It’s that time of year when the wind howls, leaves tumble from the trees and the very idea of setting foot outside the warm comfort of your home makes you shiver.
Coincidentally, it’s also the time of year, when many species of wildlife need a helping hand to survive the coming months and scarcity of food that winter heralds. By enticing wildlife into your garden and creating a habitat that caters for different animal needs, you can enjoy wildlife and nature from your window over a steaming cup of tea and some buttered crumpets. No need for a scarf, a hat or the slightest shudder.
Much maligned of late for their controversial role in the spread of bovine TB, badgers have had a bit of a bad press. Nevertheless, they are a well-loved, native species to the British Isles. Badgers are nocturnal and spend much of their time in their setts. Sometimes, however, they wander into gardens and across roads looking for food. Put out tasty nibbly treats of raisins and peanuts to attract stripy friends into your garden.
Hedgehogs hibernate between the months of November and March, so rather than attracting them into your garden, it’s best to take heed of their presence when clearing your garden during this period, as you may find a prickly ball curled up in your compost heap or a pile of leaves. If, however, you do spot a late hibernator wandering around the garden in search of food it’s best to feed them with water, (not milk as this makes them ill) and hedgehog food which can be purchased from most good pet shops.
Squirrels are liked and loathed in equal measure. Unlike hedgehogs, they do not hibernate during winter, but rather spend their time gathering nuts. Squirrels particularly enjoy peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds, so a scattering of these in your garden is sure to attract these furry fellas.
Urban foxes can be a pest and are often unwanted visitors. If, on the other hand you want to attract foxes into your garden now is a good time of year, as foxes do not hibernate and are always scavenging for food. Kitchen scraps, including meat are great to leave out, but be sure not to leave mouldy, rotten food for them.
Encourage wild birds into your garden by providing them with seed mixes, peanuts (through steel mesh to prevent choking or beak damage), suet blocks and fat balls. Bird tables and seed feeders are a great way to provide food and will attract a wide variety of colourful birds to your garden.