Cloud formation above a country path

Five minutes in nature: Taking time to ‘stand and stare’

Museum Marketing Assistant Tricia Harnett writes: Since the first lockdown I have discovered a walk right behind my house which I didn’t know was so beautiful. I had walked it many times before. I had hurried round, trying to get my health app to register more km than the day before, thinking about my next task, the weekly shopping, the dinner, work….. I hadn’t really … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: Taking time to ‘stand and stare’

Swan on the river viewed through willow branches

Five Minutes in Nature: A mindful journey through art and nature

Museum Volunteer Tani Gill writes: Art and classical dance have been the core of my education and passion. In order to explain how art and nature keep me mindful and grateful for the life I have, it is important for me to remind myself of what inspired me in the early years of my life. It is these influential years that form our character and … Continue reading Five Minutes in Nature: A mindful journey through art and nature

Five minutes in nature: A river near me

Museum Volunteer Charlotte Dufferwiel writes: A short journey from the centre of Durham, the River Wear meanders through the open fields and wooded glades on the outskirts of the city. Walking along the country lane, the stubby green shoots of winter barely tentatively pop through the earth on either side. Skeletons of hogweed act as gateposts along the farmer’s fields and frozen droplets cling to … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: A river near me

Black locust tree in summer and autumn

Five minutes in nature: Certainty in trees

Museum PhD student Kate Howlett writes: As we approach having been in lockdown, in some form or other, for almost a year, I’ve come to be incredibly grateful for the gentle giants I can see through the windows of my flat—the trees. There is something comforting in watching the same trees every day for a whole year; watching them change colour through the seasons provides … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: Certainty in trees

A muntjac in the receding water

Five minutes in nature: A daily, identical photo

Assistant Director Jack Ashby writes: Like many people, since March 2020 I’ve been spending a lot of time in whatever countryside I can find near my home. When the UK government specified in those initial, strict covid lockdown guidelines that we were permitted just one hour of exercise outdoors a day, something psychological was triggered in me that made me eager to make sure I … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: A daily, identical photo

Heliconius butterfly

Exploring Chemical Signals in Butterflies

Kathy Darragh, PhD student in the Department of Zoology, writes: Due to the visual nature of humans, when we think of communication in nature, we tend to focus on things we can see. In many groups, however, other types of signals, such as chemicals, are the main form of communication. These chemical signals are harder to detect, and therefore to study, meaning they have received … Continue reading Exploring Chemical Signals in Butterflies

Redwing amongst winter berries

Our Feathered Friends

With the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch taking place from the 29-31 January, we have chosen to celebrate our fine feathered friends with a special Nature Classroom all about British birds. We will be uncovering what it is to be a bird, unfurling an amazing world of feathers, and creating a key together for common garden birds. Get your eye in by trying some of our … Continue reading Our Feathered Friends

Starling on a branch

Five Minutes in Nature: Starlings

Winter is a tough time of year, with its short days, long nights, and often overcast skies. But there is still wildlife to be enjoyed, and spending time in nature has been shown to improve wellbeing. With these posts, the team at the Museum of Zoology are sharing how they like to spend five minutes in nature and get reacquainted with the wildlife on their … Continue reading Five Minutes in Nature: Starlings

Owl pellet dissected to show the bones and fur of its prey

Owl Pellets

Museum Volunteer Ian Harvey writes: We’re all familiar with owls and for many people, they’re their favourite animal. And we know owls from literature; the owl and the pussycat, owl in Winnie the Pooh and the owls in the Harry Potter books. Owls are birds of prey or raptors meaning they feed on other animals. They have certain features making them great hunters; excellent eyesight … Continue reading Owl Pellets

Herbie the Hedgehog’s winter hidey hole

Matt Lowe, Collections Manager at the Museum of Zoology, writes: A couple of months ago my wife and I were tidying up the pots of herbs we keep next to kitchen door when we heard a shuffling noise and what sounded awfully like snoring. That was when I realised I had succeeded in giving an overwintering hedgehog a home. In 2019, not long after we … Continue reading Herbie the Hedgehog’s winter hidey hole

Startling murmuration in the sky at sunset

12 Days of Winter Wildlife: 12 Days of Critters

Throughout this week we have been sharing some amazing winter wildlife with you, and today we have joined this all up as our 12 Days of Critters. Why not download the song sheet and sing along with your new festive favourite: Find out about the 12 critters, and scroll down to learn how to make your own origami starling murmuration to decorate your home. Winter … Continue reading 12 Days of Winter Wildlife: 12 Days of Critters

Close up photograph of snowflakes

12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Surprising Winter Animals

Think of an animal of winter and what comes to mind? A robin? A swan? A snow flea? Yes, you read that right, a snow flea. This is just one of the more surprising winter animals you can find out about today on day eleven of our 12 days of winter wildlife. Scroll down for more surprising winter wildlife, and a surprise snowflake craft – … Continue reading 12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Surprising Winter Animals

Bird footprints in thin snow

12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Traces of Winter Wildlife

You may not always see the animals that visit your garden or green space, but they can leave behind evidence that they have been there. Today, on day ten of our 12 days of winter wildlife, we will be exploring the telltale traces of winter wildlife. Make a Wildlife Film Why not try capturing the wildlife in your garden by making a wildlife film? If … Continue reading 12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Traces of Winter Wildlife

Group of mallards and swans

12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Winter Water

Go to the river over the winter months and you will see swans, ducks, geese and more. For day nine of our 12 days of winter wildlife, we are celebrating all things water and waterfowl. Winter Wildlife: Water Birds Academic in the Department of Zoology, and one of our visitor engagement volunteers in the Museum, Dr Tony Fulford writes: Bodies of fresh water such as … Continue reading 12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Winter Water