When the nights get longer and the temperature drops we all want to get home, snuggle up and keep warm. But, not everyone has that luxury and our wildlife are struggling too. That is why this Christmas we are supporting Migration, Hibernation and Refugees.
Every year we see birds migrating in and out of the British isles. The Swallow is one of our most familiar migrant birds. Swallows feed as they fly, so there is no need for them to feed up and store energy before setting off on their momentous journey. Due to climate change and recent warm winters, small numbers of Swallows have tried to survive in southern England! Most of these tiny birds, weighing less than just 20g, will cross seas and the whole of the African continent to make it to South Africa, where they can feast on a Christmas dinner for insects. Protecting habitats and insect numbers for birds like the Swallows is vital for their survival and so they can make the journey home for Christmas.
Not all animals can leave the British isles to get home for Christmas. To survive the cold, wet and lack of food over the winter, lots of animals in Britain have evolved to hibernate.
Hedgehogs will slow their heartbeat down from 190 beats per minute to just 20 beats per minute when they hibernate, and their body temperature will drop from 35˚C to just 10˚C
There are now less than a million wild hedgehogs left in the UK according to a new study by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Before going into hibernation, animals will have to eat and eat and eat! They do this to make themselves as fat as possible before hibernating, ensuring they have enough energy to survive until the spring. Supporting hibernating animals means supporting their food sources so that they can survive the winter until spring.
We all like to get together with friends and family, connecting with our community in the winter, but for 70.8 million people that have been displaced since 2018. There is a refugee crisis due to conflict and climate change, which is why we are looking to help them this winter.
This Christmas when you are making your journey to the see friends and family, take a moment to think of the those that migrate and hibernate over the colder months, seeking refuge from the cold.