Autumn is officially here: the trees have lost their leaves, there’s a distinct chill in the air and the nights are starting to close in. Autumn is a beautiful time of year, full of inspiring colours and cosy clothes, but it can be a trying time for our wildlife! Here at Find Me A Gift we stock a really great range of products to help out all the little wild critters that may wander in to our gardens – combine that with the fact that we also love animals and you’ll understand that this post was an easy one for us to write! Read on for handy tips, tricks and some great product inspiration!
Let’s start off with our flying friends. Autumn and winter can be less than happy seasons for wild birds. The fact that they don’t hibernate means they are left to try and make it through the cold, dark months. Natural food is scarce: the ground freezes over, insects aren’t in abundance and the berries and seeds end up eaten or weather-beaten. The shorter days also mean that the birds have less light to look for food, which they are in desperate need of in order to generate the extra energy needed to keep them warm during the big freeze!
How can we help?
- Provide regular food: your winged visitors will be incredibly grateful and will come to trust your garden as a source of food, meaning you get to see them more often!
- Provide a bird bath and keep it from freezing over: regularly pour hot water to melt ice, move it to sunny areas of your garden or opt for a high-tech heathed bird bath!
- Provide shelter: shelter in the winter is very, very important and birds will search for it in your eaves, porches, trees, roosting baskets and of course bird boxes.
We have a great selection of bird feeders, boxes and other equipment, so to see it all just click HERE
As autumn is here and winter is drawing ever closer the timid secretive Hazel Dormice are getting ready for the big sleep by fattening themselves up on a rather varied diet! They love pollen from flowers such as hawthorn and sycamore in the spring and in summer they lick pollen and nectar from honeysuckle. They also eat insects, and now will be feasting on berries and fruits including blackberries and of course, hazelnuts! These little mice have such a fluffy tail they are more like mini squirrels than mice! They can be found amongst blackthorn hedges in southern England and in pine woods in the Midlands; where they will munch on pine pollen. As soon as the temperature consistently stays below 15C their metabolism shuts down and they find a a secure and dry place to build their nest. So keep your eyes peeled for any fattening up and then don’t disturb any hibernating dormice if you come across them!
Now that the cold weather has set in we may start find groups of ladybirds huddled together in our houses! Do not fear they are not the plague, well unless they are the European ones which are classed as a pest and are wiping our true British Ladybird! They simply want to hibernate! They tend to hibernate under bark or in leaf litter but if these aren’t available they will decide your house is a bitter option! You can however buy one of these Ladybird houses for your garden which offers ladybirds the conditions they love for their long slumber! Ladybirds give out a ‘Ladybird perfume’ which in the summer is thought to deter predators and in the winter allows other ladybirds to find hibernating ones, therefore if you have one of these houses – once one falls asleep in it, they will all be snuggling up in their!
Hedgehogs really are gardeners’ friends, feasting on snails, slugs and insects that may otherwise wreak havoc in our hedgerows. By way of a thank you we should help them out during the cold autumn and winter months. Shelter and food are the most important things for hedgehogs, so they can build up enough fatty reserves to get them through hibernation. Visit this webpage on the RSPCA’s website to read all about how exactly to best help your prickly pals this winter, including information on what not to do! You can also download a factsheet to help you really do best by your bristly buddies!
Our favourite product for helping out hedgehogs is the adorable ‘Igloo Hedgehog Home’, which you can buy here!
We have lots of other wild and wonderful products that can help encourage, protect and provide for the wildlife in your garden. From Butterfly Biomes to Bee Hives and Ladybird Houses, whatever your wildlife needs we can [probably] provide!
Having a garden that wildlife is fond of is a great thing. These creatures help us so much throughout spring and summer, so autumn and winter should be our time to give a little back!