Welcome to the very first addition of Birmingham LEAF. A magazine, which is naturally brilliant just for you! The brand new magazine that shows you fun and interesting things about Birmingham and the wildlife hiding right in front of your eyes. It's time to explore, and enter, LEAF!
Introduction to Team LEAF Birmingham Fun Facts
Conkers: How to play Feed the Birds
Creepy Canals Canals Nature Trail
Birmingham SeaLife Centre
Grow your Own
Printing with Vegetables Birmingham Botanical Gardens
One for sorrow, two for joy Wilma Worm Maze
Laura Prior. (Graphic Designer) “I bet you didn’t know Birmingham has more parks than any city in Europe, I love to sit and read a book in one of these escapes from the city.”
Betty Thomas. (Illustrator) “Birmingham is a brilliant place. There is so many exciting things to draw. I love spotting animals and seeing how they cope in the city.”
Natalie Swaby. (Fact Finder) I love to get up close to the animals in Birmingham to find out their most interesting facts and secrets, my favourite urban animals are squirrels.
Birmingham is a lively, exciting place to live and has been given many nicknames. -Workshop of the world, -The city of a thousand trades, -Toyshop of the world. Birmingham has 22 more miles than Venice. Europes largest public library is in Birmingham and lends 8 million books a year. There is a crator on the moon called Birmingham. The very frist petrol car was made in Birmingham. Birmingham is home to Cadbury Chocolate. Birmingham has over 6 million trees.
Birmingham is home to the Bullring, a market site for over 800 years!
Spaghetti junction is one of the biggest motorway junctions in Europe. The very frist X-ray
was taken in Birmingham in 1896.
Victoria Square has one of the largest fountains in Europe, flowing 3,000 gallons every 4 minutes.
Birmingham is known as the second biggest city in the UK. Over 1,000,000 people live in Birmingham and that number goes up every year. But our giant city is also home to much wildlife and nature. Lets take a look which urban animals live in this concrete jungle.
- Belong to the same family as dogs. Slightly smaller than wolves, they have an upturned muzzle, pointed ears, long, bushy tail and red fur. - Like to be left undisturbed and make their dens under decking, sheds, and in deserted plots of land, where there are bushes and shrubs - Live in family groups and can be very territorial
- Are omnivores (meaning it eats meat and vegetation) - Search through bins to find left over food, but also hunt for birds, small mammals and insects - Communicate with barks and howls - Are most active at dawn and dusk - Live for about 4 years in an urban setting - Give birth to 4-6 pups each litter, which are born into earths onto bare soil
- Delicate flying mammals, bats have short dog-like faces, dark brown fur and tiny sharp teeth - The most common bat is called the Pipistrelle and is only 4cm long - Choose homes where it is warm and has lots of food to eat. In small spaces
often in lofts and attics - Live in big groups called colonies - Only eat one thing..bugs, mostly caddisfly and moths. Eww! - Are nocturnal (meaning they sleep all day and wake up to eat and fly around at night) - Hibernate (meaning they sleep from November to March) - Have only one pup each litter, which live in a nursery roost until they learn to fly
- Are roughly 25cm long when fully grown. They have brown prickly spines all over its back and sides. Even its head and belly are covered in course hair. - Spines help protect the hedgehog, because when it feels scared it curls up into a spiky ball. - Live in city centres and do not mind man. Often found in urban gardens, where there is plenty of food.
- Eat most things at ground levels, but they particularly like to munch on beetles, slugs, worms, earwigs and caterpillars. - Will have 4-5 born into a nest - Build special nests called a hibernaculum which they hibernate in all winter - If you listen very carefully at night you might be able to hear rusting and snuffling in your garden as the hedgehog searches for food.
Have you ever gone in search of a spider? Have you ever looked for a ladybird? Or tried to capture a caterpillar? Have you explored for an earwig? If you
haven't I think you should. Go into your garden and have an adventure, investigate for insects.
Yow littul varmint!
Oooh Arrh Bab
Parker Parrot has got lost in the city of Birmingham and has picked up some of the traditional phrases that can be heard in Birmingham today. Can you say these phrases?
When the trees start loosing their leaves in Birmingham, there is one treat you can't refuse.
1. Find the biggest, strongest conkers you can. (Mind the spiky outside shell.) 2. Ask an adult to drill a hole through the middle of the conkers very carefully.
