Here’s a list of some great resources for wildlife gardening and helping local wildlife.
There are some really simple and cheap things we can all do to help this amazing mammal which is all well explained on the Hedgehog Street website.
While we’re on the subject of mammals, have you ever thought about helping bats? You can put up a bat box and plant things that will attract night-time insects for bats to feed on. The Bat Conservation Trust has great advice on bat boxes.
Putting up bird boxes is a great way to help our garden birds but they do need to be put up in the right place and be of the right design. They can be much cheaper to make and a fun task to do with your children to develop some basic woodwork skills:
– RSPB Build a Nest Box
– British Trust for Ornithology – putting up bird nest boxes
Most gardens are not suitable for owl boxes but if you have a larger garden or live next to woods or farmland it might be worth making contact with the landowner and seeing if they would be interested in having a box up.
– Barn Owl Trust advice on Barn Owl and Tawny Owl boxes
– Barn Owl Trust web page to report barn owl sightings
We’re really lucky to still have some swifts around Wantage and Grove. They return each May and are very faithful to existing nest sites which have decreased over the years. It would be wonderful to be able to offer them some new nesting opportunities, so have a look at the advice below
– RSPB swift project: record your swift sightings.
Adding a wildlife pond to your garden is one of the best ways you can increase the amount of wildlife you will see in your garden and will attract all sorts of creatures. It’s great fun watching the birds having a bath too! Do be aware of invasive plants and be selective about which species of pond plant you go for as some can become hard work.
– Freshwater Habitats Trust – great website for all things pond creation
– BBOWT – how to create a mini-pond
– Pond plant suppliers: Puddle Plants, and for a local one you can visit for inspiration and purchase stuff – The Water Garden.
Bees, Butterflies and other Pollinators
Pollinator species are in trouble and we rely on them for much of our food production, so help them out by planting some pollinator-friendly plants, widely available at garden centres.
– RHS Plants for Pollinators.
– Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) – actions: good wildlife. gardening information here and worth checking out their ‘what’s on’ pages for local wildlife events.
– Rosybee: East Hannney-based specialist provider of plants for bees, mostly sells online.
– Why not create a wildflower patch in your lawn or border, good for so many things! BBOWT – how to grow a wild patch.
Wildlife Gardening covers all sorts of things you can do to help wildlife on your own patch. Have a look at these links for loads of great, simple and cheap ideas to bring more wildlife into your garden:
– Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) – actions
– Wildlife Gardening Forum to sign up for their regular newsletter or attend a conference.
Identifying and Recording Wildlife
Recording the wildlife that you see is really important and in the UK we are world leaders in citizen science so why not get involved and start contributing to what we know about the wildlife in Wantage?
If you are not that confident yet on your species ID skills there are some brilliantly helpful resources online with experts keen to help you:
– iSpotnature: if you spot something and aren’t sure what it is, these guys will soon tell you.
– iRecord butterflies for a butterfly-specific one that helps you with identification.
– If you are into moth trapping this is a must have: What’s_Flying_Tonight App.
Bumblebee identification: there are a surprising number of species!
– Bumblebee Conservation Trust identification guide
Amphibian & Reptile Groups guides to help you identify them.