We always make sure to wrap ourselves up warm, but do any of us actually spare a thought for our winter wildlife during this time of year? Welcome to Blogmas Day 16!
As the nights draw in and the temperature drops below 0, all anybody wants to do is stay inside in the warmth, but do we think about the wildlife at this time of year? How do they cope in these cold situations and how can we help? Garden specialists, Oeco Garden Rooms, are promoting awareness and some handy tips on how to help and attract the wildlife in your garden this winter.
With the colder weather coming, it’s time to think about how you can help the wildlife thrive over the winter months, especially animals such as hedgehogs, squirrels, birds, insects, frogs and toads. These animals play an important part in our ecosystem, so we need to give them a helping hand when the cold weather takes over.
These handy tips will allow you to give the wildlife in your garden exactly what they need with shelter and warmth.
There are various methods of providing a perfect hibernating setup in your garden, but one of the easiest ways is to allow a designated area in your garden to overgrow. Letting grass overgrow provides a natural shelter and warmth for all kinds of wildlife.
However, if you don’t have enough space in your garden to let it overgrow, then stockpiling a few logs in a corner will provide ample shelter too.If you have the space in your garden, plant some trees. This will attract birds and insects to nest over time and will become a hive of activity over the winter months.
Planting wildflowers is also a great idea as butterflies and bees are drawn to them. Hedgehogs need large areas of grass to rest efficiently; hedgehogs classify this as their roof top for shelter.
Hedges add a safe area for birds to nest or for other small animals to gather in for comfort. They provide a large area, are enclosed from the rain, and are perfect for hibernating in the winter. Include a bird house into your garden, as birds depend on these in the colder months as shelter and warmth is what they need above all else.
Food & water
Hedgehogs require enough fat in order to survive the hibernation period. They hibernate between November and March and can be fed almost anything except milk and bread. Preferably they can be fed with cat food with chopped peanuts or peanut butter. To avoid fly eggs being laid onto the food, put the food out at sunset. Ponds can allow hedgehogs to regularly drink and stay hydrated, however make sure they can leave the pond easily by building a shallow edge. If you do not have a pond, put out a bowl of water that wildlife can drink from, making sure that it is replenished regularly.
Birds can quickly get around from one garden to the next. Supply food on a table and water to help out on the invitation. You’ll be helping them by contributing to their everyday go-to necessities which are harder to find during the winter months. Fat blocks are a great way at providing the necessary nutrition that a bird will need during these darkest nights. Similarly, seeds and ready made bird mixes are a quick and easy way to provide a nutritious diet.
Double check any drains, holes and pits to make sure they’re covered securely, as this can be unsafe for wildlife if they stumble across it.
Also, if you create bonfires or wood piles for burning, just double check that there are no nesting animals located within these piles. If there are, then consider waiting until the warmer months before disposing of the wood.
In case of extreme frosts, gently melt any frozen ponds by filling a saucepan with hot water and standing in on the ice to melt it. This allows animals to drink, and enter and exit the water. Never break the ice directly as this can cause harmful shockwaves through the water.
Alternatively, provide a shallow dish of water each day, that can be placed at ground level. This can benefit other garden animals too.
By following these handy tips, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are helping out wildlife during this tough period and attracting new visitors to your garden that the whole family can enjoy.