We have an amazing array of wildlife in the parks, including several species of bats, free roaming deer, rare invertebrates, grass snakes and great crested newts.
We want visitors to help nature thrive in the parks by observing wildlife in its natural habitat, rather than seeking an up-close-and-personal encounter.
By not feeding or touching wildlife, visitors can help protect their natural way of life, and in turn experience a deeper connection with nature.
So instead of feeding, we are offering some alternative ways to enjoy the parks’ flora and fauna. We have created bird spotter sheets brimming with fascinating facts for each of the parks, along with self-led wildlife trails.
The parks are a natural source of food
There is lots of natural food in the parks for wildlife, including insects, wildflower seeds, aquatic plants and grasses. These natural food sources offer wildlife a nutritious, balanced diet all year round that doesn't need to be supplemented by public feeding.
We proactively manage the parks to help nature thrive, as set out in our 10-year Biodiversity Framework. Some examples include creating and managing wildflower meadows and reedbeds, planting new trees, and restoring ponds for invertebrates and amphibians. As well as creating resilient habitats that benefit biodiversity, these measures boost the natural supply of food available for wildlife in the parks.
Why can feeding be harmful?
The Royal Parks are some of the busiest parks in the country, and the amount of feeding that is taking place is doing more harm than good, upsetting the delicate ecosystem.
Excessive feeding causes problems because:
- Water quality can be reduced through uneaten soggy bread and faeces from large numbers of waterfowl. Reduced water quality can harm aquatic wildlife
- Feeding can encourage large groups of gulls and crows. They bully other birds, stealing their eggs and killing their chicks
- Leftover food can attract rats
- Feeding attracts large numbers of waterfowl, which leads to overcrowding and stress, and helps wildlife diseases spread.
What can I do instead of feeding wildlife?
Instead of feeding wildlife, we are encouraging visitors to deepen their connection with nature by learning about it. We have created bird spotter sheets for each of the parks, along with wildlife trails for people to explore at their leisure.
The Royal Parks are brimming with birdlife, with most parks recording over 100 species. Look out for the green woodpecker flitting amongst the anthills in Richmond Park, the melodic song thrush in Greenwich Park, and the goldcrest in St James’s Park – the UK’s smallest bird. Remember to observe these birds from afar, and not to feed or attempt to touch them.
We’ve created a series of self-guided nature walks across five of the central Royal Parks. Available as smartphone-led walks or downloadable PDF maps, visitors can choose from short walks developed for pre-schoolers to more in-depth ecology walks that take in many of the parks’ habitats, from woodlands to meadows and reedbeds. The app also informs visitors about some of the invertebrates, birds and mammals they might be able to spot along the way.
If you can’t make it to one of the Royal Parks, we have also created a wealth of resources that can help you learn about and care for nature at home. Find out which pollinator friendly plants would look lovely on your windowsill, balcony or garden, or learn about the anatomy of beetles with our team.