Preparing your garden for wildlife this Winter
This upcoming Winter is going to be hard for many of us with all the economic, political, and environmental disturbances we are facing it’s difficult to predict what is going to happen. But for the wildlife in our garden, with changing weather, this year is just as unpredictable for them. There are a few things we can do in our gardens to help our local wildlife as much as possible this Winter.
This great article from Gardener’s world contains lots of tips for helping wildlife through the colder months, although some animals will be in hibernation for these months, others may need a little help to make it through.
As the snow lies and the ground becomes frozen, it’s difficult for birds to be able to find as much food as they don’t have access to insects. This means that birds will frequent your garden more during these colder months. For anyone who likes birds, leaving out food for them will benefit both them and you, as you will get a range of different types of birds making your garden full of life even in the duller season.
If you do leave out seed for birds, leave out some water too and ensure that this does not freeze over just be checking it whenever the weather takes a turn.
Most people love hedgehogs, these animals are severely at risk during the winter, particularly when they are young due to them being too small to hibernate. As well as this if the Winter is mild, then sometimes they awaken early, leaving them more vulnerable as they spend precious fat reserves searching for food that isn’t there for them. The extreme, unpredictable weather conditions we are currently facing also present a challenge for these creatures.
What you can do to help provide shelter for hedgehogs who go into hibernation, can be in the form of simply leaving a pile of leaves in the corner of your garden or making a hedgehog house. If you have kids, then this can be a fun activity for them and also allow them to see any hedgehogs who take up residence there over Winter.
As well as shelter, you can leave out food and water for them before they go into hibernation, hedgehogs prefer meat-based cat or dog food, so if you have some spare and you see a hedgehog around your garden at night, leaving some out can help them build up their reserves.
Frogs and toads.
You might think to yourself, where do all the frogs go in Winter? They don’t just disappear; they must go somewhere. Frogs hibernate during the winter, this means they could be at the bottom of your ponds, in piles of damp leaves, or even in log piles. So one of the most important things is to be careful when clearing any parts of your garden, particularly any piles as frogs or toads may be in there. This article from discovering wildlife speaks more about all the places hibernating amphibians like to hide to ensure you keep an eye out for them.
Particularly field mice for those out in the countryside, can often find their way into your home in the Winter. While mice don’t hibernate, they do try to find warmth and scour for food. This can lead them into your home which can result in issues with them potentially causing a bit of damage.
The best method for this is prevention, this can be in the form of mouse-proofing your house for the Winter, ensuring all small cracks are covered, holes are repaired, and entrances particularly to places like your garage are covered.
If this doesn’t work and a mouse manages to get into your house or if you already have one there then it is recommended to humanly remove them, humane traps can be found across numerous stores and the mice can be released back into the wild, ensuring they are a safe distance from your house so that they don’t simply turn back around and run in again!
There are plenty of ways that those who like to keep wildlife bustling in their garden can help them survive this winter while also avoiding them intruding into their houses. This will help out the local wildlife when they need it the most.