Looking After the Birds and the Hedgehogs

This week-end was the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - the world's largest wildlife survey that gets people giving feedback on the birds they see in their gardens so that trends can be monitored and it shows which birds are doing well and which are struggling.

German made bird box 
We try and do our bit to support wildlife in the garden but with the Catapultoes around, are very careful about encouraging birds on the ground.  However, the smaller birds who feed in the trees are fast and careful  and so we focus our attentions on supporting them.  Ade managed to spot this extremely well made German nest box tucked away in the "Garden Retro" section of a vintage market and managed to negotiate a good deal on the price as it had been sitting around unsold for ages.  Every Spring the blue tits move in to raise their young and we wouldn't be surprised if they used it for roosting in the winter when the weather gets really severe.

Coconut suet feeder
Food is scarce in the winter so we offer dining facilities with suet and seed feeds

When we first moved into our home the garden was completely bare and we needed some cheap plants to give it a bit of life.  Also, as our garden is long and narrow, it works best for us to plant tall,skinny plants rather than short fat ones!  I found a baby pampas grass plant about 18 inches tall for about £2.50 and it grew up really quickly.  I didn't realise at the time how popular it would become with the wildlife.  The blue tits in particular find insects in the fluffy seed heads, and when its time to build their nests, they provide the perfect lining material for a comfy and cosy nest.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the plant, the dense network of fibres provides a dry and warm environment for our resident hedgehog (actually, there may be more than one!).  They seem to use it as a base all year round but also choose it as a top hibernation spot in the winter, which is great as hedgehogs are now considered to be an endangered species so anything we can do to help them is really important.  


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