railway line and an east-west corridor linking Edgbaston reservoir the golf course to the River Rea, Cannon Hill Park and onwards to Moseley and Highbury parks beyond. The wider ranging species seen here such as Peregrine falcon and buzzard need these large areas.
This extensive area of woodland and open space also includes large expanses of water – lakes, canals and rivers that provide great habitat for wetland species of plants, animals and birds. Water is also vital for wildlife in the smaller setting of the Botanical Gardens itself and in your own garden at home. Duck, dragonfly, frogs, newts and toads all breed in our pools and they are often visited by heron and kingfisher.
The gardens can support so much wildlife because of the mix of semi-natural areas such as the woodland walk, wetland habitat and our nature reserve and the more ornamental areas. The former provide native plants and quiet areas for breeding whilst the later are often full of food – blossom and masses of berries, which are particularly useful for insects and overwintering birds.
We also do a lot to make the gardens an attractive home for wildlife including demonstration wildlife-focused areas such as the butterfly border, by providing bird boxes and bird feeding stations. We sell a wide range of wildlife homes, food and feeders in our shop.
Wildlife is here all the time, but for the best chance of seeing something special come around opening time and in the early evening. We have naturalist sets, bug hunting kits and books in our shop, or Explorer Activity Backpacks and Trails to hire from Reception – so why not get the kids involved and see what surprises there are in your own garden at home. Or just have a look yourself, why should children have all the fun!