Predators abound in the traditional orchard, particularly birds: tawny owls, goshawk, sparrowhawk, kestrel, merlin (in winter) and hobby (in summer, feeding on dragonflies and damselflies). There are also native polecats, stoats, hedgehogs, badgers and even otters feeding on frogs and toads in nearby ponds and ditches. These animals are natural “barometers” of the health of any ecosystem. Their abundance shows a rich biodiversity of plants and animals and complex food webs, which can support these top predators in large numbers.
Photo: Kestrel in flight