The short days, frosty mornings and wet weather isn’t just hard for us, wildlife have an extraordinarily difficult task in finding enough food, (non-frozen) water and shelter for the colder months. But here’s how you and your garden can help.
Feed the birds
Sunflower Seeds: The single best all-rounder for wild birds is the black-oil sunflower seed. With thin shells and rich in fat and protein, almost all garden birds appreciate these.
Peanuts: Similarly popular with most birds and squirrels are peanuts. Though they can be more expensive than seeds, pound shops often have cheap bags full.
Suet: No winter bird table is complete without suet feed, and of course you can have fun making your own, but from suet pellets, balls to coconuts filled with a suet/seed mix, there plenty of options for this fat-rich food.
Fruits: A great way to use up leftover fresh and dried fruits from Christmas is to put them out for the birds. Fruit slices can be impaled on tree branches or dried fruit put into feeders.
Tip: Don’t forget to regularly clean and sterilise feeders,
Do not disturb
Toads and newts like to spend the winter in shed or greenhouse corners, under pots or in crevices. try not to disturb them or other sheltering wildlife such as spiders, moths and butterflies by leaving your garden rather untouched.
Over tidying can be a problem for these sheltering species, and in fact spreading fallen leaves on your borders to mulch can really help give smaller species a place to hide.
Water, water, everywhere
Ponds should also be cleaned out (between October and January is best), but in order not to kill any species trapped in the weeds you remove, lead the debris for a day or two spread out on a patio for them to escape before you dispose of it.
But then as your pond freezes over, rest a pan of hot water on the ice to melt a hole so that wildlife can drink or dip. Don’t break the ice as the shockwaves disturb smaller species.