Skip to main content
Naturespace with Haith's

Naturespace with Haith's

By Haith's and Simon King, FLS

Haith's is a bird food company on a mission to make a positive difference, and so are the people we're interviewing. Nature affects everything - our economy, social framework, health and existence. The natural world is infinite: the animals, rivers & oceans, the food we eat, the rainwater irrigating crops and the air we breathe. Nature is struggling; there is no Planet B, which means making space for nature in our gardens and in commercial & urban settings - which is good for our mental health & may help fight climate change. Interviewer: Simon King (Haith's), Prod. Ed King
E7: Paul Rose - Explorer, polar expert, TV presenter, broadcaster and one of the world's most experienced divers talks to Haith's about plastic pollution & what it takes to have an 'explorer mindset.'
E7: Paul Rose - Explorer, polar expert, TV presenter, broadcaster and one of the world's most experienced divers talks to Haith's about plastic pollution & what it takes to have an 'explorer mindset.'
Paul Rose's journey from a Romford council flat to Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for ten years and being awarded HM The Queen's Polar Medal is an inspirational one, which he happily shares with young explorers in his role as Expedition Leader, National Geographic Pristine Seas.  And we're pleased to say, Paul feeds and watches his garden birds, and - like Haith's - sees garden bird feeding as a great way to connect with nature. We invited Paul to be a guest on Naturespace with Haith's bird food because we launched this podcast to explore the bigger picture. Who better to talk to than a real-life explorer who's at the forefront of exploration above and below sea level? And - luckily for us - Paul jumped at the chance to promote some of the global issues he's involved in helping scientists 'unlock and communicate international mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.'  Not every day do we get to talk to one of the world’s most experienced divers, field science and polar experts, and we hoped Paul would help us unlock some of the secrets and encourage Haith's to have that 'explorer mindset' he fosters in his students. One of the biggest challenges we all face is what to do about our reliance on single-use plastics (plastic pollution) and here at Haith's, we're challenging ourselves through our Mission 'R' project to make a positive difference. Paul's a big believer in education being partly conducted outdoors and amongst nature rather than solely in classrooms. We (at Haith's) agree, which is why we invited Paul to visit Haith's new premises - where we'll be handing over commercial space to nature - in spring/summer 2023. Paul Rose was broadcasting from his home in Switzerland and Simon King from his office at Haith's.  More about Paul Rose: Paul is an experienced television presenter, radio broadcaster, former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society(link is external), Chair of the Expeditions and Fieldwork Division and is currently Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions (link is external). For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, Paul received the US Polar Medal. Paul is a mountain and polar guide leading Greenland Icecap crossing and mountaineering expeditions and polar science support logistics. He worked for four years as a Mountain Safety consultant to the oil industry in the Middle East. On his 2012 Greenland expedition, Paul led the first expedition to successfully traverse a new 275km icecap route of Knud Rasmussen Land and repeated his first ascent of the north face of Gunnsbjørnfjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic. Paul ran the US Navy diver training programme at Great Lakes Naval Training Centre and trained many emergency response dive teams including the Police, Fire Department and Underwater Recovery Teams. He remains a current and active PADI Dive Instructor. To find out more about Paul's work, visit: Website: https://www.paulrose.org/ https://twitter.com/paul_rose https://www.instagram.com/paulroseexplorer/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjtCS0EEoCY
01:09:24
December 01, 2022
E6: John Cooper & Chris Snell: Keeping birds healthy & promoting good health – the art and science of bird-keeping.
E6: John Cooper & Chris Snell: Keeping birds healthy & promoting good health – the art and science of bird-keeping.
