With winter quickly approaching, we have been thinking about how we can help our furry friends get ready for hibernation and how to help them find food throughout the harsh months. There are some very simple ways we can help i.e., leaving food & water out for birds, creating shelter for hedgehogs and building bug hotels for beasties.
Feeding the Birds
You may not know that different species of birds like different foods so its important to keep an eye on which birds visit your garden. Greenfinches love sunflower seeds and peanuts, whilst small seeds are favoured by House Sparrows and Dunnocks. The most important thing to remember when feeding birds is make sure they can find and easily access your offerings; provide lots of resting posts for them to land on (out of reach of predators of course!).
Below is our Mini Beast Planter, designed to give a home to a wide variety of mini beasts, bugs & creepy crawlies. Once filled with the correct materials and planted with flowers it will attract and shelter hundreds of little creatures, giving children the perfect chance to watch them flourish. Filling the planter with flowers high in pollen and nectar such as Dandelions, Lavender and Crocus will attract Bees and provide sustenance for all living things within the bug hotel.
Place large items like bricks and logs at the bottom of the bug hotel, making sure every gap is filled with dry leaves, dead wood and small sticks. As you move further up, use smaller items and remember to use small tubes (not plastic) like bamboo for solitary bees. You could even incorporate a hedgehog house into the bottom layer using dry leaves to create a cosy nest.
- Keep water sources ice free (children love this job!)
- Different species of bird like different foods, watch to see who visits your garden
- Small leaf piles can be a great home for a small creature, leave it undisturbed until warmer weather returns
- Children are great at caring for animals, let them get involved!
Badgers & Squirrels
Larger animals like Badgers, don’t hibernate and may benefit from a helping hand to find food. When the ground is frozen they really struggle to find earthworms, so we can help a little by providing lightly cooked meats, cheese, peanuts and fruits. Squirrels are well known for storing their food when its easy to find, but when its really cold we can help them out by providing nibbles such as hazelnuts, walnuts, chopped apple or carrots.
If you ever find animals hibernating be sure to leave them be.
Some Useful Links
Homemade Fat Ball Recipe
DIY Hedgehog Home
Wildlife Watch Activities (free downloads)