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Wildlife on our campus

Our Heslington campus is located on over 200 acres of parkland centred around substantial lakes.

The University is is famous for its abundance of wildfowl, but also hosts a diverse range of other wildlife. A bird sanctuary has been established at the southern end of the lake.


The University's lake and wetlands make our campus a popular place for many species of wild and semi-wild wildfowl including ducks, geese, swans, grebes, moorhens, coots, and herons. The two ruddy shelducks were donated by the York Annual Fund in 2009.

For your daily fix of York fowl, be sure to check the Duck of the Day.

Feeding the birds

Please do not feed the birds! While it can be tempting to share your lunch with our feathered friends, these are wild animals and there is plenty of natural food for them to eat.

In the event of winter food shortages, Estates Services ensures our birds get enough food.

Campus Tree Trail

Campus Tree Trail

Find out more about our arboreal assets on the Campus Tree Trail.

Have you spotted these animals?

Record your wildlife sightings!

We want to understand more about the biodiversity of the university’s campuses. To help us do this, please record your sightings on our wildlife recording website.

The website was created by staff at the Stockholm Environment Institute through the OPAL project. 

Other animals

The campus is also home to other animals, including rabbits and squirrels.  The University lake is stocked with fish; seasonal fishing is permitted with a license.