Today I am going to be listing small tasks you can do in the winter to help wildlife in your garden.
Winter is the hardest times of year, it is brutal for our wildlife. The cold, lack of food and water can really take its toll so, it is so worth looking after them!
Number 1 – Get rid of Ice.
Many people forget that the birds and other animals that visit your garden still need water to drink and bathe. So a really easy way to give nature a helping hand on these wintry mornings is to melt any ice that has formed in your bird baths. Just use hot water and let it thaw. This will provide an essential life line for wildlife residing in your garden. On particularly cold days, it is worth checking them throughout the day to make sure they haven’t refrozen.
In addition, if you have any fat ball feeders or products such as Flutter Butter in your garden; if you know temperatures will be below zero, bring them in the house. That way in the morning, the birds will have access to soft food that they can actually peck at.
Number 2 – Keep providing nutritious food.
Now I understand completely, that on freezing cold mornings, the last thing you want to do is venture out of bed to go outside. BUT!! Our birds are still active; they don’t just disappear in the winter. They need a good, reliable source of nutritious food now more than ever. High fat and high energy foods such as suet, sunflower hearts, peanuts and even mealworms are good foods. If we have an apple that has gone slightly soft, rather than waste it, simply cut it in half and put it on the ground for species such as blackbirds and thrushes to feast on. So keep on feeding them!
If you have noticed a lot of crowding and competition, it might be wise to spread food out around your garden, so they are not all confined to one area. This will reduce competition, and mean that less boisterous birds can have a meal too.
Number 3 – Think about what plants to grow to make you garden wildlife friendly.
This time of year is the perfect time to think about what plants you would like to have in your garden in the summer. Not only can you make it a wildlife haven, from birds to bees, but it gives you hope and something to aim for. Just think of yourself sitting in your magic place sipping on a well deserved Pimms!
Leave parts of your garden messy – nature likes that – perhaps gather old leaves and twigs to dry and then make a ‘Bugingham Palace‘? Wildflowers are an essential for attracting bees, butterflies to your garden and provide a beautiful spectacle to marvel at. Another thing I would encourage yo to do would be to insert a pond – nothing fancy – a washing up bowl will do (not only will this be a source of water, but an entirely new habitat attracting frogs, toads, and all sorts of invertebrates). And also, if you have a fence around your garden, make a ‘Hedgehog Highway’. These are vital to help protect our dwindling population of these spikey mammals, and you could even make it a community project and get your street involved.
*thrush and toad images in carousel from canva.com. The rest, unless stated, are my own.