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Professor Yoda helps to protect our campus

Standing on the rooftop of the University Library, Professor Yoda surveys his territory. His posture is regal and his gaze is unflinching. Around him, the campus spans across in its full autumn glory.

Professor Yoda has an important job – to manage the population of seagulls on campus and stop them from nesting.

Yoda is a European eagle owl and so important to the University that he’s been given his own library card “in recognition of his valuable services to the campus”. In the summer of 2015, we made international news by being the first university to award a library card to a bird of prey.

Professor Yoda's library card
Professor Yoda’s library card

From his vantage point, Yoda can see the whole campus. To the west, the chalky grassland of Bathampton Down. To the north, beyond Bathampton Golf Course, the rich woodland that largely surrounds the entire campus. And to the east, Bushey Norwood, a semi-improved grassland managed by the National Trust.

The boundary habitat provides a home for a range of unexpected wildlife – pipistrelle bats, badgers, ducks, herons and even deer. The wildlife and the historically rich landscape are an integral part of our campus.

In 2014, we produced a plan for the local council outlining how we will protect and develop the green ribbon around the campus, including how to preserve the charm of the Ancient Beech Avenue and how to make sure the bats will have enough dark corridors in the woodlands to survive.

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Related links

Library card for Yoda!

Oxford University Press celebrates Yoda the Owl