Springtime is the most wonderful time of year, as flowers bloom, birds build their nests and fox pups are born in their burrows – so what can we do to help them?
We’re in a time of extinction crisis so our wildlife needs us more than ever. A quarter of British mammals and half of our birds are in danger of extinction and this figure is rising.
The good news is that the breeding season is a great time to help the creatures that share our neighbourhoods.
Here are 7 ways to give wildlife a hand this springtime:
1. Leave a wild area
Wildlife really thrives when it’s given an area to live in – even if it’s just the corner of the garden! Anywhere that animals can shelter in can really boost populations as they can also feed and breed there. Let the grass grow long and leave logs, plant pots and a compost heap to be enjoyed by all of your garden visitors.
2. Erect a bird or bat box
You can put a bird or bat box up on nearby trees or even on your own house! Different birds like different types of boxes, so think about what would suit your green space the best. It’s a fun project to make, or you can buy one already assembled.
If you don’t have a garden, then ask about putting up boxes at your local school, place of worship, village hall or even at the local supermarket! The more safe places the birds and bats have to make a home in, the easier it is for them to breed.
3. Get planting!
Trees are a great investment in the future as they can reduce the effects of global warming – but if you don’t have anywhere to plant them – there is plenty more that you can do! Any native flowers or plants are useful to wildlife as butterflies, moths and bees can feed on them. If you live near an abandoned wild area then consider planting wildflower seeds by ‘seed bombing’. When I lived in a flat I put flowers on my balcony and bees would still visit them, so you don’t necessarily need a garden.
4. Build a pond or birdbath
Five years ago, I dug a pond in my garden and look at it now! This spring it’s been a positive frog orgy with over 25 clumps of spawn. If building a pond isn’t an option then try making a birdbath instead. You could even try making a mini pond out of a tyre as birds will still use it but you don’t have to make a hole in the garden!
5. Put out nest material
You can peg nest material like feathers, pet hair or dried grass to your washing line for birds to take. If you’re putting out nest material, then avoid anything synthetic as it can be harmful to birds.
6. Fill up your feeders
I try to keep my bird feeders stocked up all year round and I’ve been amazed at the species of birds that have been to visit. My house is in a housing estate in Manchester, but birds still come to visit, as well as a lot of squirrels! We’ve had starlings, blackbirds, robins, dunnocks, wrens, bullfinches, goldfinches, collared doves, wood pigeons, woodpeckers, house sparrows, great tits, long-tailed tits, blue tits and coal tits in our garden.
Popular things that I’ve put on my bird table are sunflower seeds, nuts, suet and mixed seed.
7. Organise a rubbish pickup
Many local councils will give you a rubbish collection kit for free – including hi-vis vests, bags and grabbers. You can put a call out on a Facebook group or on Twitter or create an event to encourage people to join you. If you don’t have time for that then do a mini pickup in your area or a two-minute beach clean and focus on that. Every bit of trash that you pickup means that it won’t hurt an animal or end up in the ocean.
If you can do even one of these things for wildlife this springtime, or at any time of the year, it will make a huge difference. Even thinking about where species can live and thrive can make a real impact.
If we design our world with animals in mind, we allow them to stabilise their numbers and start to increase. Without food and habitat, all of our wildlife will continue to decline. Find a green area or make a green area and watch the rewards as wildlife comes to breed in it this Springtime.
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