Throughout the summer we are encouraged to plant butterfly and bee friendly plants in order to help with the environment and to support wildlife. Although we might not spend as much time in our garden over autumn or winter, it is still just as important supporting wildlife in your garden during these seasons.
Turning your garden into a haven for wildlife during all seasons will support the environment, helping to increase the amount of animals and insects that are able to happily survive.
The main benefit to you will be visually, as you are able to see regular and new species not only interact with your garden, but make use of it.
These animals are also incredibly beneficial as they all have an important part to play in our delicate ecosystem, devouring pests and so on.
Garden birds are particularly in need of your help during winter, as we continue to destroy their habitats they become increasingly reliant on us supplying them with extra food in our gardens during the winter months.
Birds will of course enjoy feeding what you put out for them all through the year, but in winter it is particularly important as they need fatty food to keep them warm. Bird food should be put out regularly if you want the birds to return and to avoid wasting previous energy visiting a foodless garden.
Look to keep a constant store of fatty food in the garden for the birds as soon as the frosts start to come, all the way through to Spring.
It is possible to buy fat balls already made from various high street shops, however, if you do purchase these do not leave them in the plastic nets they come in. Some birds can get their tongue caught in these nets, and small field mice can get their feet caught, causing them to go into shock and die.
Use a wire mesh bird food holder and fill it with the fat balls minus the nets. Alternatively you could make your own fatty treats for the birds. Melt suet and mix with seeds, dried insects, berries or nuts. You can pour the mixture into coconut shells, or into pine cones (which you then tie with string and hang off the tree) or you could even hollow short logs out and fill those with the mixture.
You can also fill your mesh bird feeders with seeds and nuts alone. To entice birds that eat from the ground and ones that eat from the trees, combine your filled bird feeders with scattering fruit, nuts and seeds on the ground as well.
There are lots of other animals in your garden you can look out for using simple tricks and tips:
Safety first – Always check log stores or bonfires for newts, toads, frogs and hedgehogs before you light it.
Digging – When digging large piles of soil or compost heaps, be gentle as some animals can find shelter in them because they are warm.
Water – To keep a source of water available in your garden melt holes in your pond by sitting a metal pan or metal mug with hot water on top. Do not break the ice as this could distress any creates living in the water. Try to also place bowls of water in other places in your garden, ensuring they aren’t too deep as wildlife could fall in and struggle to get back out again.
Nest boxes – Clean out any empty nest boxes you have so they are ready for spring.
Squirrels – it is your decision as to whether or not you see these rodents as welcome visitors or not in your garden. Squirrel guards are available on some bird feeders if you want to keep them out. Otherwise enjoy watching them flit around your garden and hang off your bird feeder in various comedic positions!