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During Winter, our feathered friends and garden wildlife struggle to find enough foods to keep them going until the warmer months return. Along with that, the colder temperatures make life harder and they need more energy to stay warm! Follow these 5 easy steps to make your garden a safe haven for wildlife.
1. Feed Them Energy Boosting Food
As winter gets colder, birds especially use more of their energy to stay warm. The natural foods they’re used to finding in warmer months become more scarce and it becomes more challenging for them to stay energised and aware of predators. You can give your garden birds a lift with some feeds that are high in fat, check out below on what feeds work best!
- Birds – mixed seeds, sunflower seeds, nyger seeds, fat balls, suet blocks, mealworms, berry feeds.
- Hedgehogs – dried grubs, meat-based wet dog/cat food
- Squirrels – sunflower seeds, chopped carrot
- Badgers – Peanuts, dried dog food, mealworms, fruit
- Small mammals – mixed seeds
2. Provide A Clean & Warm Shelter
Bird boxes are an ideal way of providing birds with respite from the colder weather. You can also use other areas in your garden to create shelters for other wildlife to hibernate in. Compost heaps work well for frogs and toads. You should make sure you thoroughly clean out your bird boxes and feeders with warm water and a brush. You can also gather fallen leaves and create leaf-mould piles, place these underneath hedges for hedgehogs to hide in!
3. Always Have Fresh Water Available
You can do this by always having a birdbath in your garden for wild birds to stay clean and hydrated. Put a sturdy and shallow dish on the ground for all wildlife to enjoy also! If you have a pond you could melt a hole in it so fresh water is always available for wildlife. Melt it gently with a kettle of hot water to avoid disturbing any wildlife that could live underneath the water!
4. Be Extra Careful When Working Outside
Before taking on any outside jobs, make sure you double-check what you’re moving! Hedgehogs feel safe in dark, quiet places and you don’t want to disturb them! Check areas like compost piles, log and fuel storage areas and open sheds!
5. Create Natural Areas
Forget the gardening this winter, leave herbs, bushes and dense herbaceous areas unpruned until Spring. These make great homes for small mammals or insects. However, if you want to trim the tops of your plants, you can keep the stems and bundle them together. Leave them in a quiet place for ladybirds, beetles and other wildlife.