29 Dec 2016

Breeding Birds

It’s the time of year when birds are getting ready to breed and are looking for safe places to build their nests. Hedgerows, trees or even an old tea pot can be the perfect place for them to rear their chicks, so why not build a nest box and make nest material balls to help them out? Make sure you leave wild patches in your garden so that birds can find loads of caterpillars, flies and other insects to feed their chicks. There’s loads you can do to help our feathered friends; take a look out our video for more ideas.

Queen Bumblebees

The biggest bumblebees you see at this time of year are queens who are looking for mouse holes and other secret places to nest. Most like to nest underground and will use leftover straw in mouse dens to build their own nest. Under your garden shed is often a good place to spot them buzzing about. Make sure you’ve got early-flowering plants so that they can find the vital food they need. One plant you could add to your garden to do this is common barberry which has lovely yellow flowers in the spring which are great for bees and butterflies. Take a look at our fantastic Bumblebee Garden for inspiration!

Emerging from hibernation

Toads, hedgehogs and bats all come out from hibernation at this time of year. They’re all very hungry and looking for places to shelter during the day. To help them you could keep a compost heap topped up so that they can find loads of food or make a bat box, toad abode or hedgehog house to make sure there’s somewhere safe for them to sleep during the day. You might be surprised to know that toads and hedgehogs travel far and wide to find everything they need to survive so make sure they can move through your garden easily by creating paths like hedgehog monorails. Watch our video for more hints and tips on how to make your garden a hedgehog haven. You could even grow night-scenting flowers so that nocturnal wildlife like bats can find lots of moths to eat.

Beautiful Butterflies

Beautiful painted lady butterflies are currently making the long journey here to the UK. Some will be coming straight from North Africa and will start arriving throughout April and May. They come here to breed and lay their eggs on thistle leaves that the caterpillars then love to eat! And to help these fluttering beauties out requires minimal effort, try not to keep your garden too tidy so they can find somewhere to live. Use our fact file to see if you can be the first spot these stunning butterflies this year and let us know on our recording form.

For more hints and tips on how you can help our precious UK wildlife take a look through our guides and resources here.