Data Analysis
We count!

Types of tree in our Nature Reserve

July 2019

We wanted to identify the types of tree which our members have in their gardens and allotments. We therefore took a sample of 100 of our members who own trees (excluding leylandii). The results of the sample show seven tree types - three of which are fruit trees, so that's good news for wildlife. More good news comes from the fact that all the other trees will support a diversity of insect species. 

Analysis of re-wilding areas

June 2019

We wanted to understand the area of re-wilding which our members have allocated. We therefore took a sample of 100 members who have any kind of re-wilding in their gardens. The average re-wilding area is 2.51 square yards. However, we found other gardens with up to 12 square yards in the sample. The results suggest that our members might be experimenting with re-wilding to see how it fits in with their broader wildlife garden planning. 

Counting bird species

May 2018 and May 2019

In May 2018, we asked a sample of 100 of our members how many bird species they saw in their back gardens in the whole of that month. In May 2019, we asked a different 100 randomly chosen members the same question. The results show a noticeable shift in species observed in 2019 due, almost certainly, to the greater use in 2019 of bird feeders. These results show that this example of community-based conservation helps to increase the number of bird species observed. 

Wildlife-friendly priorities

April 2019

We took a random survey from 100 of our members and asked them two questions. First, we wanted to know about "top priority" species which local people favour when they design their wildlife-friendly gardens (and allotments). Second, we wanted to know the extent to which those wildlife species figure within the overall "mix" of wildlife-gardening priorities. The results show a generally favourable breadth of prioritizing, but with more awareness needed for some of these species.

Birds found in holly and hawthorn 

1 - 7 January 2019

Following on from our December 2018 analysis (see below), we wanted to understand the types of bird which are attracted to local gardens where the only berried plant is either holly, hawthorn or both. We conclude that holly attracted greater numbers of the bird species observed. However, gardens with both holly and hawthorn were favoured by the greatest numbers of birds.

Winter garden bird count 

1 - 14 December 2018

We took a new random sample from 100 gardens belonging to our members and asked them to count the birds they saw in those gardens between 1 - 14 December. This data will therefore serve us as a bench mark against which we can compare future December bird counts.

Favourite bird feeder food for 

Song Thrushes and Blackbirds

1 - 14 November 2018

We took a new random sample from 50 of our members and asked them which kinds of bird feeder food were favoured among Song Thrushes and Blackbirds between 1 - 14 November 2018. The results suggest that mealworms, sultanas and oats are top of the menu choices for those birds. 

Wildlife garden / allotment work

October 2018

We took a random sample from 100 members of Felixstowe's Community Nature Reserve and asked them how many hours they spent in October on wildlife-friendly activities eg work on bird feeders, hedgehog homes, ponds etc. Our follow-up work revealed that sampled people said they prefer to 'target' their work in Autumn, given the unfavourable weather.

Garden bird feeding analysis

September 2018

We wanted to find the top five birds which use garden feeders in September 2018. We therefore took a random sample of 100 of our members and asked them to monitor which birds used their garden feeders. We conclude that it might be best to regularly change the location of garden bird feeders in each garden so each bird has new opportunities to use each feeder. We also recommend that feeders are cleaned regularly.

Average networking activities

15 July - 15 August 2018

We took a random sample of 100 of our members and asked them how many days between 15 July - 15 August 2018 they provided food and water for local wildlife in the members' gardens, allotments or window boxes. We also wanted to know how often our sampled members offered encouragement and practical help to family and neighbours in activities related to our Community Nature Reserve.  

Evaluating our work: 8 August 2018

We always want to improve!

As we enter our fifth month, we wanted to evaluate our performance. We used the Ten Principles for Best Practice in Citizen Science, as published by the European Citizen Science Association, as the basis for our questions. All 30 members of our group chose to participate. (Participation was anonymous). The results are shown on this heat map. We conclude that we have made a good start but there is room to build on our achievements so far. 

The rise and fall of swift sightings 

April - August 2018

We wanted to monitor the rise and fall of swift sightings in central Felixstowe between their  arrival in 2018 - which was May 7, and the time when they appear to start their migration away from Felixstowe. Our chart shows that there was a peak of 63 reported sightings during the last week in June. Since that peak, there has been a clear decline in reported sightings. This chart was created in Excel.   

Pond Skater Sightings 1 August 2018

We love Pond Skaters!

Throughout July and August, Felixstowe's Community Nature Reserve encourages all local people to build wildlife ponds. Feedback from local people shows that pond skaters (Gerris lacustris) are a particular favourite. We therefore took a random sample of 100 of our members who have wildlife ponds and asked them how many times they saw a pond skater on 1 August 2018. Among the highlights of this survey, we found that 9 people reported seeing 8 pond skaters, 17 people reported seeing 7 pond skaters, 22 people reported seeing 6 pond skaters and 18 people reported seeing 5 pond skaters.   

Hedgehog Sightings 1 - 10 July 2018

Everyone saw at least one hedgehog!

We took a random sample of 100 of our members and asked them how many times they saw a hedgehog in their back gardens between 1 - 10 July this year. The results show that everyone saw at least one hedgehog. The average number of sightings was almost 6 (5.68 to be precise). Among the highlights of this data set, 4 people reported a hedgehog sighting on each day of the survey; 6 people reported 9 sightings; 8 people reported 8 sightings; 16 people reported 7 sightings; and 22 people reported 5 sightings. This data analysis was completed in R.

Measuring our Nature Reserve

It's growing all the time!

We wanted to estimate the average size, and total size, of wildlife-friendly areas in local gardens. We therefore took a random sample of 100 of our members. The smallest wildlife-friendly area in the sample was 1 square yard. The largest area was 9 square yards. The mean was shown to be 3.65 square yards. With 1029 members at the time of writing, we estimate that our Community Nature Reserve covers about 3755 square yards. Our distribution graph was created in Excel.

Box plot of Hedgehog sightings

1 - 14 June 2018

We created a new random sample from 50 of our members and then produced a box plot using R software. The box plot shows the reported sightings of hedgehogs in back gardens in the Felixstowe area between 1 - 14 June 2018. The median is shown to be 5. The maximum value is 12. The main benefit of this exercise is to show this data in a clear and visual form. It also introduced our members to the use of R software.  

Who are our most active members?

When our members encourage their neighbours!

We wanted to discover how our most active members became part of our work. At the time of doing this analysis, we had 1,016 active members. We discovered that 91.3% of those people came to us after they were encouraged to do so by their neighbours who were already members of our Community Nature Reserve. 5.1% came from reading about us on Facebook. 3.6% came to us from Twitter 

It helps to feed local hedgehogs! 

We took a new random sample of 50 local people and asked them how many times they laid out food and water for hedgehogs during the week of 21 - 27 May 2018. We then asked them how many times during that week they saw at least one hedgehog. The correlation is strong (0.9135), suggesting that it really is true that helping local hedgehogs is a good idea if you want to see more hedgehogs. 

Hedgehog data


We created a random sample of 50 of our members and asked them how many days per week they laid out food and water for hedgehogs which visit their gardens. The period we were interested in was between 1 - 7 May 2018. To see the chart more clearly, please double click on it.