Towns and villages may not seem to be the best place to find wildlife and unlike many other regions, only a small percentage (1.3%) of Dumfries and Galloway is classed as urban. However, many species have successfully adapted to urban conditions and for a significant part of the human population these areas remain their primary contact point with nature.
Wildlife issues linked with urban habitats are sometimes represented in a negative context, such as pigeons, rats and roof-nesting gulls. However, we should remember that towns and villages provide important habitats, supporting a number of species of conservation concern. Swifts Apus apus, Swallows Hirundo rustica and House Martins Delichon urbicum use our houses and associated buildings for nesting and Song Thrushes Turdus philomelos are common visitors to many gardens. In fact gardens have the potential to provide havens for biodiversity and can be home to many species of butterflies and bees. Greenspaces, open areas often used for recreation and leisure such as parks and woodland, may have regionally and nationally uncommon species. Great Crested Newts Triturus cristatus are known from ponds within towns, whilst post-industrial sites hold Natterjack Toads Bufo calamita and Peregrines Falco peregrinus. Bridges and buildings are also important to some species, providing habitats for lichen and roosts for bats.
The Local Biodiversity Action Plan identifies two priority urban habitats:
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