3. Get a piece of sturdy string and thread one end through the hole. Tie a knot underneath the conker so that it doesn’t fall off the string 4. Your conker is now ready to go
But don’t worry, there’s plenty more conkers to play with. How about setting up a championship with your friends to see who has
Have you ever played conkers? Iâ€™ll tell you how..
5. Find one of your friends who is prepared for a conker-battle
6. Take it in turns to knock your conker against the other collected the strongest conker. Or you could get pens and draw faces on your conkers, naming the champions.
7. The first conker to crack and fall off the string loses
A great way of attracting birds to your garden is by making a bird feeder. This is very simple and will make sure the birds can find food through the winter. 1. Ask your adult helper if they will cut two holes through the plastic bottle, one slightly higher than the other so the wooden spoon can be pushed through
2. Gradually cover the bottle with the leaves making layers until it is completely covered
3. Stick some twigs around the neck of the bottle to create a roof. You could also use pine cones or berries! You will need: - An empty plastic bottle - A wooden spoon - Leaves + Twigs - PVA Glue or Double sided tape - Bird seed - An adult helper
4. Fill the bottle with bird seed so it pours onto the surface of the spoon! Place outside in a place where the birds can find it
Julia Heeley was taking her daily stroll through Perry Park in Birmingham with her little baby Freddie. She pulled up his buggy by the side of the canal. “Freddie look at all the fish in the canal! Can you see any tadpoles?”
“Googley gaaa” replied Freddie. Julia looked up to carry on walking but SUDDENLY an old lady appeared right in front of the buggy! The woman was wearing a long black dress and a blood red cape. She had long beautiful black hair and was slightly transparent. Julia jumped back in shock when she realised the elderly woman was a ghost! Freddie screamed and before Julia could utter a word the vision of the woman was gone!
This lady is rumoured to be the ghost of Queen Henty, a gypsy who was responsible for a Romany encampment that stayed in the park a century ago.
Do you know any ghost stories?
Take a trip to the canals. Can you spot these things? The canals around Brindley Place are very historic and have been there for an extremely long time. They were the first transport system specifically designed to carry goods around the country.
Birmingham canals can take you all over the country however today they are used for leisure and relaxation rather than transporting goods.
The boats were originally pulled by horses and if you look by the bridges you may be able to still see the marks where the towropes cut into the bridges.
Can you spot any Geese like these Canadian ones?
Can you find these plants around Brindley place?
Do you recognise this flower? What does it symbolise?
How many ducks can you spot swimming around? Not only were the canals made for transportation but they also provide a home for many animals.
Can you find any other animals that live at Brindley Place?
Would you like to explore the depths of the oceans? In Sealife Birmingham you can.
- Watch feeding demonstrations - Investigate the contents of a rock pool (you can hold a crab or touch a starfish!) - See over 1,000 creatures, including sting rays, giant turtles and sharks! - 4D cinema showing â€œHappy Feetâ€? etc. Here are some interesting wacky facts about some of the underwater critters you might see..
Puffer fish inflate like a ball to scare off predators.
Otters can stay under water for 4 minutes at a time.
Otters love to eat fish, plants and berries. Otters are related to badgers and ferrets.
Turtles can live up to 100 years old!
The shock of an electric eel has been known to knock a horse off its feet.
Turtles were on Earth before dinosaurs. Turtles can lay about 100 eggs. Sea Urchins have no brains. Sea Urchins can clone themselves
Starfish can have up to 40 arms.
Stingrays use their tails for defence. Stingrays are related to sharks
Some people eat shark fin soup. Baby sharks are called pups.
Seahorses are one of the only species where the male gives birth.
Sharks have many rows of teeth to replace old ones when they fall out.
Seahorses change colour to blend in with their surroundings
Crabs usually only live to 3 years old. The biggest crab ever shown in England was at Sealife Birmingham.
Jellyfish have no blood and no brains.
Clown fish are born male and then change to female.
Clown fish can lay up to 1000 eggs at a time.
Jellyfish have existed for more than 650 million years. Some jellyfish have a nasty sting.
If you're lucky enough to have a garden in Birmingham, why not have a go growing your own food?
How about creating a vegetable plot, a herb garden or a mini orchard? If you don't have much space, there are plenty of things you can grow on your windowsills inside. Here is an easy way to grow your own delicious strawberries.
