I love wildlife, and around here we get rather a variety if you are looking.
Birds, badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, wild rabbits, mice, owls and bats are common here.
I encourage it all, except the foxes. I like foxes from a distance, but as I have pet chickens and bunnies I don’t like them too close.
Bats.org.uk has some handy tips on gardening for bats and making bat boxes.
For attracting the cute fluffy wildlife you need shelter and food! Ideally hedges for something to hide in/under, and grass with native wild flowers as this is what they munch outside of your garden after all. You can buy lawn seed premixed with wild flower seeds, talk about easy peasy!
I put this in my garden today. Mainly in my fruit and flower bed and then patched the lawn.
The RSPB is also great for information on encouraging wildlife, it’s not just about birds. You might have seen the RSPB give nature a home adverts on Tv recently, I love it. It shows a girl making a hedgehog hotel! I get hedgehogs (or hedge pigs as I call them) visiting here regularly. I’ve started putting out special food for them recently, and they keep coming back.
A few years ago I almost killed a baby hedgehog by accident… I had been using slug pellets you see, the ones that are bright blue. The hedge pig had eaten a couple of slugs that had nibbled at the pellets and it poisoned the poor little boy. Luckily I saw him, sat under my tomato plants and weeds in the veggie bed, and I realised straight away he was in bother. Hedgehogs don’t like daylight, they are nocturnal so it’s unusual to see them up and about in the day, but not worrying. If the hedgehog is seemingly sun bathing it needs your help.
I didn’t know what to do really, but I looked about in the garage thinking what I could use to help him. I used our green recycling box and put some bunny bedding in it, along with a plant pot saucer of water and some blackberries, strawberries and long grass from the garden. On went some thick gardening gloves and I scooped him up, he was terrified but too ill to run away so I put him in the box and put the lid on to make it dark for him. Now he was safe from the neighbours pet cats I googled for “hedgehog rescue” and found a local-ish center. He was collected a few hours later and the lady looked very concerned and said he wouldn’t have lasted if I hadn’t warmed him up and got him nibbling berries. A few weeks later I got a lovely phone call to say he had pulled through and was being released into the wild again. I don’t use slug killers anymore!
Other small wildlife will be seeking shelter too, and stacks of logs or twigs (with the bark still on) can attract all sorts! Also place stones in a pile in the flower beds. Personally I’ve got a small pile of slate “skimming stones” my boys bring back from beaches. It makes a good den for insects.
Attracting owls? Good luck, owls are free spirits and go where they please, often avoiding human housing areas. The reason we see them around here is the abundance of wood mice and rabbits in the area, and an owl conservation/breeding project a couple of miles away.
As for normal garden birds, it feels like my garden is the bird cafe of choice! I have a few bird feeders* and also regularly put out the bread crusts. We’ve become so well known with local birds that some of them pace about in front of the kitchen window if I don’t. Cheeky things.
By far one of the most important wild animals you can help are the humble bumble bees. Even if you have a tiny garden please plant a few flowers in pots. Anything is a help.
Disclosure, sponsored post. I was compensated for writing this post, all words are my own.