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

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

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

Waxwing perched with berries

12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Winter Visitors

You may think it gets pretty chilly here in the UK over winter, but for some animals it is a refuge from the more extreme cold further north. For day seven of our 12 days of winter wildlife, we will be exploring these winter visitors. Go on a virtual tour of the Museum’s British Bird displays and see some of the species that visit our … Continue reading 12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Winter Visitors

Photograph of a robin in a yew tree

12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Garden Birds

For day two of our 12 Days of Winter Wildlife, we are celebrating our feathered friends. Winter can be tough for birds. As the temperature drops, they need more energy to keep warm. But once the bounty of berries and seeds of the autumn is over, food can be in short supply. Provide birds with food in your garden or outdoor space and you can … Continue reading 12 Days of Winter Wildlife: Garden Birds

View of a rainforest in Costa Rica from above

We know conservation is working, but do we really know what works?

Alec Christie, PhD student in the Conservation Evidence group of the Department of Zoology writes: Go to your doctor and they’ll give you the best treatment based on the scientific evidence. So why can’t we do the same for biodiversity? Recently we’ve seen a flurry of important work highlighting the continuing decline of biodiversity, including David Attenborough’s documentary Extinction: the facts. It’s also very encouraging … Continue reading We know conservation is working, but do we really know what works?

Robin on the frosted branches of a willow

Coming Soon: 12 Days of Winter Wildlife

This year we are taking our Winter Wildlife event online. Join us for the live launch on our YouTube channel at 4.30pm on Tuesday 1 December or catch up here: Get your questions ready for a LIVE Q&A with Rob Jaques from the British Trust for Ornithology, who’ll be talking about birds and other winter wildlife, and ways you can get involved collecting important data … Continue reading Coming Soon: 12 Days of Winter Wildlife

Photograph of a ramshorn snail and two baby newts in a pond dipping tray

Pondwatch Episode 6: Summer in the Pond

Roz Wade, Learning Officer at the Museum, writes: The garden pond has been thriving over the summer, and I have loved watching the wildlife it is supporting. Since the last episode of Pondwatch I have been pond dipping several times, and found some beautiful animals living in the water. It is wonderful to see so many baby newts, from tiny, almost transparent ones without any … Continue reading Pondwatch Episode 6: Summer in the Pond

BioBlitz logo

BioBlitz 2020 at the Botanic Garden

We are excited to announce that this year’s BioBlitz will be taking place in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden from 5pm on Saturday 19 September to 5pm on Sunday 20 September. During this 24 hours we will be counting as many species as we can in the garden. You can take part by visiting the garden and adding your data to the Cambridge BioBlitz 2020 … Continue reading BioBlitz 2020 at the Botanic Garden

Tanmay with cuckoo finch

Perfect signatures and perfect forgeries

Tanmay Dixit writes: I am studying the African cuckoo finch, which as its name suggests behaves like a cuckoo: it lays its eggs in the nests of ‘host’ birds, namely warblers. The warblers have evolved to reject eggs of the cuckoo finch, which has resulted in the cuckoo finch accurately forging the complex patterns (‘signatures’) of their hosts. How should hosts respond? I am trying … Continue reading Perfect signatures and perfect forgeries

Parasitic finches mimic their hosts to deceive foster parents

Gabriel Jamie writes: Research recently published in the journal Evolution shows that the nestlings of brood-parasitic finches mimic the appearance, sound and movements of their host’s chicks. Working in the savannas of Zambia, Dr Gabriel Jamie and a team of international collaborators collected images, sounds and videos over four years to demonstrate this striking and highly specialised form of mimicry. The study, funded by The … Continue reading Parasitic finches mimic their hosts to deceive foster parents

Barn owl close up

Owls

Did you know it was International Owl Awareness Day on Tuesday 4 August? To celebrate this week, here are some of the owls you might be lucky enough to see in the UK. These are truly fascinating animals, with some amazing adaptations for their way of life. So let’s go explore these night-time wonders… Silent Flight Have you every listened to the sound of a … Continue reading Owls