It's currently Hedgehog Awareness Week (3rd - 9th May 2020), and if you're looking for ways to look after these spiny sweethearts, you're in the right place.
Hedgehogs are still a fairly common sight in the UK, but their numbers are thought to be declining. Life can be a bit dangerous for a garden hedgehog - every November, we're reminded to check for hedgehogs before lighting the Guy Fawkes Night bonfire, but why stop at that? There are plenty of other things you can do to make the world a friendlier place for these much-loved creatures.
It's the breeding season for hedgehogs, and it's as important as ever to give these loveable creatures a helping hand where possible.
Although their natural habitat is woodland, our urban gardens are also favoured by them due to the plentiful supply of food and shelter. If they are very lucky, someone might have left hedgehog food out for them, too.
Hedgehog Awareness Week is organised by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) between the 5th and 11th May to highlight the problems hedgehogs face and what we can do to help them. More...
We are all encouraged to host a wide variety of wildlife in the garden. Apart from garden birds you can encourage bees, bats, butterflies and lots more bugs etc.
One way is to establish more wild flowers. At Really Wild Bird Food we have a wide range of wildflower seeds to transform your garden into a haven for the pollinating species! These wildflower seeds are a blend of extremely colourful ANNUAL garden and wild flowers perfect for brightening up areas of the large garden, estate or farm. With a striking mass of flower heads it attracts many different insects and invertebrates.
We also stock an interesting range of new homes for the Bees, Butterflies and Bugs. These are also the best and the most effective means to encourage a wide variety of bees, bugs and butterflies to your garden. These gorgeous and attractive new homes are lovely for them and will help in turning your garden very wildlife friendly.
See, for example The Original Bug Box
This is an attractive dual chamber insect habitat which can be hung from trees, pergolas, hanging brackets, or near ponds or scented plants. It provides an over-wintering habitat for insects like Ladybirds (natural aphid predators) and a home for Solitary Bees (non-aggressive garden pollinators) and other beneficial insects during the summer. Offering a variety of potential habitats, the top section is made of variable sized canes and the lower of bored solid timber. It is robustly screwed together and made from durable FSC timber with a roof of oak/acacia, or similar, which is naturally resistant to weathering.
To help you know more about your garden visitors, we have a wide range of Field Guides to help identify what you see.
Check out our website for all these wonderful new products!
There are bird friendly gardens and there are butterfly or even hedgehog friendly gardens. And now to help the dwindling population of bats there are many people who are encouraging bats to be their garden guests.
Things to do to encourage the bats into your garden include:-
- reduce the amount of insecticides that you use in your garden since some of these insecticides are harmful to the bats. Bats also feed on these insects which eliminates the need for insecticides to some extent.
- a garden full of flowers is an ideal ground for a variety of insects and the bats feast on these.
- any small pond in the garden is also quite encouraging.
- feed the bats with live mealworms!!
Now is a good time to encourage bats since the bats come out of hibernation during the spring.
At Really Wild Bird Food, in order to encourage bat friendly gardens, we now have in our stock the British Born and Bred Live Mealworms for bats. We offer this bat feed especially after special requests from a few of our bat friendly garden owner clients. These come in 1 kg bat packs and are specially packed keeping in mind complete safety of the bats. The storage of this live feed is also quite simple and can be easily stored at normal temperatures. Check the details on the website.
As we begin to see the end of winter and the beginning of spring it is time to check our gardens are good places for birds to thrive. First on the check list is to ensure there is a suitable place for birds to eat and drink, then there is the need to provide adequate nesting boxes.
To provide suitable places for birds to eat erect a bird feeding table and position it close to cover like a bush to provide cover in case birds feel exposed to danger of attack in open spaces. Obviously once you have a good bird feeding table you need to stock up with good bird feed that attracts the right birds.
While birds are easily lured by good bird food, there is also the matter of bird water baths. These can attract a variety of birds to your garden as they need clean water to drink and to keep their feathers clean.
