While you may be winding down from work for the Christmas holidays, it is important that you don’t forget to take care of the wildlife in your garden. Of course, it is important to care for wildlife for the entire year, but winter can be a particularly difficult season for wildlife which means anything that you do for them will be of great help. If you are unsure of what you can do to lend a helping hand to birds, insects and other wildlife in your garden this Christmas, here are some ideas:
1.Leave Mature Ivy Uncut
Despite the fact that it may look a little untidy should you refrain from cutting back any mature ivy in your garden. It provides a place of shelter for insects to hibernate in and its berries will serve as a food source for birds that may have difficulty locating food elsewhere during the winter months. Also, this could be one of few garden tasks that involves doing nothing at all.
2.Rearrange Fallen Leaves
This may sound odd, but you should gather up any fallen leaves from the main lawn or patio areas and paths of your garden and rearrange them under hedges and shrubs. Arranging them to create leaf mould piles will provide a safe and warm place for a variety of animals, such as hedgehogs and other small mammals, amphibians and insects, to reside over the cold winter months.
3.Bundle Your Stem Cuttings
Instead of disposing of the stems you cut from herbaceous perennials, bundle them up into small piles and tie them with garden twine. Put these bundles in safe, dry and sheltered areas of your garden for insects and small mammals to use as a sheltering place during the winter.
4.Empty and Clean Bird Nest Boxes
Bird nest boxes are a brilliant place for birds to keep safe and sheltered during the cold weather, but it is important that they are kept clean. After months of use, it is possible that the boxes could contain fleas and other parasites and diseases, which could then cause harm to the birds using it. You should avoid any harsh chemicals though, as these could be dangerous. Simply dilute a little washing up liquid in boiling water and a scrubbing brush. Rinse the box thoroughly to get rid of any detergent residue and allow to dry completely before hanging back up.
5.Clean and Relocate Bird Feeders
Just as disease can build up in nest boxes, it can also make an appearance in bird feeders, which means that it is also necessary to clean these to ensure that birds are kept healthy. Again, simply dilute detergent in boiling water and thoroughly rinse and dry before filling up again. Ideally, you should also move the feeder to a different location in the garden every few weeks in case it is the specific area of the garden that is prone to the disease.
Is there anything you do to ensure that wildlife in your garden is well-cared for over winter? Share your ideas in the comments!