Friday, 25 September 2009

Something ugly for the weekend

Sorry, I may shamelessly upset you with this post. Pre blog I was completely ignorant on this. Hedgehog searches bring many visitors to my blog so I feel perhaps I should highlight images that shocked and upset me this morning… for the sake of these endangered wild animals.

To help power through a growing ironing pile this week I had recorded a television series link on the programme Animal 24:7 about animal welfare both wild and domestic. Today whilst ironing/watching one of the recordings a hedgehog story came up.

Hedgehogs do enjoy wandering through the undergrowth of plants especially long grasses as you can see in the video below previously shown on my blog back at the beginning of August.





As mentioned in a recent posting long grasses and wild areas in our gardens can be the habitat for a number of wild animals including hedgehogs. For the most part we’d never know they were there as they can be so very well camouflaged. Does this matter, I hear you say… oh yes, very much so.

As garden strimmers move out from the dark corners of shed and garages over the weekend my heart goes out to the harm and death they can cause to this wonderful wild visitor to my garden that I have become so fond of.


There are campaigns against the use of garden strimmers and after seeing the images today on television and on looking at the one at the end of this posting you can see why I would support this.

On the other hand, I can appreciate that wildflower meadows that support many species of bees and insects survive now due to a regime of being cut down on a yearly basis and in many cases with strimmers.

What is the answer there? On a large scale… I don’t know, but in our gardens I can see one immediate solution if a strimmer has to be used. A full check of the area for any wildlife prior to using a garden strimmer would perhaps save injuries and lives. If you are in any doubt, sorry if this upsets you, please look at the images below.

The first photo shows a visit from a healthy hedgehog to my garden earlier in the summer. Notice its lovely shiny dark nose.



The next poster image shows a quite different nose on a hedgehog. Part of this hedgehog’s nose has been cut off completely by a garden strimmer. At guess this hedgehog was a youngster in the nest and was taken completely by surprise. That is quite horrific to think about isn't it?



Hedgehogs when in danger don’t run away but instead curl up into a ball. The other images on this poster show how parts of a hedgehog’s body was sliced. It was images of this on the programme today on live hedgehogs that have prompted this posting. The one that had its back sliced sadly died. I do apologise if this has upset you.

Today, I had planned some pretty photos of birds from my garden but I just couldn't let this go. I have felt quite strongly that I should make others aware of this too.

Here's a shocking end to this tale... I have a strimmer in a corner in my garden shed! I should say I haven't used it for a number of years. In my defence, I have only ever used it as a means of trimming the edge of my lawn and not in any long grass. However... perhaps a frog or toad has been hiding there!

This weekend I intend doing ‘one thing for nature’… my garden strimmer which is tucked in the corner of my shed is going to see the light of day! It will get but a brief outing… it will then meet with its own ending via my husband's 12lbs hammer. I can’t just throw it out for fear of it being used again and harming wildife. After seeing these images I can't bear to see it in my shed anymore.

On a quite different piece of wildlife news I am absolutely thrilled that shirls gardenwatch has made it to the final few nominees in the category of 'Best Gardening For Wildlife Blog' in the 2009 Blotanical Awards. The blogs entered are worldwide and I am well chuffed!

Update Sunday: Sorry I missed this on posting, perhaps you might like to browse the other finalists in this category... some I knew others I didn’t... all definitely worth a look :-)

GARY’S GARDEN
TERRA FARMER
THE URBAN GARDENER
ELEPHANT’S EYE

Being completely honest,
although this is a competition any blog that supports wildlife and gets a wider audience just by being on this list is fantastic.

Each Blotanist could chose up to three categories where they would like there blog to be included. There are a number of more general categories like country/region too that all blogs are included in. A quick count through the regions has revealed a staggering 1703 blogs... Gosh, Blotanical really is growing! All categories drop down to a final five. I am just thrilled that this wildlife category exisits this year! Oh yes… good luck to all my fellow finalists :-D

I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering new blogs whist voting this morning. Here’s one that caught my eye and has been instantly added to my blog list…
Great Stems. It is listed in 'Best Blog Design' but I would have expected it to come in the wildife category too.