We (Haith's) have a duty to promote good bird health and encourage people who feed the birds to keep them healthy, and that's why we make SuperClean bird food. Cage and aviary birds rely on their keepers - it's a bird keeper's responsibility to ensure their birds live long and healthy lives. In this episode, we bring together two leading lights in the aviculture world, veterinary Professor John E. Cooper and Champion bird breeder Chris Snell from his aviary in Lincolnshire - plus circa 250 budgies! We're talking specifically about budgerigars, but we're promoting good health for all birds - captive and wild (free-living).  What we cover: The origin of the Budgerigar. Back to the 1960s and the halcyon days of bird keeping. Why feeding a quality bird seed diet is imperative for bird health. How to tell if a birdseed diet is dusty. Why it's essential to make grit available to budgies. Why keeping budgerigars can be a way of learning about the natural world and why budgies are good for people. The most important thing is the well-being of a bird - a budgerigar's got to fly! Budgerigars should be in flocks, or a single budgie should have close contact with its keeper. Individuals who keep a single budgerigar - a companion bird. The five freedoms of keeping birds. The anatomy of a bird. Companion/pet bird keepers. For more information about our work at Haith's and how we make great bird foods, please visit our website or search for Haith's bird food. 
58:03
November 28, 2022
E5: What's in the bird garden? From Margaret's garden in Kent - autumn "Wouldn't it be a terrible world if there were no birds?"
E5: What's in the bird garden? From Margaret's garden in Kent - autumn "Wouldn't it be a terrible world if there were no birds?"
Margaret is an avid garden birder with a fascinating backstory. Margaret's a talented nature writer and has penned more than 50 blogs for the Haith's bird food community since joining the armchair naturalists project. The project was launched by Haith's bird food during the coronavirus lockdown to help people stay connected with the natural world and share their insights with the community.  It turns out Margaret is no ordinary garden birder. For her professional life of almost 40 years, Margaret was a meteorologist. For fifteen of those years, she was broadcasting as part of her role with BBC local radio and even national radio. Then Margaret moved "to the other side" with ITV and did occasional interviews, probably the scariest one being live on the ITN lunchtime news during snowy weather where she had to do that one outside with her foot in plaster. Margaret also provided video input for the Met Office for several years and hasn't lost her broadcasting skills. Margaret's bird garden is awash with wildlife - it's a stepping stone for nature, offering good food, shelter, fresh water and a place to breed. In return, all Margaret asks for is to watch the comings and goings of her feathered friends as she makes a point to observe, watch and sometimes write about their antics.  To help picture Margaret's bird garden in Kent: Margaret lives in Kent and has a suburban garden 90ft long by 45ft wide. She has a well-established garden with mixed shrubs. Her garden is 400 yards from a green space and overlooks the North Downs. Margaret regularly feeds seed mixes, suet products and live foods and provides fresh drinking and bathing water. Margaret's blogs list a large number of wildlife including starlings, robins, blackbirds, doves, sparrows, and woodpecker are all regular visitors as well as bats, foxes, butterflies and squirrels (who loves burying peanuts!). More: Margaret's blogs can be read on Haith's website here: https://haiths.com/blogs/garden-bird-blog
51:54
November 18, 2022
Professor John E. Cooper: Avian flu - How sensible bird feeding sets a good example and remains beneficial for birds and people
Professor John E. Cooper: Avian flu - How sensible bird feeding sets a good example and remains beneficial for birds and people
Because we're a trusted bird food company on a mission to discover the bigger picture, we have a self-imposed responsibility to learn more about the 2022 Avian flu activity here in the UK. We can think of no one better equipped to talk to about avian flu and the latest guidance from the Government regarding feeding wild (free-living) garden birds than our veterinary advisor, Professor John E Cooper, DTVM, FRCPath, FRSB, Hon FFFLM, FRCVS. Professor Cooper's guidance will be comforting to those of us who care deeply about feeding and watching garden wildlife: There are three main reasons to keep feeding wild (free-living) birds during the current outbreak of avian flu: It's good for garden birds & good for people - research shows that feeding supplementary bird food increases the fitness of birds, and feeding / watching wildlife is good for our well-being and mental health. Feeding garden birds is not illegal during avian flu and - as long as it's carried out 'sensibly' and 'sensitively' (listen to the podcast for definitions of those terms) - it is safe and beneficial (for birds and people) to do so. Stopping feeding garden birds could actually be counter-productive and Professor Cooper explains why removing bird foods could arguably force birds to go in search further afield for food - which could bring more species and different numbers of birds to food sources and potentially aid the spread of avian flu (please listen to the podcast for a more helpful explanation).  Haith's advice: regularly clean feeders, baths, stations & tables to keep bacteria and viruses at bay. Show notes - useful links: Visit https://haiths.com/ for the full show notes.
