Middleton Hall Retirement Village residents stay tuned to nightly 'Nestwatch' TV

The Advertiser Series: Feathered fans include, from left to right, Sonia Wade, David Webb, Pat Webb, and Brian Richards Feathered fans include, from left to right, Sonia Wade, David Webb, Pat Webb, and Brian Richards

THE fascinating lives of wild birds are being captured live on a retirement village’s ‘Nestwatch’ cameras – with nocturnal residents turning out in their nighties so they don’t miss the action.

Inspired by the BBC’s Springwatch, cameras have been installed in three of the 40 nesting boxes in the 100 acre grounds of Middleton Hall Retirement Village, in Middleton St George, near Darlington.

Visitors and residents have been avidly following the progress of the wildlife on a television screen in the village’s reception area where they can see a live feed of the birds.

So far, a tawny owl has laid three eggs and residents have been gripped by the nightly calls to her mate as he goes hunting for mice to feed the prospective mother-of-three.

Pat Webb, 68, said: “We come down at all times to see what’s happening. Everyone’s fascinated by it.

“I love owls and it’s something that you would never get the chance to see so close up normally.”

The scheme was the idea of operations manager David Richardson, who arranged to have the cameras installed before the birds began using the boxes.

Mr Richardson said: “A couple of the residents have been going down in their nighties so they don’t miss anything as the action happens at night. They’re always letting me know the latest goings-on in the nest which is great.

“One of the reasons programmes like Springwatch are so popular is probably insight into the secrets of nature people usually don’t get to see.

“It’s a chance to get up close and personal with wildlife, seeing what the birds’ habits are and how they live.”

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