Wildlife heaven

Forests are great places for wildlife. The trees create lots of different habitats, from the airy canopy to the sheltered heather on the forest floor or the insect hotels of rotting stumps. In places like Windyhill near Johnstone and Balkello near Dundee, which were poor, bare farmlands until just a few years ago, birds and squirrels came to live among the trees almost as soon as they were planted.

Beautiful patches of native pine forest, like Glen Affric, Glenmore Forest Park and Invereshie & Inshriach are remnants of the open woodland that once covered much of the country. On the west coast, the Atlantic oakwoods of Sunart are magical, light, airy places, the trees draped in lichen and the ground covered with wildflowers in spring. At Monadh Mor and Achnashellach there are patches of bog woodland, where trees grow among forest pools that are home to colourful dragonflies and other insects.

Our part to play

We plan our forestry work to make sure the woods provide the best possible conditions for wildlife. In many places we’re replacing fast-growing species like Sitka spruce with native trees like Scots pine, which create a much richer environment. We take special measures to look after some species, such as protecting exclusion zones around osprey and golden eagle nesting sites. We even make sure that the trees along salmon rivers cast the right sort of dappled shade: fish are part of the forests’ wildlife too.

wildlife collage

See it for yourself

You’ll find information here about some of the best known wildlife and how to see it – as well as some you might not think of as forest species. But you don’t have to make a special trip to discover woodland wildlife. Just take the time to sit quietly in any forest, and you’ll see and hear something of the wealth of activity among the trees, from flowers and insects to birds and mammals.

The best times to enjoy this spectacle are early in the morning or an hour or two before sunset, when it’s quiet. And if you come on one of our guided trips, we can show you some of the hidden signs that tell you just what’s going on in the woods.

Browse by species or use the Find a Forest search box on the right to find somewhere to explore near you...

Kirroughtree webcam

If you simply can't wait to see some wildlife in person, take a peek at our Kirroughtree Visitor Centre wildlife camera. Keep an eye out for red squirrels, woodland birds, and even roe deer...