Everyone can attract wildlife to a garden, even with the smallest of outdoor spaces. All it takes is a little bit of planning, a little bit of wildlife know-how, and the desire to help the native species of wildlife flourish.
It’s easier than you think to attract birds to your bird feeds, and if you have a variety of the best seed for throughout the year, then our feathered friends aren’t going to struggle to find food in the colder winter months.
Peanuts – Loved by tits, house sparrows, greenfinches and spotted woodpeckers, peanuts are rich in fat, ideal for when birds need to store up energy. Be careful that the peanuts aren’t salted or dry roasted, as these can be toxic to birds.
Bird cake and food bars – Usually sold in nylon mesh bags, fat balls and other fat-based food bars are again perfect for the lead-up to the colder months when birds need to start conserving their energy.
Make sure that you remove the nylon-bags before putting them into the garden, the tiny holes can catch the feet and legs of smaller birds, leading to injured birds.
Foraging Sites – From my own experiences, birds love to forage for bugs and other creepy crawlies. I have two resident black birds that love to root around (and throw around) the bark mulch in my fernery.
I usually see smaller sparrows, robins and tits rustling around under the Pampus grasses and the shrubs planted near the bird feeder. These sheltered foraging sites mean that the birds feel safe from predators, and have a supply of nesting materials at the right time of year.
Pollen Rich plants – Pollen and nectar rich plants throughout the year maximises the choice available for bees, butterflies and moths. From the Spring-Flowering Crocus to the Oriental Poppy, creating a veritable feast for all the buzzing insects doesn’t mean your garden has to look untidy and colourless.
Try to avoid plants that have been bred and cultivated to have double blooms, as these generally have less pollen and nectar in them. Plants such as Digitalis “Foxglove” are ideal for bees, as the trumpet shaped flowers give them easy access to pollen and nectar.
Home-made Bug Hotels – Making sure that bugs have somewhere safe to live is easier than you think. Create your own bug hotel by half-burying a pot into the ground with twigs, stones and old leaves in a shaded corner of the garden.
Don’t be too tidy in the back corners (if you have any) of the garden. If you have a pile of twigs, branches, rocks and leaves then you’re more likely to encourage some of the rarer species of bugs into the garden, including stag beetles.
Hedgehogs – Hedgehogs are a gardeners friend (in my opinion anyway) as they keep the slug population down throughout the year, ideal for me as I have vegetable patches that are prone to being ravaged by slugs and snails.
Making your own hedgehog hibernacula (hotel) couldn’t be easier. It can be anything from a pile of old logs to a custom-made box filled with dry bedding and newspaper. Leave it over winter, so if you do have a resident hedgehog it won’t be disturbed whilst it’s hibernating.
Frogs & Newts – Put shortly, you need some water in your garden to attract frogs, toads and newts. Anything from a custom-made pond to a sunken pot can create the perfect environment for our amphibious friends.
Make sure that the pond/water area has a gentle slope on one side. This lets all the smaller birds; animals and amphibians get in and out of the water safely. Make sure that you have plants that can provide shelter for frogs and newts, they’ll feel a lot safer and more likely to take up a permanent residence.
So there you have it, some tips on how to attract wildlife to your garden. What do you think? What do you do in your garden that attracts wildlife?
Please do tell me about your own experiences in the comments below, and share on Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook so that everyone can start to attract more native wildlife into their gardens too.