Winter Wildlife in Your Garden

Birds, amphibians and other wildlife are good for your garden and fascinating to watch. In the winter it's not difficult to provide assistance to help them survive the cold.

Created by Martyn Loach on Friday, 4th of January, 2013.


A Robin in the Snow

Bird feeders are easy to set up. Place at head height away from cats and near a sheltered area such as a hedge, so that the birds can have a safe haven while feeding.

Winter Foods for Wildlife

Bags of specialised winter food is available from garden centres and many other retailers, as well as other high protein goodies such as fat balls that you can easily make-up in your kitchen.

Remember not to leave any netting or mesh, that you have used to hang food up, lying around once the fat is eaten - birds will get tangled in it. Also don't use polyunsaturated fats or butter that might get smeared on their feathers.

Fruit is a also a nutritious and juicy bird food, unsalted peanuts and bacon, fresh coconut and uncooked oats are other useful foodstuffs, as are leftovers such as bits of cheese, soaked dog biscuits, boiled rice and spare pet food (although the latter might also attract unwanted attention from cats). Never give birds milk, cooked oats or desiccated coconut.

Make Your Garden Bird Friendly

Try and make the garden bird friendly by not cutting down seeding plants such as sunflowers and encourage berry bearing trees and shrubs like holly, viburnum or pyracantha. You can also think about locating nesting boxes to provide shelter over the winter and a nesting site in the spring.

Bird baths, or just a dish of water, away from predators are also vital not only as a drinking source but also somewhere to clean feathers. Make sure the water is fresh and unfrozen.

Give Hedgehogs a Home

Due to a reduction in habitat, hedgehogs have declined in numbers tremendously over the last 50 years. Make sure there are gaps in your fence so that they can roam freely and wild areas with wood piles where they can shelter and hibernate. Plans for luxury hedgehog houses can be found on the internet. Slug pellets should also be avoided as they reduce the gasteropod's availability as hedgehog food.

Leave Some Mess

Don't tidy the garden up too much and leave any hedge cutting until the spring. Only clear away leaves from the lawn and paths, as frogs love to snuggle up in them to hibernate. Undergrowth and hedges provide shelter and feeding opportunities to many insects and animals.

Keep ponds clear of ice by pouring hot water over the surface. Some frogs hibernate at the bottom of ponds and this will avoid harmful gases building up from rotting vegetation. Dying plants should never be allowed to fall into the pond to avoid this happening. Try not to disturb butterflies who like to overwinter in sheds. Avoid destroying spiders' eggs and moth larvae when digging borders. If you do happen to disturb a hibernating amphibian, cover it up quickly with leaves or if you see a hedgehog who hasn't successfully hibernated, feed it on water and dog food, if it's small or out during the day it might be best to contact a specialist organisation for advice.

Related Articles

Which Preformed Pond Should You Choose?

Which Preformed Pond Should You Choose?

Preformed ponds are a popular alternative to using a liner, Dan Everton explains that they are moulded from plastic or fibre glass and available in a large number of shapes.

Author: Dan Everton

Written by Dan Everton.
Published on Monday, 10th of August, 2015.

Horticultural Facts and Figures

Horticultural Facts and Figures

With all the numbers from yesterday's budget in mind, David Coton has been looking through some statistics in relation to the horticultural industry.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 9th of July, 2015.

Populating Your Garden With Animal Ornaments And Statuary

Populating Your Garden With Animal Ornaments And Statuary

Although we all like to encourage wildlife into the garden, creatures of a more inanimate nature can populate the landscape. Not all are native to the British Isles and Nathan James Dodd describes how your outdoor space can become quite a menagerie.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Wednesday, 24th of June, 2015.

Attracting Butterflies With Buddleia

Attracting Butterflies With Buddleia

Of the many pleasures found in gardening, none is probably greater than encouraging wildlife. Interesting to observe and vital for pollination, insects can be fascinating and, in the case of the butterfly, beautiful visitors. As Nathan James Dodd explains, one plant - the Buddleia - is superb at attracting these wonderful creatures.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Friday, 29th of May, 2015.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

Martyn Loach

Editor in Chief

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Garden Ornament Sales Continue To Rise

Garden Ornament Sales Continue To Rise

Listeners to BBC Radio 4 will have heard a report on how sales of garden ornaments went up by 9% last year, Nathan James Dodd reports on the reasons for this increase.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Wednesday, 2nd of September, 2015.

Copper Decorations On Trend This Christmas

Copper Decorations On Trend This Christmas

All the signs are that Christmas will be copper coloured in 2015, with Nathan James Dodd seeing metallic hues, particularly copper, taking over from the traditional red and green decorations.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Tuesday, 1st of September, 2015.

Amazon Report Reveals Popularity Of Indoor Gardening

Amazon Report Reveals Popularity Of Indoor Gardening

A summer sales report from internet retailer Amazon has revealed some interesting gardening trends and Nathan James Dodd has discovered that we are becoming a nation of indoor gardeners.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Friday, 28th of August, 2015.

September Gardening Jobs

September Gardening Jobs

During September it's rewarding to look back at what your have achieved in the garden during the summer and, like Nathan James Dodd, consider the gardening jobs that are required as you prepare for the autumn.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Friday, 28th of August, 2015.