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Encouraging wildlife in your garden

Wildlife shelters

Creating a variety of spaces for different wildlife to live and nest can make animals and insects feel at home in your garden.

To create wildlife shelters, you could:

  • leave rotting logs or a pile of leaves in a corner of your garden to make a home for hedgehogs and insects
  • drill holes in pruned branches and logs to provide insects with shelter and nesting space
  • have an area of your garden that you leave alone - overgrown areas can give animals like hedgehogs space to rest or hibernate
  • put up bird and bat boxes to encourage creatures to nest and rest in your garden

Create a pond

Ponds are a magnet for wildlife. They attract animals such as:

  • frogs
  • toads
  • newts
  • dragonflies and other insects

They also provide water for birds.

If you haven’t got much space, you could use an old sink or bath to provide a pond habitat.

Encouraging birds into your garden

You can help birds in your garden by providing them with food and somewhere to bathe.

If you want to attract birds to your garden, you can use bird feeders and bird tables to encourage them.

If you set up a bird table / feeder in your garden, remember to:

  • keep bird tables away from places that cats can get to, or put them near prickly bushes to deter unwanted predators
  • clean bird tables regularly and don’t leave food out to rot
  • keep feeding regularly, as birds come to rely on food you provide - they can suffer if they waste energy flying to find food that isn’t there

Birds need to bathe frequently to keep their feathers in trim, so even a small bird bath can be very valuable for attracting birds.

If you have a cat, put bells on your cat’s collar. This should warn birds that your pet is approaching. Multiple bells are best because some cats can learn to move silently with just 1 bell on their collar.

Choose wildlife-friendly plants

Think about wildlife when deciding on what to grow in your garden. Choose plants that attract and feed a variety of insects and animals. For example:

  • sunflower seeds provide food for birds once the flowers have died
  • lavender attracts bees
  • buddleia is great for butterflies and bees
  • red valerian, honeysuckle and night-flowering stock will attract moths
  • native ivy is one of the best wildlife plants of all, benefiting birds, mammals, butterflies, bees, hoverflies and other useful insects

Only use pesticides as a last resort

Pesticides are designed to kill and control pests, weeds and fungi. However, they can also kill or discourage the wildlife you want to attract to your garden, including the predators that eat pests.

Try to:

  • avoid using chemicals wherever possible
  • make sure pesticides or hazardous chemicals from paints and finishes don’t get into ponds, as they can poison water life
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