39:58
November 11, 2022
Haith’s: Handing over commercial space to nature
Haith’s: Handing over commercial space to nature
It’s possible to hand over commercial space to nature: Haith’s bird food is embarking on an exciting commercial relocation project (migrating from Grimsby to Louth’s Fairfield Est.). We’re aiming to make a positive difference for our staff by creating commercial space and a working environment that’s connected with nature, where we can continue to create unique hand-crafted foods for birds and wildlife – which is what Haith’s has been doing since 1937. Please see https://haiths.com/pages/it-all-started-in-1937 Haith’s bird food manufacturing champions can’t work from home so we’re making it a priority to develop the business in a setting that encourages colleagues’ best efforts because that’s going to help us make our best bird food. The 25,000-square-foot building will house our award-winning super-clean seed cleaning system, where we remove unwanted grain dust, debris, and husks because these can be harmful to birds. Once this cleaning stage is complete, we blend our ingredients into mixes using tried and tested formulas (such as ensuring there’s adequate calcium in a bird diet as this leads to better skeletal development, larger broods, higher fledgling success and optimal body condition in adult birds). Our hand-crafted bird foods fill the nation’s garden bird feeders, are purchased by champion bird-breeders and pet bird-keepers, used by zoos and universities who combine their science to protect animals. We have a comprehensive website presence at haiths.com - where enthusiasts can find out more about Haith's and explore and discover new ways to connect with the natural world. Haith's is an award-winning bird food company; we’re Northern Powerhouse Export Champions (helping other companies establish a route to international markets) and were awarded an inaugural Board of Trade Award by the Secretary of State for International Trade in 2018. We're excited to be migrating to Louth and we look forward to connecting with the local nature-loving community.
08:33
November 04, 2022
E4: Dr Helen Jeffries - The connection between nature and autism
E4: Dr Helen Jeffries - The connection between nature and autism
A note: this podcast was also filmed and can be viewed on our Spotify (if you have a Spotify account) and YouTube channels.    Dr Helen Jeffries says, “I’m autistic and happy to talk about it” which is why we (Haith's) invited her to feature on an episode of Naturespace with Haith’s because we, too, believe that watching and feeding wildlife can help our well-being and mental health. Helen is brave, determined and unafraid to share her backstory: When Helen was diagnosed autistic five years ago, she found the diagnosis liberating, illuminating, and depressing. “I thought then that being autistic was a total barrier to career progression as I couldn’t see any openly autistic senior civil servants."  However, Helen decided to turn the diagnosis into a positive opportunity to share her story and become the open autistic role model she lacked herself. Helen is an advocate of the benefits of nature connection for people with autism and the podcast discusses how even a simple bird feeder, nest box and bird table might help improve a child’s emotional state plus increase cognitive ability. Helen is a natural history enthusiast and a Senior Civil Servant in the Department of Health and Social Care. Before that, she worked in the Cabinet Office Covid Task Force. Helen is now an active campaigner in the public sector for more understanding of autism and acceptance of autistic colleagues and writes about her experiences via her blog at: https://helenjeffries.wordpress.com/ on Twitter you can find Helen happy to talk about autism, nature and music at @HelenEva8 and LinkedIn and linkedin.com/in/helen-jeffries-b0969413 Helen Jeffries - "I'm autistic and happy to talk about it."  - https://helenjeffries.wordpress.com/ Find out more about Haith's wild bird food online at www.haiths.com  We covered: - The connection between nature and autism - How a simple bird feeder, nest box and bird table could help many people with autism - Beneficial activities for people with autism - Sensory stimulation - Talking about autism - pushing back against don't ask, don't tell - Communication - Chris Packham - Autism diagnosis - Autistic role models - Department of Health and Social Care - Cabinet Office Covid Task Force - Autistic colleagues - Autumnwatch
49:60
October 26, 2022
Bonus: Bird song - Mental well-being boost | Morning chorus
