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5 things you can do to attract wildlife to your  garden

As well as large-scale conservation projects, it’s also important to help wildlife at a local level. There are so many things you can do, even with a small space, to attract wildlife to your garden, here we talk you through five of the best ideas!

1. Plant flowers for bees

Flowers with lots of pollen and nectar are most attractive to bees, plants such as lavender, foxgloves and even flowers considered weeds are all great for attracting bees. It is also beneficial to these flying insects to leave parts of your garden ‘wild’ by not cutting grass and refraining from weeding, as this mimics a more natural habitat and also provides areas of shelter for bees. You can even buy packs of wildflower seeds that create an ideal habitat for foraging bees when scattered in your garden.

Many bee species are now in decline due to threats such as pesticide use and loss of habitat. As well as providing bees with a suitable habitat in your garden, it’s important to keep chemical use to a minimum as these can be harmful to many species of bee, as well as other insects.

Flickr | Kenneth Lu2. Set up a log pile

Stacking logs in a corner of your outdoor space can encourage a wide range of animals to take up residence there. Many animals are on the lookout for small spaces to nest in, and the gap between logs can be a perfect fit for anything from insects to small mammals to amphibians! A pile of logs can eventually become an ecosystem in itself if given time and can be an asset to any nature lover’s garden. It is best to use logs of different sizes and remember to keep the pile topped up, as older logs can begin to rot away.

Flickr | Martin Bamford3. Provide food for birds

Everyone knows you can attract birds to your garden by putting out feeders; however it’s not just a case of placing a feeder anywhere and hoping for the best. It’s important to consider the type of food you’re providing and the positioning of the food source. The food should be placed away from fences and high up, away from the ground as to eliminate the threat from predators. The type of food depends on the types of birds in your area, as well as the time of year. For example, in the winter it’s important to provide birds with a high-fat food source, things like fat balls and black sunflower seeds are good options.

Flickr | Jean Mottershead4. Create a ‘pond’

Depending on your commitment and the amount of space available to you, this can be any size, even a large bowl sunk into the ground will do! Water attracts so many different animals to an area; ponds are great homes for aquatic invertebrates as well as amphibians such as frogs and newts. Ponds can also act as a water source for terrestrial animals that need a drink!

Important things to remember include ensuring that your pond has at least one sloped edge to allow amphibians to easily make their way in and out of the water. Another important point is that the presence of fish in a pond often results in a drop in biodiversity, as fish like to eat invertebrates and amphibian eggs.

Flickr | Mike Copues5. Provide a home for birds and bats

Bird and bat boxes are a great way of attracting exciting animals into your area and providing them with shelter and somewhere to nest. You can buy bird boxes designed for so many species of birds, from tiny boxes designed for songbirds to giant ones designed for birds like owls. Having a safe space to nest is so important for the overall breeding success of birds, so installing a nest box in your garden can really make a difference. As with food sources, nest boxes should be placed somewhere that is difficult for predators to access.

Flickr | robin bylesThere are so many ways you can make a difference to the wildlife in your area and these are just a few. It can be so rewarding to see animals in your garden and know that you’re making a difference, no matter how small!

By Gabrielle Brooks - Online Journalism Intern

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