Most garden wildlife is hibernating this month, but there are some species that are out and about, particularly birds, small mammals such as mice and voles, and foxes.
There’s plenty you can do in your garden to help wildlife now, from feeding the birds and keeping your bird bath topped up. Not doing certain jobs, such as removing leaf piles or turning your compost hep, will avoid disturbing any hibernating species. But you can also plan ahead for next year by planting bare-root trees and shrubs, and making nest boxes.
Browse our list of key wildlife gardening jobs for December, below.
Keep bird feeders topped up
Keep bird feeders topped up with fat-rich food such as peanuts, suet products and sunflower hearts. The short days and cold nights mean that every calorie counts for garden birds – they use huge amounts of energy just staying warm at night.
Avoid turning compost
Avoid turning your compost bin or heap as it may be sheltering hibernating wildlife such as hedgehogs and other small mammals, as well as reptiles, amphibians and even bumblebees. Wait until April, when disturbance will be minimal.
Make a bee hotel
Make a bee hotel for solitary bees, using an old wooden box filled with logs with holes drilled into them, bamboo canes and the stems of other hollow-stemmed plants such as teasel and sunflower. Hang in the sunniest part of the garden (late morning sun is ideal). Watch our video guide to making a bee hotel.
Keep bird baths topped up
Keep bird baths topped up regularly with water. By bathing, birds are able to regulate oils in their feathers, enabling them to control their temperature more efficiently. Discover how to make a bird bath.
Plant bare-root native shrubs for wildlife
Plant native shrubs or trees such as hawthorn, holly, hazel, silver birch and guelder rose, which will provide a mix of flowers for pollinators, berries for birds and leaves for caterpillars (and therefore food for baby birds).