For garden wildlife, winter can be a difficult season and there are some crucial jobs you can do to help them survive. Growing plants for birds, bees and other wildlife is a great way to support them, providing valuable sources of winter food and shelter.
You should also clean feeders and nest boxes to reduce the build up of diseases and to kill parasites. But don’t worry if you have neither, as you could try making your own nest boxes and feeders from old pots and logs.
Read on to discover five winter wildlife gardening jobs you can be doing at this time of year.
Clean and move bird feeders
To maintain a healthy population of birds in your garden, clean bird feeders regularly by scrubbing with hot water and mild detergent. Rinse well and allow to dry naturally before refilling. Move feeders every few weeks to prevent disease build up in any one area.
Washing a wire bird feeder
Avoid cutting back mature ivy
Avoid cutting back mature ivy to provide shelter for hibernating insects and to ensure its flowers provide autumn sustenance for late-flying pollinators. Ivy berries are also an important source of food for birds in late winter.
Bushy mature ivy
Gather up fallen leaves
Continue to gather up fallen leaves from lawns and paths and create leafmould piles under hedges and shrubs. This will provide a safe overwintering habitat for hedgehogs, small mammals, amphibians and insects.
Gathering fallen leaves from a lawn
Empty and clean bird nest boxes
Empty and clean out bird nest boxes, which may contain fleas and other parasites. Use only boiling water, mild detergent and a scrubbing brush. Rinse the box thoroughly after cleaning and allow to dry naturally before repositioning.
Pouring boiling water into an emptied bird nest box
Create bundles of stems
Bundle together stems which have been cut from herbaceous perennials and leave them in a sheltered, hidden place. Anything from ladybirds and other beetles to small mammals will take shelter here, being on hand to tackle early pest infestations in spring.
An armful of pruned stems