As I walked my dogs yesterday in the woods and looked at all the dried up streams, I wondered how the lizards, birds, frogs, squirrels, foxes and little animals were quenching their thirst, because it must be a massive problem in these 33C days….
Tips to help wildlife in the heat
A simple yet effective way of providing relief. Val Osborne, head of the RSPB’s wildlife enquiries team, explains:
“The hot weather could be causing natural water sources to dry up, meaning birds and hedgehogs could be left without anything to drink.
Turning your outside space into a home for nature by doing simple things like topping up your birdbath, creating a make-shift pond from a washing-up tub or putting down a saucer filled with water could offer a vital lifeline to some of our garden favourites that are already fighting against declines.”
At Allpets we would like to add to this by saying that the dishes should be shallow so that the wildlife can escape or add in a small stick or rock as a ramp if the dish is fairly deep to prevent drowning.
The water should be changed frequently as stagnant water can be dangerous by allowing toxins to build up.
Drier conditions make worms tunnel further into the soil, becoming scarce for the wildlife that usually feasts on them, such as blackbirds, robins, hedgehogs and frogs.
To compensate, additional food should be left out to make sure suitable nutrition is provided throughout the summer to such animals.
A novel substitute to earthworms is dog or cat food, which blackbirds readily take and feed to their chicks. The texture of tinned meaty chunks is perfect as it avoids hard lumps that cause birds to choke. Black sunflower seeds, mild grated cheese, and of course, bird seed, are also recommended, but make sure to steer well clear of any salts, which are toxic to birds.
Taking care of gardens and allotments
Regularly watered plants, and habitat-orientated gardens are a lifeline for bees and butterflies.
Maintaining allotments is also vital for providing respite from the weather – log or stone piles are inviting for their damp, shaded conditions, whilst a nest box is a no-brainer. Start thinking of next year too – do you have enough space to incorporate a few hedges, a wildflower and herb patch, a pond or bog area, and an overgrown/undisturbed section?
Your garden is part of a bigger home for wildlife. Linking gardens together enables creatures, such as hedgehogs and toads, to move between your garden and those of your neighbours.
Creating such nature highways and corridors – ie shrubby borders; leaving gaps beneath fences – raises the quality of the whole street for wildlife.