If you are lucky enough to have a garden frequently visited by wildlife then you may think your job is done for the year once winter rolls around. Not so as those animals still need looking after during the coldest months. This goes for both the wildlife that lives on the land and in water, and here are a few simple, and easy to implement tips on protecting your garden wildlife during the winter.
If you have a garden pond inhabited by fish you will already be aware that this pond receives many visitors throughout the year. Many of these stick around during the winter months and even if you don’t see them chances are they are there. You need to regularly check your pond equipment to ensure it is working correctly and if you see ice forming on the top of the pond remove it immediately. Ice on the water is effectively starving the fish and creatures below of oxygen unless the pump is working properly.
Safe havens for hibernation
There are numerous animals which hibernate during the winter months including bats, dormice and everyone’s favourite the hedgehog. Creating a safe habitat for these creatures will allow them to spend their winter in peace before becoming a garden feature again once spring wakes them from their slumber. Compost heaps or a pile of leaves offer excellent shelter for a hibernating animal and you will be doing your bit to protect these animals from extinction.
If you in anyway unsure about making sure the wildlife in your garden stays safe during the winter then have a look online. Sites such as Swell UK have blog which offer great advice for throughout the year not just for winter. Blogs such as this offer great hints and tips regarding all wildlife as well as domestic animals, and can be described as your one stop animal shop.
Keep feeding the birds
It’s more important than ever to make sure our feathered friends are kept fed and watered through the winter as frozen ground makes it very difficult for them to extract worms etc. Those who keep up their bird feeding routine often make the very easy mistake of not changing the type of food they put out and also putting too much out. There will be less birds around so food will get contaminated much more easily, even with the lower temperatures; here is a quick guide to feeding wild birds in winter.
- During the winter foods with a high content should be left out for wild birds. These include bacon rind, cooked pasta and rice and cheese.
- Avoid dry starchy foods such as dry bread, spiced foods, desiccated coconut or salted nuts out through the winter as these provide none of the nutrients birds need to get through the winter.
- Many birds are lost through the winter months due to dehydration so ensure fresh water is put out daily and check it regularly to ensure it is not icing over. Do not use any kind of chemicals to try and stop the water freezing as these are very detrimental to the birds’ health.