How Can Litter be Dangerous to Wildlife?
We all love to visit Bennachie, but it provides shelter, food, a place to play and a place to bring up young for its wild creatures. It is HOME and means absolutely everything to the wildlife who live there.
Bennachie’s wildlife includes several rare and protected species.
A great variety of birds live on Bennachie - just to name a few, meadow pipits, robins, wrens, blue tits, long tailed tits, bull finches great spotted woodpeckers, predators like sparrow hawks, owls, buzzards and summer visitors like cuckoos, swallows, blackcaps, chiffchaffs and ospreys.
Mammals including wood mice, voles, shrews red squirrels, pine martens, badgers, foxes, roe deer and wildcats all live on the hill.
Amphibians like frogs, toads and newts, innumerable insects like moths, butterflies, bumble and solitary bees, wasps and you might have noticed a few midgies too!
When you are on Bennachie, if you're very quiet you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of these. You will most likely see and hear some of the birds.
Mostly these creatures are shy and secretive, but every single day when it is quiet, the animals are busy foraging for food. And they are HUNGRY!
In the spring and summer they will have extra mouths to feed, and in the colder days of winter, food will be scarce.
The trouble is that wildlife has no way of understanding just how dangerous our litter could be for them!
Nature is the World’s Best Recycler!
Nothing is wasted in nature! In the natural world there is an army of recyclers whose job is to turn dead plants, animals and waste into nutrients for other plants and animals to reuse.
You may not realise it but all this recycling is going on around you as you walk on Bennachie.
Lichens, mushrooms, bacteria, earthworms, beetles, wood lice and loads of others exist as nature’s recyclers.
This is all part of the web of life. Everything in the natural world is connected - this is called an ecosystem.
Producers like grass and trees make their food using energy from the sun.
Consumers get their energy by eating these green plants-they are called herbivores-like rabbits and roe deer. Other consumers are animals like wildcats and are called carnivores because they eat meat. Another group of consumers is called the omnivores, as they eat both plants and meat. Pine martens and badgers are examples of omnivores.
Decomposers like bacteria and fungi eat and recycle dead organisms and waste, turning it into nutrients, and the cycle begins all over again.
Watch the video below to learn how this works. Can you identify the producers, consumers and decomposers in this video?
This is part of the Let's Make Bennachie Litter Free! information.