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Whether it’s putting out a bird feeder or the intensive work of pond digging, we can do lots of things to encourage the native fauna into our outside living areas and share in nature accordingly. Here are some great ideas of how you can be connecting with wildlife in your own back garden.
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Connecting with Wildlife in your own Back Garden
You don’t need to make an expensive trip to the zoo or trek around your local nature reserve to get in touch with wildlife. Any outside space you have can become a home to an abundance of the undomesticated animals that live within your area of the UK.
With over 15 million gardens, it’s actually important to make space for as many critters as possible as the world races to conserve as much of nature as it can. Here are some ways of helping the local wildlife to flourish in your own back yard.
Sustaining the Food Chain
Many people don’t realise just how wide a variety of animals visit our gardens. Invertebrates, mammals, birds, and amphibians all can make use of the different features found in our gardens. Trees house not just pigeons but squirrels and swifts. Bushes provide cover for hedgehogs and even grass snakes could be hibernating underneath. While common frogs and insects lurk in a damp corner.
Enhancing these areas in an already established garden is a great way to build on the numbers of species present. And bug houses have popped up all over the UK in recent years. All manner of creepy crawlies are invited into the dark damp spaces. And importantly, they will provide sustenance to a host of small creatures who in turn feed the larger mammals and birds.
This is not an Infestation
Another way you can help insects and invertebrates is to plant flowers of all varieties in sunny and even shadowy patches of the garden. With the right pollinators, you’ll find you’re soon home to buzzing bees and floating butterflies as well as colourful moths.
Foliage around a wet area can also attract damsel and dragonflies and stimulate mini ecosystems that encourage wildlife to propagate. Relatively few of the UK’s insects are actually considered ‘garden pests’, so you don’t need to worry in that regard. Pollinators, parasites, or predators, most will simply feed on any rotting leaves and greens in the area.
Ponds are a refreshing focal point in many UK gardens. And with nearly 800,000 hectares of land dedicated to a human’s outside living space a few more yards dedicated to wetlands can only help us further the conservation cause.
Common frogs and toads are found up and down the country. And a quiet garden pond can provide them with a habitat for raising their tadpoles in relative peace. As well as these amphibians, water sources can bring salamanders, mainly the newt.
Salamanders, not Lizards
Before inviting newts into your garden, you should consider the status of the great crested newt, which is a European protected species. This means there will be rules to follow should you ever want to build new features or extend your house into your outside space after having this little amphibian take residence.
It would be wise to build ponds near the boundaries of your land in order to preserve any eggs and habitats that newts may have. And before any work is done you might want to organise a newt survey. Not taking care of Great Crested newts can be a criminal offence. A newt survey from Arbtech may be needed if you are trying to get planning permission. They make use of aerial photography and their consultants are highly experienced.
If you have some dark squelchy areas and the flowers are in bloom, the life your garden is already sustaining is immense. To entice larger mammals, you’ll need some dense pockets of shrubbery or hedging that they can hide in; if you’re able to plant trees as well, even better!
Breeding grounds for aphids, ladybirds and butterflies will bring in all manner of birds looking for a treat. Sparrows and robins will be regular visitors, hedgehogs will burrow, and squirrels will be scarpering amongst the branches.
In some areas of the UK, badgers and weasels will also frequent accommodating gardens, along with rabbits and even hares who have gone wandering. These animals probably won’t care to live in your yard but instead use them as foraging grounds. Creating different grasslands if you have enough space is a way to encourage them to stay for longer. Short lawns for the beetle microcosm, with long grass areas for creatures who prefer hiding away. Mice love these spaces, and they can even become home to snakes.
The olive-green coloured grass snake is the reptile you’re most likely to see in your garden. They love to feast on amphibians so if you’ve cultured wetlands, this scaly visitor might choose to stay close by.
A sunny muddy spot or a warm compost heap can become the perfect nursery for eggs and snakelets. And if you’ve invested in shrubbery they can hibernate underground.
At over a metre long they can be easy to find, especially with a lemon-yellow collar to stand out from all that green, and they enjoy sunning themselves on lawns. While snake phobias are common, these reptiles are harmless to humans and an interesting addition to any garden.
With mice and snakes running through the grasses, frogs hopping around the pond, and butterflies flitting over the flowers, your outside space is transformed into a veritable smorgasbord for birds. From the insect eaters to the carnivores, our winged friends have everything they need to call your garden their home.
You’ll see blackbirds and thrushes first, these morning birds are known for singing before sunrise. Then as the day progresses there’s a chance for robins and wrens to visit with blue tits and finches joining in later. Kestrels and Kites could take advantage of any rodents with the nocturnal owls taking over for night duty.
Well-being for Everyone
There are multiple minuscule worlds right at the edge of our patios and within our fences. Getting in touch with nature is vital right now for both conservation and preservation purposes. Cultivating mini communities helps promote good mental health in humans and secures the well-being of all nature’s living things.