Whilst we are all getting ready for Christmas, hanging stockings, preparing food and buying gifts, the natural world is settling down for the winter. Some of the birds that have been here for the summer months, are now heading South in search of sunnier climes. Animals such as dormice are starting to get ready to hibernate and sleep the hard winter months away. But some animals do neither – they continue with life as normal and face the challenges that the coldest months of the year have in store for them.
When it comes to your garden, there are many things that you can do to help the creatures that struggle through these hard months. Not only is it beneficial to the animals themselves, but also can be very good for you – being able to sit and watch the birds on the bird feeder for example can be so entertaining and a great way of relieving stress. Shepherd huts are a great way to have a room in your garden that you can enjoy all throughout the year to watch the wildlife from. There are also a few things that you can do around the garden at this time of the year to make it more wildlife friendly.
One of the favourite places for animals seeking shelter is in piles of fallen leaves. If you have a lot of trees dropping leaves all over your garden, collect them all up and place them in piles in secluded spots, such as under hedgerows, or in a quiet corner of your garden where they are unlikely to be disturbed. Some of the creatures that will benefit from them are frogs (especially if you have a garden pond or there is one nearby), hedgehogs and insects. Remember, if you are having a bonfire, check underneath it thoroughly before you light it to make sure there aren’t any animals sheltering in it!
Cleaning all of your bird feeders, tables and nest boxes is a good thing to do at this time of the year. Nest boxes may well contain fleas or bugs. Use boiling water, and a disinfectant that is suitable for use with animals to clean the box thoroughly ready for the birds to make new homes in. Do the same with the bird feeders and water bowls. Remember to keep the bird food and water topped up on a daily basis at this time of the year, as food is scarce and birds will become reliant on your help to get through the winter.