Monday, 7 December 2015

How to Invite Wildlife Into Your Garden

With open and green spaces fast disappearing in our towns and cities, it is becoming increasingly imperative that we all make our gardens as hospitable as possible for a wide range of wildlife.  Gardening for wildlife is a wonderful experience for children, from the earliest age, and a great way to introduce them to ecology in an exciting, hands-on way.

Lack of space need not be a restriction, as even a windowsill can become a haven for wildlife.  You just need to be open to all the possible visitors to your garden, be they tiny or big!  This can also be the beginning of a fantastic project for older children, who can keep a record of your visitors, be it drawn, written or both.  You could even create a special area for them with a few decking boards, an old bench and access to blankets and home comforts.

Recording the wildlife in your garden could also open up opportunities to learn about food chains, habitats and much more.  Just like us, all creatures need only three basic things: food, water and shelter.  Here are some ideas on how to encourage wildlife into your garden:

Build a Log Pile

A great haven for insects and an ideal way to encourage the growth of mosses, lichen and funghi, this is sure to attract lots of birds to your garden, and may even provide a nesting place for bats.  Learn how to build one here.

Make a Bug Hotel

It doesn't need to be anywhere near as big as this one, just a small construction in a quiet corner will soon be teeming with flying and crawling life.  As that RSPB advert says, "If you build it, they will come."  This is a great guide to how to build one.

Feed the Birds

Such a simple one, but often overlooked, especially during the spring and summer when it is assumed birds can fend for themselves.  To a certain extent, yes, but with a growing lack of green space and natural habitat, some species are really struggling.  Commercial bird feeders, from the basic to the highly elaborate (and expensive!), can be found in all good garden centres.  One or two judiciously placed in your garden will have visitors teeming from all around in no time.

Of course, you can also make your own, a great fun project to do with your children.  Secure a string to the top of a large pine cone; cover the cone in peanut butter, ensuring all the nooks and crannies are filled; and then roll it in bird seed.  Hang from a tree or bird table, at least 3m off the ground to deter predators, for the birds to feed from.  They will soon find out there's a new feeding station in town!

Always ensure that there is a good supply of fresh, clean drinking water for birds too, preferably spacious enough for them to have a splash about and a bath in.  Old-fashioned bird baths are ideal, but do make sure tops are secured to bases so they do not fall and hurt a child.


These are just a few of the ways you can help, the RSPB has lots more ideas on how you can make a home for wildlife and welcome a diverse range of creatures into your garden.

And don't forget to enter our competitions!

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