Many thanks to all who have nominated me for this award and for that of 'Most User-Friendly Blog' which I am also very thrilled about. I am always tweaking thing in the hope that visitors find what they are interested in.

Being from the UK, I would love to promote the final five here… just in case you’ve never come across them. A very worthy bunch too! Wonderfully quite a few have met too. It will be a close competition here :-)

VICTORIA’S BACKYARD
THE GALLOPING GARDENER
AN ARTIST’S GARDEN
BLOGGING FROM BLACKPITS GARDEN
VEG PLOTTING

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish good luck to all nominees in all categories from all parts of the world. Voting closes in just a few days. A busy time for Stuart and his team at Blotanical!

I do know this is rather a bitter sweet posting to set you off on your weekend but please understand my thoughts are for the hedgehogs when they are already on the endangered list. I cannot bear to think that as gardeners we could harm them… they are our friends.

Please do enjoy your garden and its wildife this weekend.

The poster and images above came from the Epping Forest Strimmer Campaign. Support their petition here.

39 comments:

Gail said...

Shirl, That is a horrible thing to happen to any critter. I never thought of checking to see what might be hiding in the undergrowth here at C&L~~no hedgehogs, but maybe some other innocent creature. Thank you for the public service announcement.

Congrats on your nominations! You are a champion of wildlife and I so appreciate you. Good luck! Gail

shirl said...

Hi again Gail, I completely agree and especially when this one is the gardeners friend!

Funnily enough I had a comment recently re using a lawnmower too where a frog would hop out of the way. This is one of these cases of not thinking about something until it’s brought to your attention (the TV programme this morning) and then you can’t see why you didn’t think of it before. I never, ever thought a hedgehog could lose part of its nose… just awful.

Thank-you! I need to complete my Blotanical voting form and I see you have three nominations yourself including ‘Garden Blog of the Year’! Many Congrats to you… very well deserved :-D

Wishing you a great weekend :-D

Gigibird said...

I think a general awareness is needed when doing anything in the garden.
And there are a lot of people who just aren't aware of anything! let alone small vunerable animals.
My husband does use a strimmer to do the edges but he checks before he strims....

Daffodil Planter said...

My stomach hurts now. But thank you for broadcasting this important information! Who knew?

I was delighted by your well-deserved nominations, Shirl, and wish you good luck.

The Galloping Gardener said...

Love the hedgehog pictures and thanks for your support - good luck to you too - we're all right behind you.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The poor little hedgehogs. What a brutal way to be handled. I do use a string trimmer but usually around sidewalks etc. I don't have much big grass. What big grass I have has to have a hedge trimmer to do it any good. This makes me think I will be taking a closer look when I trim.

shirl said...

Hi again everyone, Looking back on this posting this morning (Sunday) I can see it has come over quite strong. My OH did think the poster image was perhaps too much.

In all honesty my intention is never to preach on issues. However, if I feel something had moved me enough to post on it like this I hope my visitors will understand.

The balance in blogging strong opinions is really at the discretion of the blogger I guess. I write about what I feel/do but don’t see this ever as a case of do as I do. I intend destroying my garden strimmer as that is something I personally wish to do now.

Meredith/Great Stems said...

Shirl, thank you for this post. I'm horrified at the harm garden strimmers can do. Thank you for getting the word out to help protect hedgehogs and other wildlife!

Also, thank you so much for visiting my blog today and for bringing it to light in your post. I'm honored beyond measure, Shirl. I'm so glad we've found each other's blogs, and I am right now adding yours to my list, too!

shirl said...

Hi again Gigibird, I completely agree. Awareness is the answer. As you’ve said, not everyone uses a strimmer without due care and attention. That is why I would never dream of saying all strimmer work is careless.