You will need: - A plant pot - A strawberry plant - Some multi-purpose compost
1. Pop the strawberry plant in the large plant pot, so there's plenty of room to grow. 2. Surround the plants roots and base with multi purpose compost. 3. Push down the soil firmly around the roots so the plant is stable. 4. You should place your strawberry plant in the sunniest spot in your garden, (or the sunniest windowsill). 5. Make sure the plant gets enough water. (Water them once a week). The soil around the plant should always be damp. 6. Now just sit and wait, your strawberry plant will grow in no time. 7. As soon as the weather starts getting sunny and hot the plant will produce fruit. Strawberries start off green, but will soon ripen. 8. When the strawberries turn red they are ready to eat. YUM!
Now you have grown your own strawberries, what could you do with them?
A strawberry cheesecake, homemade strawberry icecream, strawberry and cream angel-cakes, or how about making a Scrummy-Strawberry Milkshake? 1.Pick your reddest, juiciest looking strawberries 2.Wash and destalk the strawberries 3.Peel and break the banana into small pieces 4. Throw all the fruit into a bowl and mash it up using a fork (or if you have one mix the fruit together in a blender) 5. Add the cold milk and yoghurt
You will need: (serves 4) - 250g strawberries - 1 whole banana - 175g cold milk - 175g natural Greek yoghurt
6.Mix it all together until it is nice and smooth 7. (Feel free to add strawberry ice cream or sorbet to make it extra cool)
Printing with vegetables is a fun and easy way of making artwork. All you need is some hard, strong veg and some paint (and an adult helper for the tricky bits).
1. Kindly ask your adult helper to cut the vegetables in half.
2.Take a paintbrush or roller and
3. Push the vegetable down on a clean piece of paper as hard as you can.
Try printing the outside of the vegetables to get some interesting textures from their skins!
apply paint to the flat side of the vegetable.
4. Remove the vegetable and admire your beautiful piece of work! You could also use fruit like apples, pears, oranges, and lemons.
Take a chance to have a look around Birmingham amazing Botanical gardens. Explore nature from all over the world.
Search 4 glasshouses filled with exotic plants from the tropical jungle to the dry, sandy desert.
One for sorrow,
Two for joy, Three for a girl,
Five for silver,
Four for a boy,
Six for gold, Eight for a wish,
Magpies are one of the only species of bird that can recognise itself in the mirror.
Seven for a secret never to be told,
Nine for a kiss,
A magpie's feather actually has green, purple and bronze shimmers
Magpies are known for taking shiny objects to collect in their nests. Jewellery, plastic, metal and coins.
Ten for a bird you cannot miss!
Help Wilma Worm find her way to these famous places in Birmingham. Do you recognise any of these buildings?
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Try to connect the clues to the buildings in Wilmaâ€™s Worm maze. BT Tower
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How would you like to create your own garden zooniverse? Its easy to attract all kinds of animals and wildlife to your back garden.
- Empty a can of cat or dog food onto your lawn at night to attract badgers and foxes
- Throw out nuts and cut up fruit onto your garden to attract squirrels
- Create a wilderness section to your garden by scattering wild flower seeds and letting the grass grow long. This will attract small mammals to your garden. These are fun to watch but also could feed other animals like owls, which are an endangered species.
This will be great fun, but can also help save some species from extinction.
- If you plant a large selection of different coloured and smelling plants it will attract a huge range of insects and bugs. Including bees, which are in serious decline and could use your help for food. - Put out bird feeders and different kinds of bird seed and chicken corn to feed many different types of bird
- Plant some berry trees, nut trees and hedgerow bushes around your garden. These are favourites for small animals like wood mice. But you can also supplement their diet and encourage them to come to your garden by leaving the odd digestive biscuit for them to eat.
- Don't cut off dead flower heads as birds eat the seeds in these
- Make a big pile of leaves and cover with a water-proof sheet over the winter and it will become a cosy home for hedgehogs, frogs, toads and slowworms
- A plate of (non-fish) cat or dog food will attract hedgehogs to your garden. - Also cut up apples and pears. Remember not to use slug pellets as this can seriously harm hedgehogs.
- If you attract hedgehogs in your garden, they will eat the slugs for you.
Birmingham LEAF was created for the enjoyment of 8-10 year olds living in Birmingham.
Illustrations and Graphic Design by Betty Thomas and Laura Prior. Photography by Laura Prior Content gathering and articles by Betty Thomas, Laura Prior and Natalie Swaby
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