Trying different ways to help wildlife is a really great thing to do. Animals sometimes do just fine without us, but since humans often mess up their habitat, our help can also be needed. There are lots of things you can do to help animals get through the winter, and small gestures can make an enormous difference. Here are some simple ways to help wildlife …
One of the obvious ways to help wildlife is to put out water for them. Obviously this is more suitable for those who have a garden! It only takes a few moments each day to put out a bowl of fresh water, and to check that it hasn’t frozen over. If you have a pond, putting a ping pong ball in is supposed to stop it from freezing.
Wildlife will also appreciate any form of shelter that you can offer them. You can provide purpose-built shelters for them, such as hedgehog boxes. Shelter can also be much simpler – that pile of leaves can be a homely haven for an animal, so don’t throw them away.
Not only will feeding animals give you the pleasure of watching them in your garden, but it will provide valuable calories that will help them get through the cold winter. What you should put out depends on what animals and birds are to be found in your area. Birds will love nuts, seeds, and any crumbs or crusts that you have left over.
As well as food and water, there are other, less obvious ways to help wildlife. Before starting your car, check that an animal hasn’t climbed into the engine to keep warm. This can happen with cats (ok, they may be domesticated, but it’s still worth checking). You may also save the life of a stray!
Most gardeners will snip off flower heads in the fall, as part of the process of tidying up their garden at the end of the growing season. Think twice before you do that – those dead flower heads may not look pretty to you, but to an animal they may represent a tasty meal. Leave dead flower heads for them to make the most of.
One of the ways to help wildlife that most people don’t consider is that you should always check before starting a bonfire. Whether you’re burning garden rubbish, or having a bonfire as part of a celebration, always look to see if any animals have hidden inside. Your bonfire may look like a nice shelter to them …
Finally, plan ahead and grow some plants that will provide food for wildlife. There are many plants that will grow berries and fruits that animals will love, and as I've mentioned above, others provide seeds that the animals can take advantage of. So look for some wildlife-friendly plants that are suitable for your garden.
There are lots of ways to help wildlife survive the winter; if you live in a cold climate anything you can do to help is really valuable. We tend to think that animals can look after themselves, but they often do need our help. With numbers of some species dwindling, it’s vital that we do what we can. What do you do to help wildlife out in cold weather?
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