This afternoon we are about to (little later this year) start our annual trim of our leylandii hedge. They also get bad press…. once again not everyone leaves their growth unchecked and out of control. We never planted this hedge but we do maintain it… and it’s a big job :-D

shirl said...

Hi again DP – Sorry :-( I certainly had never seen this before. I couldn’t let this go without mentioning it :-)

Thanks for your good wishes this is great fun… I haven’t completed my voting as I’m browsing the other nominees as I go :-)

WOW… well done you for making into not just your own region (Best California Blog) but into the final five for Garden Blog of the Year!! All the very best… well deserved :-D

Meredith/Great Stems said...

Regarding your comment about the strength of your post -- well, the garden strimmer is an issue that warranted some major eye-opening. The poster, while very hard to look at because of the injuries that poor little hedgehog endured, really gets the message across. Your passion for wildlife is clear, and this is a very powerful post. I do the same thing -- something serious moves me to post, and then I wonder whether I've come across too strong. But a garden blog isn't just about pretty pictures -- it's about what is important to you, and your post really moved me.

And I meant to add a congratulations on my previous comment, so I'll add it here. Congrats on your nominations -- they are so very well deserved. As Gail put it, you are a champion of wildlife!

shirl said...

Hi again Galloping Gardener – Yes, the photo from my garden is one of my fav hedgehog pics.

You are most welcome… thanks for your good wishes too. These awards are great fun aren’t they :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Lisa – They really are a sorry sight aren’t they? As Gigibird above said… awareness is they key. I had no idea this harm could be done either. Great to hear you will be on the lookout now too :-D

shirl said...

Hello there Meredith, great to meet up with you too! I look forward to following your blog. I feel we will have lots to chat about in the future :-D

Thanks so much for your comments. Through my initial browsing through your blog I could very quickly see that you are passionate about wildlife. You are most welcome for the mention. I do hope my visitors wander across to your plot :-D

I particularly appreciate you taking time to add a second and supportive comment. We were out all day yesterday on a Uni Open Day with my youngest daughter and I looked at this with different eyes this morning.

However, I do still feel the same strong emotion on this and it is great to hear that you would post in a similar way too.

Oh… I should say I’ve posted my share of less than pretty photos which include hedgehog droppings, New Zealand Flatworms, Birds suffering from the finch disease trichomoniasis as well as video of Blue tit chicks in our camera nestbox who didn’t survive.

Gosh… what can I say? Thanks so much for your very generous comments re the awards. Have a great day… I must go now… I’ve a date with a hedge ;-)

Robin Wrenn in Portland Oregon said...

So many people just don't realize the danger we can do to the "silent majority" of wildlife. While I really dislike having to view these pictures I hope they do help in some way. There's a city "wildlife refuge" near me that makes a practice every late summer of mowing the verges with a large riding mower - the damage seems too horrific for me for a "wildlife refuge" but I was actually laughed at at their meeting by the "experts" for my concern for the small mammals and insects and snakes.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Oh dear Shirl, this is so sad to read, and I cringed when I saw the photos! Despite being gruesome they are an example of what can happen when unsuspecting people use these 'tools'...therefore, I'm certain you've changed more than one person's behavior for the better!

Congrat's on your nomination, because I do feel that you deserve it;-) I've been a huge fan ever since I found your blog...I'm just sorry I don't stop by more often. I'm planning to change all of that come colder weather, when I can curl up w/the computer and go garden-blog-hopping!

Good luck;-)

shirl said...

Hello Robin, exactly my thoughts too. Yes, a variety of machinery will be used to clear ‘wildlife’ areas which will also be full of insects. Some perhaps have laid eggs like butterflies. I guess it’s a balance of some sort where more insect/reptile species will survive if these areas are ‘managed’. Laughing at you was not warranted :-o

shirl said...

Hi again Jan, sorry, so did I. However it was seeing them for ‘real’ in the television programme where the vet was trying to clean up a wound that really compelled me to show this image. The hedgehog in the programme didn’t survive.

