Help Wildlife this Winter!

Blue tit (Parus caeruleus) and coal tit (Parus ater) perched on branch in snow, UK - Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

While the weather is getting colder and we are turning up the heat and getting cosy at home, it's easy to forget about the wildlife outside. Take a look at a few ways to help wildlife this winter!

Make your garden WILDER!

Let your garden stay wild throughout the winter. Undisturbed piles of leaves and brushwood make great homes for animals to hide, rest and hibernate in. 

If you are using open fires or log burners to stay warm this winter, please carefully check log piles for hibernating hedgehogs and try not to disturb them. If you are planning on having a bonfire, please carefully look for wildlife in the leave or woodpiles and carefully move them to another sheltered location.

Feed the birds...

Through these icy cold months, birds can struggle to build up and keep the body fat they rely on to keep warm.

Help the birds in your garden refuel with full bird feeders – garden birds love seeds, fat balls, dried mealworms or waxworms and even halved apples. Any extra food you can put out for them will make a big difference. 

garden

Ben Hall

Ice, Ice, Breaky!

If you have a frozen pond in your garden make sure you gently make holes in the ice. In frozen pond water, toxic gasses build-up that can kill fish or frogs that may be hibernating at the bottom.

Never use force or boiling water to break the ice as this could harm or even kill fish living in the pond. You can make a hole in the ice by carefully placing a hot pan of water on the surface. Or place a tennis ball in the pond to keep it from freezing over (and if it does, removing the tennis ball creates an instant oxygen hole for wildlife.

 

Food, Water and Shelter are essential!

During the winter, food, water and shelter can be tough for animals to find, but they are essential for them to survive. 

Putting out small treats, making sure bird baths are ice-free or leaving out shallow bowls of fresh, clean water, and providing shelters in your garden can really help the animals visiting your garden.

Just remember, only leave small quantities of food so your animal guests don't become dependent on handouts. 

hedgehog shelter

Best treats to give wildlife:

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs hibernate through the winter, but can occasionally wake early.

They love minced meat, tinned dog food (non-fish based), fresh liver and even scrambled eggs!

Be aware – although they like milk, it can be very bad for them, so it’s best to stick with water.

Foxes

Foxes like cheese, chicken carcasses, boiled potatoes, bread and scraps of fat at dusk.

Badgers

Badgers' favourite food is earthworms, which are difficult to find when the ground freezes. You can help them by providing cheese, lightly cooked meats, peanuts, and fruit.