Four ways you can help wildlife this summer
Summer is in full swing and looking out from your window it is tempting to think that everything is rosy for the wildlife that inhabits your garden, your local park, and the countryside beyond. However, even when food seems plentiful, times can be hard for wildlife so a helping hand could make a vital difference.
Birdseed feeds more than just birds
Birds have had mixed breeding success this year, with some species being badly affected by the wet weather, so it is nice to see roving bird families utilising the feeders on our flagship wildlife sanctuary, Baronsdown. Fledglings will often still try to beg food from their parents, even though they are big enough to look after themselves. It is funny how birds that don’t have obvious facial expressions can manage to look disappointed when their parents ignore their pleas.
If you are providing feed for birds, it is quite likely you will be unwittingly feeding other creatures as well. Bank voles are sometimes seen out in the daytime, rushing out from low vegetation to grab a fallen seed before scurrying back into cover. At night, they are likely to be joined by wood mice, rats and maybe hedgehogs too. All this activity can attract the attention of larger wild animals, such as foxes, badgers, and tawny owls, looking for an easy meal. A strategically positioned night vision camera can reveal all sorts of nocturnal activity that you are completely unaware of.
Think twice before cutting long grass
If you are lucky enough to have a garden and you can’t resist the urge to keep it tidy, do make sure you check around for wildlife that may be hiding in the long grass before you let loose with the lawnmower or strimmer. There could be a hoglet, a froglet, or even a leveret tucked away in a clump of grass and none of them are any match for a flashing steel blade or a whirring nylon cord.
Plant night-scented flowers
One group of animals that is rarely given much consideration is moths, yet they are important pollinators for many plants, as well as being food for numerous species of bat. Those of us with a few years under our belts will remember how a light at night would attract swarms of moths, but sadly this is no longer the case. Moths need night-scented flowers, rich with nectar to keep them fuelled, so why not plant a honeysuckle or jasmine plant, or a few evening primrose. You can enjoy the sight and scent, while moths enjoy an evening feast.
Keep bowls of fresh water outside
One thing all these wild animals need is water, which can be in short supply, especially during a long, dry spell. Put out a shallow bowl of fresh water every day and you are likely to see a variety of wildlife calling in for a drink or a bath. It is vitally important that feeders and water bowls are kept clean to prevent the spread of disease, which is something we should all be doubly aware of now.
Thank you for taking the time to learn how you can help wildlife in your local area this summer. Our League sanctuaries provide a safe place for animals of all kinds, where the horrors of hunting and shooting are not permitted.
Please consider supporting the maintenance of these vital places of refuge by donating below: