Placing food in your garden can make a huge contribution to helping wildlife over winter. The opportunity to see wildlife at close quarters is always a treat.
By doing the following in your garden during winter will turn it into a haven for wildlife. The assortment of creatures can increase to not only survive but thrive.
Providing high fat content foods for garden birds in winter allows then to keep warm. Be sure to feed regularly and consistently so that birds do not expel energy visiting your garden when nothing is available.
Carry out these tasks in from November through to May.
- Place fat cakes within a metal cage. Balls in plastic bags aren’t a good idea as Woodpeckers can get their tongues stuck.
- Make your own fat cakes. Place things like fruit, berries, seeds and meal-worms within them to attract different species.
- Put finely chopped left over meats and grated cheese out for smaller birds such as Wrens.
- Continue to supply the normal seed and nut mixes like you were doing in Autumn. This helps maintain a stable diet for them.
- Feed placed on ground feeder platforms with attract ground feeding birds such as Robins and Dunnocks.
- If you want to attract song birds like Thrushes and Blackbirds, scatter dried or over ripe fruit on the ground for them.
Caring for other critters
- Disturb your bonfires before you light them for sheltering and/or hibernating animals, such as Hedgehogs, Toads and Frogs.
- Place a golf or tennis ball in the water of ponds to prevent it from freezing over. Do not break the ice as this can send shock waves through the water which can harm wildlife.
- Be careful when rotating your compost heaps. As these are excellent locations that remain a consistent temperature during winter allowing animals like Frogs, Toads and other animals to have a winter home.
- Provide a shallow dish of water on the ground. This will benefit other garden wildlife that needs to drink, as well as birds.
- Make an insect hotel and put it up in a sheltered position. Overwintering ladybirds and lacewings will find this useful.
- In February, clean out bird boxes so they are ready for the coming breeding season.
- Don’t cut back healthy herbaceous and hollow-stemmed plants until early spring. These can be homes for overwintering insects.
There is lots to discover in the woods this season. Be sure to wrap up warm and have fun. Explore a winter wonderland with these outdoor activities you can do on your woodland walk.
Go out when there has been a small covering of snow on the ground or it has rained and made the ground muddy. These are the perfect times to go out looking for tracks of animals. Check out this website for more information.
This season birds like to congregate together before nightfall and find an area to roost that will keep them warm during the night. The seasonal Starling roosts are a spectacle that should be experience. They can involve as many as 100,000 birds during the hour before sunset performing what seem like acrobatic stunts in the twilight sky. It is called a ‘murmuration’.
Some animals are still out in the wilderness looking for food and would greatly appreciate a shelter to take cover in the wintry weather. Collect some sticks and twigs, place them in a sheltered spot against a rock or tree for instance, arranging them in a wigwam shape. Weave bendy sticks between the up rights to create the walls of the shelter. Once these den is solid cover it in dry leaves, moss and bracken to camouflage it from predators and to keep the inside of it dry. Don’t forget to put some dry leaves in the den to provide a warm environment for the animal to snuggle up into.