WILDLIFE IN YOUR GARDEN

Know It. Grow It.

BIRDS IN YOUR GARDEN

AUTUMN & WINTER

At this time of year, put out food and water EVERYDAY. In severe weather, feed twice daily in the morning and in the early afternoon.


Birds require high-energy (high-fat) foods during the cold winter weather to maintain their fat reserves to survive the frosty nights. FAT BALLS ARE PERFECT FOR THIS..

never allow uneaten foods to accumulate around the feeder, AS THIS CAN ATTRACT UNWANTED PESTS.. Once you establish a feeding routine, try not to change it as the birds will become used to it and time their visits to your garden accordingly

Image by Simon

BIRDS IN YOUR GARDEN

SPRING & SUMMER

During the summer months birds require high protein foods - especially while they are moulting. Ensuring the feed and the feeder is kept clean is essential during the summer months - otherwise feeding birds may do more harm than good.


  • Black sunflower seeds, pinhead oatmeal, soaked sultanas, raisins and currants, mild grated cheese, mealworms, waxworms, mixes for insectivorous birds, good seed mixtures without loose peanuts,

  • Some people use soaked dog or cat food and tinned pet foods, but these may attract UNWANTED PESTS.

  • Avoid using peanuts, fat and bread since these can be harmful CHOKING HAZARD if adult birds feed them to their nestlings. 

  • Home-made fat balls can go soft and rancid in warm summer weather, and should be avoided. Commercially produced fat bars are suitable for summer feeding but discard AFTER 2 WEEKS AND THOROUGHLY WASH FEEDER.

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Temporary food shortage can occur at any time of the year, and if this happens during the breeding season, extra food on your bird table can make a big difference to the survival of young.
Birds time their breeding period to exploit the availability of natural foods: earthworms in the case of blackbirds and song thrushes, and caterpillars in the case of tits and chaffinches. It is now known that if the weather turns cold or wet during spring or summer, severe shortage of insect food can occur, and if the weather is exceptionally dry, earthworms will be unavailable to ground feeding birds because of the hard soil. In order to help with this, buggy nibbles and mealworms can be provided during these times to prevent starvation.

Image by Vincent van Zalinge
 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO ENCOURAGE BIRDS IN THE GARDEN?

Fluffy Dog

NESTING MATERIAL

WHEN YOU BRUSH YOUR DOGS FUR PIN IT TO THE CLOTHES LINE FOR BIRDS TO USE FOR THEIR NESTS

Image by John Fowler

WATER

BIRDS NEED TO DRINK, PROVIDE A SOURCE OF WATER THROUGHOUT THE YEAR ESPECIALLY IN FREEZING TEMPERATURES.

Birds on Frozen Grass

FEEDER

FEED BIRDS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR SO THAT BIRDS KNOW WHERE TO RETURN TO WHEN FOOD IS SCARCE.

Coriander Seeds

FOOD

ONLY FEED BIRDS FOODS THAT HAVE BEEN PRODUCED TO FEED BIRDS AND FEED FOOD SUITABLE FOR THE SEASON.

 

HEDGEHOGS IN YOUR GARDEN

Hedgehogs are a gardener's friend, as they eat beetles, caterpillars, worms and other invertebrates.

Leave areas of the garden wild, with piles of leaves and logs with lots of nooks and crannies for hiding. These are an attractive nest as well as a home for the invertebrates that hedgehogs like to eat.


Making an artificial home can be as simple as placing a piece of board against a wall. Or you can buy a purpose-built hedgehog house.

Image by Alexas_Fotos

SPACE TO MOVE

Hedgehogs are very active at night and in a single night can travel up to one mile, so they may need help to get into and out of your garden.


Try cutting holes in your fences, removing bricks from walls, or digging tunnels under the garden boundary - with the consent of your neighbour. Hedgehogs can travel through gaps as small as 13x13cm, so these gaps don't need to be large. Or, swapping your wall or fencing for native hedgerows provides a route in and out of your garden, as well as shelter for a range of wildlife.

Image by Piotr Łaskawski
 

FEEDING HEDGEHOGS

Supplementing a hedgehog's natural diet by leaving out food and fresh water is a great way to encourage local hogs into your garden. Leave out foods like tinned dog or cat food and cat biscuits or crushed dog biscuits. Good quality, meaty specialist hedgehog food can be bought from wildlife food suppliers.


Never feed hedgehogs milk as it can cause diarrhoea; instead provide plain, fresh water in a shallow bowl. Bread should also be avoided as it's low in nutrients.

Remember to check the food and water bowls in the morning to top them up with fresh water and remove the food to discourage pests. Replace with fresh food in the evening.  


To discourage disease from spreading from hedgehogs who feed from the same bowl wash the bowl each morning with hot soapy water outside of the house.

selective focus photography of hedgehog eating on green grass field_edited.jpg

HEDGEHOG-FRIENDLY GARDENING

  • Hedgehogs are a little clumsy and can easily fall into uncovered drains or holes in your garden.  To prevent this cover holes or check them every day to make sure no hedgehogs have become trapped.

  • Place bricks or stones at the side of ponds, or create a sloped edge on part of the pond to give hedgehogs a way to climb out if they fall in. 

  • Check for hedgehogs before using strimmers or mowers, particularly under hedges where they might be resting. Hedgehogs also like to rest in compost heaps, these should also be checked first for any nesting hogs before forking over. 

Image by Alexas_Fotos