Helping Wildlife in Winter

Severe weather can sometimes leave people with little time to prepare but there are some things which people can do to try and help wildlife.
 
Winter can be challenging for birds and mammals.  Every year thousands of animals throughout January and February suffer from dehydration, hunger and cold.
 
But there are things you can do. From making your garden wildlife-friendly; maintaining a garden pond and leaving out food and fresh, clean unfrozen water can make all the difference to how well wild animals survive the colder months.
 
Being prepared and taking action early can make the difference to animals. Sometimes it is the small things that can make all the difference.
 
A bit of extra food left out for a hungry bird or mammal may be the help it needs to last through a spate of harsh weather, and just providing access to fresh water can help immensly.
 
We can all struggle when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and are often the most vulnerable to the extremes the elements take. They just need a bit of a helping hand sometimes.
 
Ways to help include:
 
If your garden pond freezes over, make a hole in the ice. Otherwise toxic gases can build up in the water of a frozen pond, which may kill fish or frogs that are hibernating at the bottom. It is important to do this by gently melting a hole by carefully placing a pan of hot water on the surface.  Never break the ice with force or tip boiling water onto the pond, as this can harm or even kill any fish that live there.
 
Birds may have difficulty finding natural foods such as berries, insects, seeds, worms and fruit. Any alternative extra food you can put out during these cold months will help – try giving a range of seeds, fresh unsalted peanuts and table scraps, cheese and fruits like apples and pears.  Garden birds love dried mealworms which can be bought from bird food suppliers. 
 
Some mammals do not hibernate they do sleep through most of the severe weather, and have a tough time finding their favourite natural foods. Nibbles such as lightly cooked meats, cheese, peanuts and fruit would be welcomed.

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