Wildlife at Fountains Abbey

A Great Tit chick has just been ringed

See butterflies fluttering through the herb garden, birds swooping through the grounds and feeding at the bird hide. Find deer throughout Studley Royal deer park and learn more about the Skell project.

Bird ringing

Nest box checking and bird-ringing has been going on throughout May and now into June. This is to record which birds are breeding in the area and to contribute to an overall understanding of bird population numbers across the country.  This means looking at whether birds’ clutch sizes are changing, if all the eggs successfully hatch and whether all the chicks leave the nest (known as fledging).

Through gathering all this information, scientists now know that there are certain species of birds which lay their eggs earlier than they did in the 1960s

" Did you know that a lot of bird species can be ringed when they're only 1-2 weeks old because their legs stay the same size through to adulthood."
- Wildlife team at Fountains Abbey


The wildlife team ringing a Great Tit chick
The wildlife team ringing a Great Tit chick
The wildlife team ringing a Great Tit chick

Looking after the birds in the UK

When it comes to bird conservation there are three different grades to tell you how their populations are doing in  the UK. It's a traffic light system: red, orange and green.

  • Green means they're successfully breeding and doing well
  • Amber means they're not thriving but numbers are currently ticking along
  • Red means that they're really struggling.

We're very excited that we have some Marsh Tits nesting on the estate, which are currently in the red conservation band. Keep your eyes peeled and you might see the fledglings around the site in the coming month.

Marsh Tit chicks snuggled up in their nest box
Marsh Tit chicks in their nest box
Marsh Tit chicks snuggled up in their nest box

Birds you can often spot include:

  • Goldfinches
  • Blue tits
  • Jackdaws the great spotted woodpecker
  • The green woodpecker in Studley Royal deer park
  • Song thrush
  • Hawfinch (through January and February 2018)
  • Geese
  • Swans
The Great Spotted Woodpecker is a frequent visitor to the bird hide at Fountains Abbey
The Great Spotted Woodpecker is a frequent visitor to the bird hide at Fountains Abbey
The Great Spotted Woodpecker is a frequent visitor to the bird hide at Fountains Abbey

The Skell project

The river Skell runs through the grounds of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. When we get very wet weather the Skell is notorious for flooding, damaging habitats up and down river, farm land and devastating this World Heritage Site. Find out below about what we can do to stop this and make the river Skell a thriving place for both wildlife and local communities.

Prickly pals

Far too often we find hedgehogs on the estate in the day time. This is a sure sign that the hedgehog is ill and needs some help. If you spot one out in the day then be sure to let a member of staff know so we can come and rescue it. Read about our successful release of hedgehogs rescued in 2017 (and some more information about these wonderful little critters) below.

The deer

Can you spot the deer in Studley Royal deer park. It's full up with 300 wild deer going about their daily business of grazing, sleeping and doing whatever it is that deer like to do.

Throughout June and July they will be starting to give birth so you may see the young while out and about. The mother deer like to leave their young in a nice shady spot to rest so it's perfectly normal to see a fawn or calf relaxing on their own.

A mother and her young in Studley Royal deer park
A mother leads her young through Studley Royal deer park
A mother and her young in Studley Royal deer park

Find out all about the three different types of deer you can see in the park below.

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