Bonus: Bird song - Mental well-being boost | Morning chorus
ITV News: ‘Being around birds ‘linked to mental wellbeing boost’. Would you believe that some of our customers phone Haith's bird food and ask to be put on hold so they can hear our bird song recordings? They do! And there's a good reason why - it's beautiful. Most say our bird song recording is relaxing - some say that bird song is an ideal background to practice mindfulness and is good for mental well-being, which is why we're adding it to the Naturespace with Haith's podcast as a listener bonus.  Enjoy! Read: ITV News: ‘Being around birds ‘linked to mental wellbeing boost’ - https://www.itv.com/news/2022-10-27/being-around-birds-linked-to-mental-wellbeing-boost
06:46
October 24, 2022
E3: Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL - How urban rewilding could boost wildlife and fight climate change
E3: Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL - How urban rewilding could boost wildlife and fight climate change
When the Haith’s team heard about a landmark report by ZSL showing how increased urban rewilding efforts could boost wildlife and buffer city dwellers from the worst impacts of climate change, we knew we had to find out more, and we’re grateful that lead author of the report, Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, agreed to a spot on the podcast. In this revealing conversation, Nathalie shares a helpful metaphor (using a Cuban taxi!) to highlight the difference between restoration and rewilding and how urban rewilding adds to the conservation portfolio. “Our world is connected,” explains Nathalie, “it’s the wonder of nature.” Nathalie reveals that rewilding is possible in our private gardens, which is important in terms of creating spaces for nature and connectivity – creating wildlife corridors and wild spaces - our collective gardens becoming steppingstones for nature to navigate to and from core habitat. "For example, by leaving part of your garden wild, and avoiding artificial turf and pesticides we can all do our bit to secure a future where wildlife and people survive." This connectivity and space for nature are very much the bigger pictures Haith’s is investigating as it embarks on a relocation project and a commitment to hand over commercial space to nature in Louth, Lincolnshire. Feeding the birds is also one part of our efforts to buy wildlife time whilst the scientists make a case for nature, which – hopefully – inspires enough of us to make more space for nature. You can find out more about Haith's migrating to Louth here.  More about Dr Nathalie Pettorelli: Nathalie is a senior scientist at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), where she carries out research to help secure a biodiverse future. She did her PhD on roe deer in France and then moved to Norway and Canada before taking a position in London over 15 years ago. Nathalie's work focuses on the relationship between nature and climate crises, and what solutions there may be to tackle these crises jointly. Her research has been carried out in a diversity of settings, from the plains of the Serengeti to tropical forests and arctic tundra. She got into science because she likes to feel useful and solve problems - and she got into conservation because she is fascinated by people, nature, and their interdependencies. Topics: Space for nature Urban rewilding & habitat creation The difference between restoration and rewilding Biodiversity loss Ecology The impact of climate change on nature Nature recovery Private gardens and “Rewild my street” project Nesting boxes Nathalie: https://www.zsl.org/science/users/nathalie-pettorelli Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pettorelli?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor Books: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9781108460125?gC=5a105e8b&gclid=Cj0KCQjw48OaBhDWARIsAMd966AG7MLdbpbfSioJ6mY6jsa5ayINYC6lSehD4jukqtXA9rnfl0alkUAaAmWzEALw_wcB As mentioned in the podcast: https://www.rewildmystreet.org/ Sponsor: https://haiths.com/ Prod. Ed King
48:21
October 21, 2022
E2: James Elliott - The Canoe River Cleaner - "It's all about the flow"
E2: James Elliott - The Canoe River Cleaner - "It's all about the flow"
