It’s week two (week one is here) of our tips and activities during lockdown and this time it’s all about helping and attracting wildlife.
With the arrival of spring all the birds, mammals, amphibians and insects are busily foraging for food, building nests and preparing for new arrivals. Here are some easy projects you can do in your garden, backyard or balcony to make it a magnet for wildlife and provide year round interest for you and your family.
- Make a bug hotel. There’s a really simple one you can make with kids for your garden or balcony from recycled materials. You can also drill 2-8mm wide holes in fence posts and log piles too. You can even create a bug mansion.
- Make a wildlife corridor. If you have a fence, remove a small section at the bottom to allow hedgehogs and frogs into your garden.
- Plant a mini meadow. If you don’t have any ground space you can create a mini meadow in a window box. Sow a wildflower seed mix in a large container and position it in a sunny spot. Seeds are still available in supermarkets even during lockdown.
- Create a mini pond. This is a great way to encourage wildlife to hang out in your space. It can be as simple as an old washing up bowl, sunk into the soil with a big rock or a brick in the middle just under the water to allow easy access for frogs and newts. Position it in part shade. You can add an oxygenating plant to keep the water fresh. Affordable plants are available at Amazon at the time of writing and the RSPB has a step by step guide.
- Build a log pile – it’s an ideal habitat for small mammals, amphibians and insect critters.
- Put up bird feeders. Birds will love the food and you will love watching them feed. You can make recycled bottle and carton feeders and the RSPB has lots of year round bird feeding advice.
- Provide water for wildlife. You can just put out a shallow dish. Sloped sides are important to allow easy access to the water. Keep it regularly topped up. A hanging bird bath is a good option if you’re short of space. Hang it from a tree or wall.
- Make space for a nest box. Most gardens, even tiny ones, have space for a bird box or two, and this is a great way to encourage nesting birds to make a home in your garden. You can easily make one from a recycled flower pot.
- Relax and enjoy. And when you finally head indoors how about trying some nature and countryside podcasts and apps – here are a few for starters:
David Attenborough’s Life Stories – BBC Radio 4A series of talks by the master of nature documentaries on the natural histories of animals and plants from around the world.
30 Animals That Made Us Smarter – BBC World ServiceA series on all the different and unusual things humans have learned from observing animals.
Draycott diaries – a locally produced series of podcast that provide a charming insight into rural life round Draycott near Cheddar.
Download the iNaturalist app to your phone, it’s a fun way for kids and adults to learn about what they find and to contribute to science at the same time