The Village Wildlife.
Most people who know me will know how passionate I am about history and the environment along with our local wildlife and especially wild birds, after been brought up on a farm I got to understand many things about wild animals and not only what their requirements are but also what they can bring to our community, after studying many species of wildlife and wild birds over many years it has lead me to feel very passionate about saving their natural habitat and whatever I can do to help them survive in our sometimes cruel world.
Bailiff Bridge and its surrounding areas was a great place for wildlife and as a kid I remember seeing many now endangered species and some which are now extinct, over the last 40 years of so the wildlife natural habitat has got smaller and smaller with the human population getting bigger and bigger bringing new and sometimes fatal results to the wildlife population.
Like many British towns and villages Bailiff Bridge has not been kind to the wildlife and especially in the last ten or twenty years or so the wildlife of Bailiff has been devastated with all the changers and in particular the demolition of the mills and factories along with losing a large dam and vast amounts of green land and hundreds if not thousands of trees and shrubs which were removed to make way for hundreds if not thousands of houses along with their concrete & Tarmac roads, paths, drives and patios, while it is still great to see a small bird hopping around the garden or a hedgehog or frog crossing the road you really have to look at the bigger picture to see if the wildlife is surviving in Bailiff Bridge, by putting out a dish of peanuts or seed, although this is really helpful for most wildlife this is not the only factor in having a happy and sustainable wildlife, any kind of wildlife you see out there may have dozens of other factors that makes this wildlife you have just seen ‘survive’ in Bailiff Bridge, it all starts with micro organism that is much too small to see with the naked eye but just as vital as a small fly is to a Kingfisher or larger fish and without this the true wildlife of Bailiff Bridge and indeed the world could never survive.
I grew up living and working in Elland on a farm and spent many years along side of nature with all types of wildlife as well as domestic animals, looking back to these happier years some of these disasters that changed and devastated our wildlife have not always been brought about by peoples self actions and at times greedy actions, in the late 60’s I remember the so called ‘Do Gooders’ who at the time were taking actions against intensive farming and as they said cruelty to animals who took it on themselves to release caged animals and in Elland along with many other towns and villages including Bailiff Bridge released Battery Hens, Minks, Chinchillas and many more leaving us with disasters and long term effects, in Elland there was a large mink farm, dozens of egg producing farms and and other caged animals, these do gooders came on one night and let thousands of animals loose, Fox’s, Dogs, Cats and even cars killed some, many were recaptured, but even today we are still seeing the after effect to our wildlife, the Mink and Chinchilla Killed everything they could as it was in their nature as a natural predator to ‘KILL’ although this included rats and mice it also included cats, birds and other domesticated pets and animals. The mink also interbred with Stoat’s and wiped out some of our native wildlife and these hi bred Mink still can be found today domineering our local streams and waterways.
The wildlife ecological survival chain is a very long chain and is a little more than most people think of a pecking order of the bigger takes the smaller to survive, but this is just one of the final links in this very long chain all this micro living matter that you cannot see are just as vital in this long chain as the fly the fish ate and a lot of this is to do with bacteria and many types of virus and hundreds of other vital factors that help stop disease and poisoning using natural inbuilt friendly germs, antibodies, etc.
As previously mentioned the wildlife of Bailiff Bridge was devastated and at one point it looked like wildlife in the village would never return, in the last few years thanks to many people in Bailiff who have been doing their bit in feeding the wildlife, cleaning the stream and planting wildlife friendly plants, although the wildlife has not returned to its past level we have now got an acceptable level of wildlife in the village. The stream is now almost self sufficient with lots of Crustaceans, Crayfish, Scrimps, Beetles and other insects making rich pickings for the Fish, Kingfishers, Ducks, Dippers, Gray Wagtails, Herons, Stoats, Mink and there are even reports of seeing a beaver? (Make of this what you want).
Around the playing fields and beyond we have a fantastic source of natural wildlife micro living matter right up to many rare and unusual animals and creatures including Deer, Newts, Bats, Frogs, Bees, Butterflies, Rabbits, etc. Along with this is some amazing bird’s including an assortment of Crows, Finches, Sparrows, Robins, Starlings, Blackbirds, Wrens, etc. Along with vital plants and flowers In fact along the edges of streams and fields are some of the most vital areas in Bailiff Bridge in helping to keep this essential chain and helping to sustain the wildlife in the village.
The wildlife in Bailiff Bridge is still very fragile and we must protect this land so our children and their children can see the wildlife in Bailiff and not so they have to look in a picture book to see what a Kingfisher or Crested Newt use to look like.
They keep trying to spoil and take away this last remaining public open green land and vital area for the survival of Bailiff Bridges Wildlife. We Must Stop Any Development on any of this land or Loose Our Wildlife Forever, also a point that many overlook especially some of these so called clean up parties, when you remove all the good weeds in restricted growing soil which is a vital source of sustainable food for thousands of wildlife, all that grows is intrusive weeds and toxic plants that kill all the good weeds leading to a shortage of sustainable food for insects and small animals and creatures. Please Please Don’t Remove anymore good weeds and plants from bailiff Bridge Please just let them grow like nature intended?