What can you do to help our wildlife ?

Now that the weather has started to get colder it is time for us to help the wildlife in our gardens , yards and even on balconies and window boxes .
Extra food will help the birds and mammals to get through this difficult time . Bird feeders or just dishes can be filled with seed or suet pellets . Coconut shells are great for the tit family (empty shells can be filled with fat mixed with seeds and re used ).You can buy feed from stores and on line suppliers or with some thought on your part you can come up with some great ideas yourself .
Different species like different foods so try to identify what birds visit your garden most frequently . Finches , tits , starlings , blackbirds , sparrows,collared doves , wood pigeons and magpies are a few species that are common garden visitors . Seeds , suet pellets , sunflower seeds , fat balls , fruit are all good foods for many visitors .
You can increase the number of visitors that you attract to your feeding station by trying different foods . Experiment and you never know what might call in !! If you use peanuts , which is a very good source of fat , use those NOT IN MESH BAGS,birds can get their legs caught in the mesh . Monkey nuts are a good food .
One of the most important things to remember is to keep on feeding once you have started . The birds will come to rely on your offerings and will use valuable energy in coming to you each day . It is therefore vital that there is food for them .
Make sure that you clean your equipment very regularly . Disease is spread via dirty feeders and dishes so hygiene is very important . Wash feeders and dishes in mild detergent and clean all leftover food away .
Water is absolutely vital for ALL wildlife . Even in mid winter birds need to bathe to keep their feathers in tip top condition. By cleaning the dust and dirt out of their plumage they ensure that they stay warm and are waterproofed . Clean drinking water is vital for all creatures survival . Remember that a simple dish of water on the ground will help . If you are lucky enough to have a garden pond make sure that the animals can easily access the water and that they can get out of the pond easily . On very cold days check that the water is not frozen! You can leave a tennis ball floating in the pond or a piece of pipe to keep a hole at the top of the pond . You can place a pan of boiling water on the surface to melt through the ice . Don’t smash through the ice as this will shock and even kill much of the life in the pond .Remember , gentle and quiet is always the best approach when dealing with wildlife and nature .

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