Top tips for caring for your local wildlife over winter19/01/22
If like us, you enjoy experiencing the wonders of nature, then you might like to help our furred, feathered and sometimes ‘other’ friends over the winter months. The UK’s wildlife is incredibly resilient, but be they bird, frog or hedgehog, they’ll still appreciate some extra help through the coldest months of the year.
Here’s some simple things you can do from late Autumn to mid-Spring, that will help increase the diversity of creatures that visit your garden, and enable them to not only survive, but thrive:
Our feathered friends…
Birds love fat blocks, although they should always be placed in wire cages rather than plastic nets, to make sure that birds like woodpeckers don’t get their tongues caught. Fat blocks, and other high-fat content foods, will help our garden birds keep warm in the winter. You can even make your own, by melting suet into moulds such as coconut shells, or logs with holes drilled in. Although fat is important, also try to provide a grain mix or nuts, to help birds maintain a balanced diet.
Different birds enjoy different foods, so putting out a selection of foodstuffs, or alternating what you put out, will encourage a wider variety of birds to visit. Try peanut cakes for starlings, insect cakes for tits and berry cakes for finches. You might even try putting out finely chopped bacon rind and grated cheese for small birds such as wrens. Birds like sparrows, finches and nuthatches will enjoy prising the seeds out of sunflower heads, and to help encourage ground-feeding birds, such as robins and dunnocks – food held in a wire mesh just off the ground should do the trick. Overripe apples, raisins and songbird mixes are also welcomed by birds like thrushes and blackbirds.
…And other creatures
Fresh water is vital for all animals, so if the weather turns really cold, melt a hole in birdbaths and ponds, to enable wildlife to drink. If you don’t have a pond, consider providing a shallow container of fresh water. Careful not to hit or crack the ice though, as this can harm any animals living underneath.
If the wood for your bonfire has been in-situ for a while, always remember to check for hedgehogs, frogs and toads before lighting it, as they are known to choose places like this to take shelter or hibernate. It’s the same for your compost heap, so be careful when you come to turn it.
Look after the insects too
Overwintering insects need somewhere sheltered during the cold months. Unpruned herbaceous and hollow-stemmed plants provide an ideal home, or you might consider making an insect or bug hotel.
We will be doing our bit for the local wildlife around Woodland Park Lodges this winter – and if you would like to find out more about how we look after our human visitors, check out our website for more information on our accommodation.