How to Help Your Garden Wildlife During a Heatwave
It’s official, August is set to see the hottest bank holiday on record with temperatures looking to hit 30C.
While you’re pouring out the margaritas and blowing up the emergency paddling pool, spare a thought for your garden wildlife that will be desperately searching for a water source this weekend.
Looking after your wildlife visitors doesn’t have to eat in to your sun tan time. Here are a few quick things you can do to help your garden wildlife during a heatwave.
WATER WATER, EVERYWHERE
We’re serious, put it everywhere. And don’t think you need a fancy bird bath or water fountain to offer your thirsty friends a drink, any old shallow bowl is better than no bowl.
If you want to make your water source even safer for your garden wildlife then fill it up with (clean) stones or rocks which give all animals a perch to stand on and easy access in and out of the water.
Chris Calow, a wildlife advisor for the RSPB says “turning your outside space into a home for nature by doing simple things like topping up your birdbath, creating a makeshift pond from a washing-up bowl or putting down a saucer filled with water could offer a vital lifeline to some of our much-loved garden birds that are already fighting against declines.”
DON’T FORGET ABOUT BUGS
Remember the circle of life also includes insects, and a hydrated insect is a juicy meal for birds and mammals.
Watering your plants is one of the best ways to provide hydration for bees and butterflies, and watering your grass will keep a variety of worms and burrowing bugs moist.
You can even top up your garden with some mealworms or calciworms to make it extra easy for wildlife to find food. Soak dried mealworms in warm water for 30 minutes before offering them out to pack them with moisture and make them easier for wildlife to eat.
MAKE SOME SHADE
Animals of all kinds will appreciate the respite that a little bit of shade can provide. Create a damp, cool environment where everything from birds to bugs can take a break and escape the sun.
Ground dwelling animals like hedgehogs, mice and creepy crawlies will appreciate a nice pile of leaves, whilst birds might take refuge in a bushy tree or roofed bird table.
And don’t forget about fish! Ponds in direct sunlight can heat up and lose water quickly so provide a shaded area for your water wildlife to hide under and top up water when necessary.
OFFER SOME FOOD
Filling up the bird feeders with oily seeds like sunflower hearts can offer an energy boost to your garden birds during a heatwave. Healthy proteins and oils provide birds with much needed nutrients to help keep little wings beating during adverse weather.
Hedgehogs will also gobble up a bowl of cat or hedgehog wet food – but make sure it’s free from milk as their tiny tums can’t digest lactose. Wet food can offer hogs a 2 for 1 dose of energy and hydration.
David Mitchell, buying manager for horticulture at Wyevale Garden Centres, perfectly rounds up our tips for keeping your wildlife happy during a heatwave, saying “all wildlife needs water and the best way to ensure your garden stays wild through a hot summer is to provide water for birds, stop plants from going thirsty, and keep ponds topped up with clean water.”