Thanks Jan, if this posting makes just a few people look through an area before clearing it then it has been worth the pain that wildlife lovers have had when scrolling down and coming across these images. It also may just save the lives of a few ‘invisibles’ in our gardens :-D

Thanks, I was well chuffed with the nominations. Thanks once again for your good wishes and very generous comments today and on the many occasions you have left them :-D

I know what you mean about blogging being easier over the winter months. My browsing time is short at this time of year too... especially so for this summer.

Congrats to you too, I see you have made it to the final few from Virginia… well done you! All the best :-D

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Shirl - please don't ever feel like you need to apologise for posting things like this - it's essential people realise the dangers of using machinery in the garden - I wish they realised the impact they had when using all those slug pellets and insecticides and pesticides - it's terrible in France - one of the reasons I'm sure that we never see Hedgehogs around here for very long. Do take care and congratulations on your blog award... well deserved! Have a good week Miranda x

shirl said...

Hi again Miranda, thanks for your support. I have to say although I have gardened since this age of ten since writing this blog there have been so many things I never considered myself. This is one.

You are completely right about the slug pellets too. I will be honest and say I have used them occasionally in the past (a very long time ago) but when my daughters were born and running around the garden I stopped using them. I would always cringe when I saw those blue dots around people’s gardens at that time thinking about small children. I never gave a thought to the wildlife. Awareness is the key as with most things… then you cringe that you never thought of it!

Sorry to hear about your hogs as I remember you saying you had been hearing them about in a woodland when out walking your dog. Yes, insecticides and pesticides are another thing, then there is pollution in rivers and the list goes on doesn’t it. I guess I’ve opened a can of worms here! Mm… the hedgehogs would be happy if I did ;-)

Thanks, these awards are fun when it’s other blotanists that you know doing the voting. Everyone is browsing around the blogs chatting too which is great :-D

Wishing you a great week too :-D

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Shirl - It is the time of year that we do have to check for wildlife - and as your images show - hedgehogs are very much at risk.

Could I also add here - if you have garden bonfires - check before lighting and turning a compost heap with a pitchfork can also be a bit harsh for wildlife that may be in there.

Many congratulations on your two nominations well deserved and thank you for the mention

K
xx

Radka said...

Hello. You have very nice blog. Your photos are amazing. Also like to take pictures. But I am an amateur photographer. I take pictures like, just for fun and joy. Have a nice day, Radka.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Hello Shirl,what a terrible thing to happen. I was disturbed by the poster image ...but the hedgehogs in your garden are lovely!


Congrats on your nominations and thank you for mentioning my blog as well. I haven't been here before but it's very interesting and I'll be back. All the best!!

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Hi again Shirl, it makes me happy to stop by to say congratulations on your Blotanical award!! You really do deserve it;-)

patientgardener said...

Congrats on your award, you definately had my vote

Joe said...

Hi Shirl,

Great video, and lots to think about here. We used to use a strimmer in our garden, but it broke a few years ago. Looking at that poster, i'm glad it broke!

We usually check the edges of our lawn for any wildlife before we mow the lawn just to make sure we aren't harming anything.

Sunita said...

Oh, that's horrible! I've never seen or heard of strimmers before (yeah, I know ... we make do without a lot of gadgets in India. Now I think that's possibly a great thing)and seeing this post, I dont think I ever want to.

Now you've made me go off-track. I came over to congratulate you on your win and found this.
Congratulations, Shirl. Now I see why you're the best Wildlife in the garden blogger! You're doing a great thing by making everyone aware .

Kanak Hagjer said...

Shirl, congratulations on a well-deserved win!!

shirl said...

