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Talkback: Help wildlife survive winter

It is a useful article. The main problem I have in winter is keeping the water unfrozen. it seems that as soon as I thaw the bird bath, it freezes over again. I tried that stuff to put in the water to inhibit freezing, it was too cold, so didn't work!


  • Very useful article. i have 4 cats but i have a lot of birds visit my garden. i have feeders all over the garden and bird baths and water features.
  • Maybe because lots of cats and magpies round here for the first time in many years I have very few birds visit my largish garden. Strawberries did not need netting this year at all. Haven't seen a greenfinch for ages. Nor a thrush - not even a blackbird!
  • I have a pond, a bird bath, a fat ball feeder, a peanut feeder and a seed feeder, plus i put food on the ground. We have quite a few cats but I also get a lot of birds incl woodpeckers, jays, black birds, blue and great tits, geen finches, gold finches, wren, robin, starlings, sparrows, and lately long tailed tits.
  • Always the cats get the blame for declining birdlife!
    Some may catch the odd bird but most cats allowed inside during the day, will not "bother". They should be too well fed. YES it IS there instinct but there are other factors affecting our birds.
    Bird tables and feeders need to be near hedges and/or other cover, also the water, hanging bird baths maybe.
    I have a sheltered garden so have not yet had the birdbaths freeze. I also have a pond with the pump running all year round so birds can drink from the edge [keeping a watch for cats and foxes maybe] and some seem to balance on the water for a quick bath.
    The starling use the hanging bird bath more than other birds, it can accommodate 4 starlings at same time - after the bickering and jostling there is not much water left for remaining starlings!! I have another big wooden bowl with water they use as well. As I top up the feeders and feed the foxes early evening I can refresh the baths so most starling will get their bath before going to bed!
    The frogs and froglets have places under the stones around my pond and other upturned pots with leaves to burrow into. 2 years ago I rescued frogspawn that would have perished in the "freeze" the next day after being deposited. they were raised in a 4` fish tank managing to end uop with [short version - fed fish flakes, crickets etc, with 42 froglets from 100s of tadpoles. I/we learned a lot about tadpoles and froglets especially that they eat each other! These were transferred to a redundant aviary and fed crickets and mealworms and eventually found their way out in to the garden. So...we do have more frogs than we did. NOt sure I will do it again though.
  • Last year I found newts and frogs hibernating under small bits of rocks - woefully inadequate, so I built a hibernaculum. I piled up all the rubble and bits of broken pot I could find, then covered it all with soil and planted easy going hardy geranniums in it. Of course one of the problems is that I can't just take it apart to see if anyone is using my new hotel but I do hope so.
  • My garden has a special wild area with native hedge plants with berries and nuts, two small apple trees and also a small wildlife pond with a slope for accident-prone animals to crawl out. There is a hedgehog house and some logs and my old drystone walls have plenty of nooks and crannies for insects. In the non-wild part I am growing plants for butterflies and bees and have a wealth of birds visit. This is in a narrow 75 ft garden in an urban town.
  • I've been reading about the Solar Sipper Bird Bath and plan to buy one of these when I get chance/money.  I have 4 cats and a few visiting from neighbours but they prefer chasing the squirrels to the birds.  They do bring me mice and shrews but usually these 'presents' are uninjured and I release them in to the wildlife section of my garden.  I also have at least one hedgehog who pops up for meals occasionally (and is studiously ignored by the cats).  I have built an insect house in the wildlife section and it seems popular. I hope to get some native fruit trees, etc. for the birds too but I have very limited money, time and strength unfortunately.    I did contemplate a pond for frogs but having visited a friend whose cat brings frogs in I changed my mind.  Not a good combination.

  • Peat BPeat B Posts: 441
    I cannot trust leaving cat or dog food out for hedgehogs, because how will a cat or a dog know that it is left out for hedgehogs ???? Duhhhhhhhhh !
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,852

    That is why I buy the dried specialist hedgehog food and put it in a very shallow dish under a slab raised about 6-8" off the ground supported on bricks - cats won't go under there but the hedgehogs can image  Also the cats really don't seem very interested in the specialist hedgehog food.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Its interesting to know the sorts of places which different types of insects choose for shelter in the Winter and how to help them.
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