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

Feeding Garden Birds This Winter

Feeding Garden Birds This Winter

Feeding birds who stay in this country over the cold winter months benefits both your feathered visitors and your garden. Nathan James Dodd describes how to encourage these visitors with bird feeders and specialist bird food.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Tuesday, 4th of November, 2014.

Haddonstone Bird Baths Reviewed

Haddonstone Bird Baths Reviewed

Haddonstone Bird Baths make handsome features in any garden, not forgetting their primary purpose of providing water for birds to bathe in and drink. Nathan James Dodd reviews the range available to gardeners.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Thursday, 16th of October, 2014.

Encouraging Hedgehogs Into Your Garden

Encouraging Hedgehogs Into Your Garden

Hedgehogs are always welcome visitors to the garden, interesting to observe and useful predators of garden pests. Martyn Loach describes how you can attract them into your garden with hedgehog houses.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Friday, 17th of October, 2014.

Siberian Snow To Hit Britain's Gardens

Siberian Snow To Hit Britain's Gardens

After weeks of strong winds and floods that have battered gardens in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Gardeners are now expecting freezing cold winds, ice and snow, as a winter blast from Siberia is on its way.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Thursday, 9th of January, 2014.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

Martyn Loach

Editor in Chief

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

Why Are Artificial Christmas Trees So Popular?

Why Are Artificial Christmas Trees So Popular?

So convincingly realistic, artificial Christmas trees are now difficult to distinguish from real ones. Nathan James Dodd discovers that no needle drop, annual reuse and a great range of natural styles are among the reasons why artificial trees are increasing in popularity.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Tuesday, 25th of November, 2014.

GardenSite Shed Donated To Local School

GardenSite Shed Donated To Local School

Regular readers of The Gardener blog will remember the workshop GardenSite supplied to the Gracechurch Shopping Centre in Sutton Coldfield earlier in the year. David Coton now reports that it has now been donated to a local school in Birmingham.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Sunday, 23rd of November, 2014.

Christmas Penguin Ornaments

Christmas Penguin Ornaments

Although from the southern hemisphere, while Santa Claus hails from the North Pole, penguins are essential Christmas characters and Nathan James Dodd explains how to complete your decorations with this quirky flightless bird.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Friday, 21st of November, 2014.

Autumn Gardening Shop

Autumn Gardening Shop

There's still plenty to do in the garden during November, and Nathan James Dodd explains why a visit to our online Autumn Gardening Shop may be very worthwhile.

Author: Nathan James Dodd

Written by Nathan James Dodd.
Published on Wednesday, 19th of November, 2014.