Helping wildlife over the Winter

Most garden wildlife hibernates over winter, as food is in short supply and freezing temperatures make life difficult. There’s plenty we can do to help wildlife survive.

A small pile of leaves and twigs are cosy spots for tiny animals in winter. If you build a bonfire, check underneath for hibernating hedgehogs, toads and frogs before you light it.

Provide a shallow container of water at ground level. This will benefit other garden wildlife that needs to drink, as well as birds.

Provide high-fat foods such as suet and black sunflower seeds that will keep birds warm through the long, cold nights. Squirrels don’t hibernate and they are pretty creative when it comes to finding food. If you want to help them out though, squirrels love unshelled peanuts.

If your garden pond freezes over, carefully make a hole in the ice by placing a saucepan of hot water on the surface. Never tip boiling water onto it or break the ice with force, as this can harm fish.

In late winter, clean out bird boxes so they are ready for new nests in spring.