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Royal Horticultural Society garden wildlife tips

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has some timely tips for gardeners during this season of fallen leaves and chilly weather.  Bird feeders are a big attraction all year, but especially in the winter when natural forage is harder to come by.  Keep seeds, nuts and table scraps available, but be sure to clean feeders regularly, keep tables and other areas below feeders free of food debris, and scrub feeders and bird baths with mild disinfectant once a month at least.

If there are old abandoned nests in nest boxes, clean them out thoroughly and replace the boxes so they can provide winter shelter for other creatures such as hibernating butterflies.  Additional shelter can be provided just by piling branches that you have pruned from trees or shrubs in a fence corner or any area protected from the wind.  This sort of woodpile will attract insects, which in turn attract the birds that feed on them.

In will also invite amphibians such as toads and frogs that live mostly on land during the winter, and may provide a hibernating place for a hedgehog.

Another suggestion is to refrain from pruning flowering ivy until the berries have finished, since those berries are an important source of food for birds and small mammals during winter and early spring.


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