25 April 2008

Home to roost

Colchester Campus

Owl box installation

New designer homes are springing up at the University of Essex Colchester campus – especially for birds, bats and hedgehogs.

Nearly 200 wooden boxes are being installed around the 200 acres of parkland to sustain a diverse selection of wildlife.

To add to the partridges, rabbits, ducks, muntjac deer and even parakeets, spotted on campus, the Estate Management Section with Rob Long of Absolute Pest Control and Wildlife Management are setting up some desirable homes for a variety of species, including robins, pipestrelle bats and tawny owls.

Rob Long said: 'Robins are quite scarce at the moment and we are very lucky on campus to have 27. We are looking to attract some more and other small birds.'

While bats are on campus, Rob hopes the special boxes and the ideal food conditions around the lake will attract some more bats to move into the area also with some other nocturnal creatures, the tawny owl and little owls.

Hedgehogs are also a rarity, so 20 homes designed for the spiky creatures will soon be in situ. The installation of insect harbourages will further develop the natural food chain for wildlife on campus encouraging yet greater diversity.

'We are looking to rebalance and diversify the ecosystem,' said Rob, 'and as part of this we will be working with Mark Ager and the Grounds Maintenance staff to monitor all the homes to see who moves in.'

For further information, or for photographs, please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377.

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