The installation of bird nesting boxes in your garden will be a great help to birds. There is a wide variety of nesting boxes for birds easily available on the market. Varieties vary in material, sizes and size of entry hole. Due consideration needs also to be given to sitting of a bird box as different locations suit different bird species. You can have multiple bird nests in your garden placed slightly away from one another.
Bird nests that are a little weathered will be more inviting to the tiny garden birds than the very new ones.
At Really Wild Bird Feed we provide everything you need to provide a bird friendly environment in your garden. Whether it is bird feeding stations, bird baths, bird food, bird feeding station cleaning products or bird nesting boxes.
The numbers of hedgehogs have dwindled over the years. This decline over almost a decade is mainly because of the fragmentation of their habitats and difficulty in finding food.
However, small steps on our part will surely make the life of these tiny creatures significantly easy. There are a number of things we can do to help these gardeners' friends. The easiest thing we can do is to provide them with food and clean drinking water when the resources accessible to them are scarce. These resources are scarce mainly in the autumn and early spring.
Hedgehogs usually hibernate during the winter. Before hibernating they need to prepare their body reserves in order to last during the hibernation process. They need to feed well and to weigh at least 600 grams to ensure that they have sufficient fat stores to enter hibernation and last right through it.
Another way of helping hedgehogs is to provide a safe haven for them. A hedgehog house. With these safe retreats the hedgehogs can rest in these houses during the daytime and hibernate in safety.
When they emerge in the spring after hibernation they loose a considerable amount of their body weight. They are at significant risk during this time especially if the spring is cold and wet and there is again a scarcity of natural food around. So yet again providing supplementary food becomes necessary during these times.
Apart from this one can also create gardens that are hedgehog friendly. Making the garden hedgehog friendly could involve small and simple things like covering the drains or holes or even the swimming pools during the night time. You can also place bricks or wooden planks in the ponds to give the hedgehogs an easy way out as most love a dip in the cool water.
Hedgehogs feed on slugs, snails, insects and worms. Making piles of old wood will attract these insects and provide food to the hedgehogs.
These small steps on our part will definitely go a long way in making sure that the hedgehogs are well protected during the harsh times.
As the days turn cold, the threats that our feathered friends face increase. The food is scarce during the winter and sustenance during these times is a big issue for them. The birds need to struggle, not only for food but also for making it through the chilly season.
So where do we stand in helping our wild birds survive during these harsh conditions? Small measures by us can do their bit in helping the birds pull through the difficult times. These small measures by us can easily attract the birds to the gardens and help them to a great extent during the chilly days. But is your garden attractive enough to the wild birds?
As we know natural food is scarce during the wet and the cold days as the insect population is less. So it is important to try and create a garden which provides a rich supply of natural foods. The supplementary moist and high protein food will help the adults survive and subsequently sustain fledglings in the nest in the spring. Planting a range of native UK shrubs, trees and climbers will produce berries, seeds, fruits and nuts, nectar and pollen and will also serve as a shelter for the birds with nesting sites and nesting materials.
By simply leaving a few rotting log piles in a shady spot or an area of grass un-mown and messy will help a great deal in increasing the insect population in the garden. This tends to be a vital food source for garden birds which will help in attracting more birds into the garden.
During the freezing days it is important to supply clean fresh drinking water as the birds need to replenish their lost water. But obviously the use of salt, glycerine or anti-freeze should be avoided!
The more the variety of food, the more will be the variety of garden birds. So try offering a range of different bird food types in a variety of different types of bird seed feeders as the eating habits of different birds are different.
Apart from the early mornings, you will also need to restock food in the early afternoons to provide nourishment before dusk since birds need extra energy during the winters as they flap their wings in order to keep warm.
With these small yet vital measures of bird care, you can easily improve your chances of satisfying a variety of different species and enticing them back to your garden time after time!