Top Tips To Help Wildlife In Winter
For most of us, the onset of winter weather has little effect on our ability to shop for food, beyond the minor inconvenience of an icy road or footpath. But spare a thought for the wildlife close to you that can very quickly starve when snow or freezing conditions arrive. So here’s a few quick tips that will make a world of difference to the wildlife around you.
Feed The Birds
Because birds quickly struggle to find their usual natural food sources such as worms, insects, seeds, fruit and berries, the food you put out for them will keep them nourished through the lean times. Put out a range of bird seed (sunflower hearts, niger seed etc) and unsalted peanuts, as well as table scraps of cheese, apples and pears. A handful of dried mealworms will go down a treat too.
Put Out Fresh Water
It’s easy to assume that our wildlife can get water anywhere but that’s not the case, and especially not during freezing conditions. Put out a shallow bowl of fresh water, up high for birds to safely drink, or on the ground for mammals. Bird baths as are a really useful asset to have in the garden.
Feed The Mammals
Though it’s important to only leave out food that will be readily eaten within a day or so, putting out small amounts during the winter can give mammals are a real boost through the tough months of winter. Dusk is a good time to put the food out.
Badgers will appreciate unsalted peanuts, mealworms, cheese and fruit, such as apple and pear. Foxes will of course thank you for leaving out a chicken carcass after you’ve finished with the Sunday roast, but they’ll also take small chunks of cheese, cooked vegetables such as boiled potatoes, as well as table scraps and bread soaked in fat.
Break The Ice
The build-up of toxic gases within a frozen pond can be a killer for any fish, frogs or other animals that may be hibernating there. Try not to use the ‘sledgehammer’ approach of force or pouring boiling water on to the ice to avoid the risk of harming the wildlife in there. Instead, simply place a pan of hot water gently on to the ice.
Postpone the full garden tidy-up
Although it may be tempting to blitz the garden in autumn, cutting back all the dead clearing away every last leaf, try to delay this, in at least part of your garden. If you can learn to live with the odd pile of leaves and bits of brushwood, or twigs, you’ll be providing very welcome shelter for animals to take shelter within. Animals of all kinds need places to hide, to rest in or even hibernate, and our garden’s plant material is ideal for them.