Winter Wildlife – A little help goes a long way.

Winter Wildlife

winter wildlife
Bird Feed

There’s no doubt about it there’s a nip in the air, and the media are scaring us with tales that the winter could be much worse than 2010. This means only one thing, time to tuck the plot in for the winter while trying to make it a haven for our wild animals this winter. That snug feeling of being tucked up in your superman onesie in front of an open fire (chestnuts roasting ob.), can feel even more content knowing you have done your bit for winter wildlife. If your cold and hungry imaging how that little robin at the end of your garden feels.

There are many activities you can undertake from the very simplest through to some that will take time and some expense. One of the simplest and most rewarding you can do is simply put feed out for birds. Whether you keep leftover bits of fat from bacon rinds, bread crumbs or go to the expense of purchasing seeds or mealworms you will greatly help out our feathered friends when food sources are scarce. It is also important to remember this much over looked fact, birds drink water ! And when there is snow on the ground or temperatures are below zero then this is not always easily accessible to them.

winter wildlife
Bird Feeders

As the days started to gradually get colder and the growing season started to run out, we started to think about bugs and small animals. There is a great abundance of wildlife up at out allotment (with most of it living in my shed), we are blessed to have seen hares, grey squirrels, all of your common uk birds, frogs and we even arrived one day to chase a small flock of grey lag geese from our neighbours salad patch. We had planted some asian vegetables late end of summer and were unable to harvest it all. Our Choy sum had started to flower and was covered in bees and hover flies. As we weren’t going to have time to gain another crop from this space we decided that it would do the bees a world of good to have that extra source of food so we left it in the ground.


With little to no growing on our plot the focus has mainly turned into maintenaince and improving our structures. We gave the plot a good tidy 2 weeks ago and removed some of the rubbish that was accumulating in one of the corners. There was some offcuts of wood and various logs that were sodden and probbly no good for the fire but we didnt want to disturb them as it was probbly providing home to many wonderful beasts. It can happily sit there until next year when the weather starts to pick up and nature is back to its most energetic.

The simplest things we can do can mean the difference of survival or not for our winter wildlife.

Overwintering Part 2 – learn from mistakes

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Bird Feed, seeds, peanut, sunflower seeds, mealworms, bird seed, suet balls, bird mix, mixed seeds

Im very much a believer in the term “learn from your mistakes” and this week it was very much prevalent, whilst I sat in my van having a builders salad (sausage roll) in the drizzle, watching the birds feeding from our offerings. I have always been a nature fan and my mother always enjoyed feeding the birds, so we would go out of our way to purchase food and collect household bird friendly scraps. My mother worked as a primary school teacher and yearly used to make suet balls and put bird feed out with her class to inspire the children, and it certainly rubbed off on me. The only difference between our back garden and the plot of  grass outside her classroom is the wildlife that we attracted.

There is a great abundance of wildlife up at out allotment (with most of it living in my shed), we are blessed to have seen hares, grey squirrels, all of your common UK birds, frogs and we even arrived one day to chase a small flock of grey lag geese from our neighbours salad patch. This is not something that we have had to contend with before.

This post is going to focus on how to get your bird feed to, well…. the birds of course !

Tuesday just gone I finished my work an hour early and having been on the right side of town to my allotment I thought I would pay a visit. 10 minutes after filling up the bird feeders and after just replenishing fresh water in the bird bath, mother nature decided to bless me with a shower of fine rain that can only be described as the type that “soaks you through !” so I decided to take an early tea. Id barely unwrapped my salad before I seen a large well fed black and white cat immediately start to skulk my plot. Not wanting to inter fear in nature my inner Attenborough said to me just observe, and as I poured my coffee I could resist narrating the scene in front of me in the style that only the great man himself could. Here we see… is said in my head filling my shirt with pastry flakes, knowing fine well if that cat had got one of my birds I would have flapped at him like id just sprayed mace in my armpits. Simple answer to this solution if you are a cat owner put a bell on your cat and give the birds a chance. If you do a google search there are thousands of article showing the correlation between the rise of domestic cats and uk bird decline.



After chasing the cat back into the housing estate where I presume “Its Humans” live, I returned to the van to finish the crossword when only a few moments later I spotted an old friend, who we have hilariously nicknamed Sirrel The Squirrel, make a reappearance. He seemed nervous at once then just went for it. This was the first time I had hung a suet ball feeder at the allotment. It fell to the ground more to the surprise to Sirrel than to me, because I gasped but Sirrel must have jumped his body hight at least 10 times. The problem was I hung the suet ball holder on the end of the branch foe the birds but not expecting the weight of a squirrel the branch snapped.

Another quick tip I learnt this week from the internet when leaving water in a dish or bowl for birds to drink or bathe their feathers in, place a ping pong or tennis ball in the bowl to stop the water freezing. I dont know the exact science myself but I linked it on our twitter feed so it must be from a reliable site.

No doubt I will have more failures and even more successes for my quest to become one with nature this winter.



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