Hi again Karen, yes I agree it is. Thanks for bringing up bonfires here too. I considered adding it but felt I’d perhaps taken this posting far enough :-o

I have to say I never though about the turning of compost heaps prob as I have a small plastic lidded one that I hardly touch… not good at growing compost! Once again, thanks for raising this too :-D

Thank-you, I was chuffed and Congrats to you too on yours and being the winner of ‘Best Garden Art Blog’… very well deserved! Hope you had a great time last weekend and wishing you a good one ahead :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Radka , thank-you for stopping by and for your very generous comments :-D

I’ve just popped by your blog and you’ve some very interesting images there. Yes, it is fun taking photos and I do wish I had more time to experiment to a further level on montages :-)

Thank-you, wishing you a good weekend :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Kanak, it was… especially the images I saw on television showing the hedgehogs alive, and as the vet said, in pain :-(

I’m sorry that you were disturbed by the images. I am guessing many of my regular visitors used to quite different stories of hedgehog visits to my garden were too as unusually they haven’t commented.

These images did disturb me too but for the sake of the hedgehog I couldn’t shy away from this.

Thank-you for your good wishes in the Blotanical Awards and for returning back this morning with a further comment today. I was absolutely chuffed to bits that my fellow bloggers thought my blog worthy to win... thank-you!

Wishing you a great weekend :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Jan and Helen :-D

Jan – Thank-you… you beat me to it! I was heading over to you later to wish you Congrats on ‘Best Virginia Blog’ too! What fun this has been hasn’t it? Wishing you a great weekend :-D

Helen – Thank-you… and you had mine!! Congrats to you for ‘Best Urban Blog’ … well deserved. Unfortunately, like Jan, you beat me in getting over to you! Wishing you a great weekend :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Joe, thanks, that was a fun video to edit :-D

Yes, I suspect there are many broken strimmers in sheds. Come to think of it mine may actually be broken too. I have never used it in a long time.

Yes, seeing the images on TV of ‘real’ hedgehogs made me think exactly the same. Checking lawn edges I never considered either until John mentioned the possibility of frogs being there.

You could say it’s a wild world out there and we probably don’t know half of it! Wishing you a great weekend :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Sunita, yes it was and sadly does happen.

Yes, there is something to be said for basic tools although I did consider that prior to the strimmers larger areas would be cut down with scythes and that probably did a lot of harm too. Checking the area for small mammals and reptiles is the answer but perhaps not always a practical option.

Many thanks for popping by with Congrats on the Awards… I appreciate your visit. I have to say I don’t always have such dramatic postings but I do tell tales of woe with wildlife in the same way I’d tell of happy ones.

Nice to meet you… wishing you a great weekend :-D

Juliet said...

Well done for bringing this to people's attention, Shirl. A couple of years ago a friend who used to run a gardening club at her daughter's primary school went into their wildlife garden with a group of children, only to discover that the school's groundsmen (who had already seriously damaged the plants in the garden on two previous occasions and been firmly told they were not allowed in there) had been in it again and strimmed a hedgehog to death :( I found the petition and we signed it then. The Epping forest site has a list of other dangers to hedgehogs found in people's gardens too.

Juliet said...

PS Forgot to say - congratulations on your well-deserved win!

shirl said...

Hi again Juliet, thanks I do hope this saves even just a few hedgehogs lives.

Thanks too for sharing your story and the links. I can only imagine how awful that incident must have been for the children and parents as well as the poor hedgehog itself.

Gosh… on looking through your link it can be seen how many disturbing ways a hedgehog can be harmed and actually die. Disturbing too, the ratio of incidents caused by people where they could easily be avoided. Oh… but that firework injury image… poor thing and to think it is possible this sort of injury could be deliberate :-(

Thanks for your congrats… I was absolutely thrilled! Wishing you a great weekend… we’re set for a windy one :-o

garden girl said...

Shirl, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I would have never imagined such a thing.

The image and just the thought of something so awful happening to an innocent creature in the name of a manicured garden or lawn is shocking. But it's a reality, and it's important to get the word out. You've done a great service with this post. Thank you.

shirl said...

Hi again garden girl, I have to say I wouldn’t have either. I had heard strimmers could possibly cause injuries to hedgehogs but I had no idea what they were until now.

Thanks, I do hope this has helped a few. I couldn’t leave this unsaid after seeing the poor animals on my television screen.