James Elliott AKA "The Canoe River Cleaner" is a local hero fighting for the natural world - his battleground is the River Freshney, and the enemy is litter. "It's all about the flow," says James. James took a walk along the river... he spotted discarded rubbish floating in the river... and he bought a canoe to clean other peoples' mess up! Why? So that he can make a difference.  There's no finger-pointing, no appointing blame - just action from James and he's on a single-minded mission to remove litter.  Today, James is known as the Canoe River Cleaner.  He turned misfortune into an opportunity. He’s changing the health of our local urban river by removing one shopping trolley at a time. He’s thinking a little bit more about the river and biodiversity than the average person and he's using that momentum to get the community involved. He's educating schoolchildren on the merits of making space for nature in an urban setting. But he's not an angry litter picker-upper! He's using his passion for nature to clean up others' rubbish.  James’s main objective is to shine a light on the importance of a river running clean: in James’s case, it’s the River Freshney, Grimsby, N E Lincolnshire. That’s where you’ll find him doing his work from his Canadian Canoe. If you see him. say hello! Or, better still, look him up online and support his efforts because the world needs more natural history heroes.  Haith’s bird food will be supporting The Canoe River Cleaner with his education programme and making fresh bird food available to encourage people to leave the bread in the bread bin (where it belongs!).  More about Haith’s: https://haiths.com/  More about The Canoe River Cleaner at https://thecanoerivercleaner.co.uk/  Campaigns: Say no to bread?? https://thecanoerivercleaner.co.uk/say-no-to-bread/  Not-for-profit community project: https://allthingsgoodandnice.co.uk/  Sponsors: https://sodafolk.com/collections/all-products and https://thecanoerivercleaner.co.uk/sponsorship/  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecanoerivercleaner/  The Canoe River Cleaner merchandise: https://thecanoerivercleaner.co.uk/shop/ and https://thecanoerivercleaner.co.uk/education-video-for-schools/
55:15
October 14, 2022
E1: Chris Snell - Champion Budgie Breeder: a life with birds
E1: Chris Snell - Champion Budgie Breeder: a life with birds
Chris Snell is one of the best-known budgie breeders in the world today. He's a champion budgerigar breeder and President of The Budgerigar Society. Chris has been keeping budgies since his tenth birthday (16th June 1965) when he and his father clubbed together to buy some budgerigars and build some cages - a simple act that introduced him to a life with birds, and his endless search to breed healthy budgies.  "A bird's got to fly," says Chris - and he means it, which is why he shares his budgie breeding secrets and the rules he follows to keep his birdroom healthy. Chris reveals the struggle the hobby is facing and how he had to give up playing football to dedicate his life to his birds, and some 57 years later he remains hooked on budgerigars since his father whispered "We've won son!" after winning best junior baby budgerigar at the tender age of 10.  Chris explains that a healthy bird diet remains 100% important but that Haith's bird seed accounts for around 80% of his budgerigar's diet - Chris reveals what consists of the missing 20% and makes no bones about sharing his secrets.  Chickweed, for example, should be on every budgie-keepers list and Chris explains why grit should be available throughout the year to assist digestion by grinding the food in the bird’s gizzard.  Chris puts his birds' health first and makes a positive difference in the world of aviculture. Some of Chris's secrets will find their way into our bird foods to help captive and free-living birds thrive and not merely survive because birds are more productive when they are healthy and healthy food increases a bird's ability to survive plus be more productive and reduce health issues. Visit https://haiths.com/  for more from Haith's. 
01:16:43
September 30, 2022
Introducing Naturespace with Haith's
Introducing Naturespace with Haith's
I’m Simon King and this is Naturespace with Haith’s – a new podcast from a bird food company that’s on a mission to make a positive difference for nature. We may not realise it, but nature affects everything - our economy, social framework, health and existence. The natural world is infinite: the animals, rivers and oceans, the food we consume, even the rainwater that irrigates crops and the air we breathe. However, the natural world is on its back foot... (we watch David Attenborough too!). There is no Planet B for us or nature, which means making space for natural history in our busy lives at home or in a commercial setting. If you like what we’re doing and enjoy listening to the people we’re meeting on our journey, we hope you’ll spread the word about nature too.
00:52
September 29, 2022