Springtime hits - your ultimate guide to birdsong from the RSPB
Things you can do to help hedgehogs...
• Make a Hedgehog Highway in fences - 5” x 5” (13 x 13cm) square gaps in the bottom of fences or walls should do it! Once created you can log these on the BIG Hedgehog Map at www.bighedgehogmap.org
• Create an undisturbed log pile that will offer shelter and food.
• Buy or build a Hedgehog Home (see plans at www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/hedgehog-homes or contact them for a paper copy).
• Offer water and meaty cat or dog food for hedgehogs – you can even build a feeding station to help keep the food safe for hedgehogs (see plans on BHPS website)
• Check areas carefully before mowing or strimming.
• Do not use pesticides and poisons.
• Ensure there is an easy route out of ponds & pools.
• Create a wild corner – leave a corner or edge to go wild supplying shelter and natural food for hedgehogs in the form of bugs and grubs!
• Join BHPS (or if you are already a supporter – recruit someone else).
Hedgehogs are struggling and mostly that’s due to human activity, these small actions can help a great deal, a little effort from each of us could make life a lot easier for hedgehogs! If you don’t have a garden yourself, you can still help by contacting public space managers, neighbours, family and friends to ensure they are doing their bit.
We know that you share our passion for birds, and a great way to show that right now is by keeping your bird-feeders topped up. Find out everything you need to know about feeding the birds in this RSPB guide https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/?
Why not build a swift box? Here's an easy to follow RSPB guide (although you'll need to set aside a couple of hours!)
All things bees:
Can you tell the difference between a Queen Bumblebee and a male bee?
The time of year can help because you will only see male bees in late summer and autumn whereas female bees can be seen all year from early spring to autumn.
You can also tell whether a bumblebee is male or female by looking at its legs. If you see a shiny flattish looking segment on the back legs (called a pollen basket) or a big clump of pollen on a this area then it is a female bee because male bees do not collect pollen. Male bees are often fluffier looking with slightly longer antennae.
For lots of bumblebee facts and information, visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website
Our simple to follow guide to building a BEE HOTEL for your garden
Read all about beetles, bugs and skaters and how to spot them here Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden wildlife by providing food, water and shelter. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit the Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To encourage invertebrates, amphibians and other wetland wildlife into your garden, try having a wildlife-friendly pond and leaving piles of logs for hibernating animals.
Do you know what the most famous beetle in the UK is and that there are over 4,000 beetle species scuttling all around us? Click here for the answers and to discover 17 of the most colourful British beetles.
Hedgehog Myth Busters
It's a common misconception that hedgehogs enjoy a saucer of milk. On the contrary, hedgehogs are lactose intolerant and must never be given cows' milk or milk products. It can cause severe digestive upset and kill them.
And in the same vein...please do not feed pumpkin to hedgehogs. Whilst they'll happily eat pumpkin as they have a sweet tooth, Pumpkins act as a laxative and will cause the hedgehog to have tummy problems.The British Hedgehog Preservation Society suggest hanging your pumpkins in trees to allow birds and squirrels to eat the fruit.
This one is true: did you know that a hedgehog can swim and run up to 2km per night in search of food? Please keep an eye out and use our Species Sighting Form to let us know if you see one!
The Perfect Pad for Blue Tits & Robins
There's lots of house hunting going on in your garden right now, with many birds on the lookout for a place to nest. Take a look at this RSPB guide on how to transform your garden into a nestbox haven by providing the perfect pad for blue tits and robins. Click here
Gardening for Bees - find out what to plant to encourage pollinators into your garden https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/gardening-for-wildlife/article/gardening-for-bees
Leave bananas out for the butterflies in your outdoor space for an extra sugary treat!
Create a wildflower patch in your lawn. It's beautiful, it means less mowing, and it helps support a wide variety of insects and the birds that feed on them. Here are some ideas to get you started from the RHS https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=436
Cherish dandelions - they are great for a wide variety of insects
Grow native or near-native plants to support our pollinators. Simple flowers are best, double blooms won’t do!
Organic insecticides, fungicides and slug pellets are far less harmful than non organic. Read more here
If you're looking to attract wildlife into your garden, be aware that bright lights lit outside at night disturb and repel a lot of wild species.
Compost bins, leaf piles and decaying timber are a great habitat for stag beetles and other wildlife as well as providing a winter hibernation spot for frogs. Much better than bonfires!
Planting guide for an insect friendly garden: the more diverse the flowers and plants you have in your garden, the more pollinators you will attract. Use this Wildlife Trusts handy monthly calendar guide to attract insects to your garden
'Nine ways to build a wildlife friendly garden'; have a browse through this National Trust article https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/nine-ways-to-build-a-wildlife-friendly-garden\\
How to make a splash in your outdoor space. A simple bird bath or a mini pond. Water adds tranquility and endless entertainment for wild visitors. Find out how you can add water and attract wildlife
And for more ideas on attracting wildlife into your garden, there are some great ideas in this RHS guide
Flea treatments containing Fipronil (eg Frontline, Effipro and Ridaflea) are harmful to insect life including bees. It's also best to avoid chemical flea treatments. https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/animal-companion-factsheets/flea-control-safe-solutions/
Bells on cat collars will keep birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians safe from cats. Your cat really won't mind but the wildlife will thank you for it!
OUT & ABOUT
Look out for 'ground nesting bird' signs and keep your dogs on leads
Keep your dog and livestock safe; read more here
Organic food facilitates a more sustainable market, and farmers can be encouraged to grow food with fewer chemicals.
Support your local wildlife group!