As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, many of us begin to spend more time indoors. But just because we’re not out and about as much doesn’t mean that local wildlife is taking a break. In fact, winter can be a tough time for many animals, as they struggle to find food and shelter.
But there are things we can do to help. By making our gardens more wildlife-friendly, we can provide a much-needed haven for birds, mammals, and invertebrates during the winter months. Here are some simple things you can do:
1. Put up bird boxes and nesting boxes
Giving birds a place to nest will help them through the coldest months. Make sure to put up your bird boxes before the end of October, so that birds have time to find them and get settled in.
2. Provide food and water
Birds and other animals will be looking for food as winter sets in, so make sure to put out bird feeders and leave out some water. Keep an eye on the water levels though, as they can freeze over quickly in cold weather. You could also try making a simple birdbath heater, which will stop the water from freezing solid.
3. Plant some winter-flowering plants
Providing nectar-rich flowers for bees and other pollinators will give them a much-needed boost during the winter months. Some good plants to try include: snowdrops, winter aconites, and violas.
4. Leave some areas of your garden wild
Letting some areas of your garden grow wild will provide valuable shelter for animals and insects. If you have a hedge, consider leaving it un trimmed for the winter, as this will give small mammals somewhere to nest. You could also leave a pile of logs or stones in a quiet corner, as these can make great homes for reptiles and amphibians.
5. Make your garden more energy-efficient
By making your garden more energy-efficient, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also help to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also try planting trees and shrubs to provide natural windbreaks and shelter.
6. Always check before gardening
Be sure to check leaf litter and log piles for hibernating animals before disturbing them. Hedgehogs, for example, often hibernate under piles of leaves, so it’s important to be careful when gardening in winter.
7. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides
Pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to local wildlife, so try to avoid using them in your garden. If you do need to use them, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and only use them when necessary.
8. Be patient
Don’t expect results overnight it can take time for wildlife to find your garden and make use of it. But by making your garden more wildlife-friendly, you’ll be giving animals a much-needed helping hand during the winter months.
By making a few simple changes to our gardens, we can make a big difference to local wildlife. By providing food, water, and shelter, we can help animals to survive the winter months. So let’s all do our bit to support our local wildlife this winter!
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