Monday, 5 January 2015

Busy Times for Berks Dormice


Photo
©Rob Strachan WildCRU

 

Happy New Year Everyone!!


The dormouse is a small, nocturnal mammal weighing in at 30g. For a large part of the year (6 months or more), they hibernate in nests on or under the ground. Dormice spend most of their active time high off the ground in tree canopies and not just in hazel woods, they have been found in pine-dominated commercial forests and in people’s greenhouses and allotments!

Dormouse numbers are estimated to have halved in the last 100 years, with the majority of remaining populations occurring in southern England. The main reasons for this decline appear to be linked to the loss and fragmentation of ancient woodlands, reduction in woodland management practices and, more recently, climate change. Berkshire is just on the edge of this range with what appears to be a correlated lowering of numbers.
My name is Amanda Lloyd, I am a mammal ecologist and will be leading and organising the dormouse surveys in the coming months. Currently we have 4 sites with dormouse boxes in place, one site was checked in November for dormice and 3 nests were found in the boxes, which is great news and I am looking forward to finding the actual animal (maybe more than one!) in question in spring. 
 
This year the dormouse surveys (as part of the National DormouseMonitoring Programme) will truly commence but first we need to ascertain the state the boxes are in and repair any old un-useable ones. Thanks to membership fees we have been able to purchase 50 new shiny boxes that will be used to replace any old and worn-out boxes.

 Some of our new boxes


Photo: Amanda Lloyd

So as you can see busy times ahead and any help whether that be in the form of providing dormouse sightings or actively volunteering your time with box checks or “nut-hunts” is all appreciated and a nice way to spend a day out in the countryside! If you do want to get involved please email: dormice.bmg@gmail.com
 
Photo
©Rob Strachan WildCRU

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