10 treats for your garden wildlife this Christmas
PUBLISHED: 09:19 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:51 19 December 2019
Birds, hedgehogs and insects could all use a Christmas treat of their own. Hannah Stephens shares her top picks.
You may have done all your Christmas shopping for friends and relatives, but what about the wildlife visitors to your garden?
Birds, hedgehogs and insects could all use a festive treat of their own - so splash out on a gift which will see your garden wildlife through the winter and beyond. Here are 10 ideas...
1. Bird Food Christmas Wreath, £16.95, notonthehighstreet.com
From The Bird Bakery comes this wildlife-welcoming Christmas wreath. Handmade from scrumptious seeds and nuts and decorated with festive pine cones and frosted faux greenery, each wreath comes beautifully packaged in classic white bakery gift boxes, securely nestled in wood curls and finished with a satin leaf ribbon. Birds can feast on the mixture of sunflower hearts, peanuts, safflower, white and red millet, kibbled maize, peanut granules, oats and wheat.
2. Ceramic Bird Feeder - Robin, £12.99, shopping.rspb.org.uk
Brighten up your robin's life with this colourful ceramic bird feeder, to hang on your outdoor Christmas tree or on shrub branches. You can fill it with seeds, suet pellets, mealworms or even high-energy sprinkles, and it should give the birds some festive cheer while you're tucking into your turkey.
3. Bee-r Barrel Bee Habitat, £29.99, suttons.co.uk
While your bees will have already bedded down for winter, you can still invest in their future with this quirky bee-r barrel. Hang it in the garden and it should fill up with baby bees during the summer months, with new adult bees emerging the following spring. It's a good way of attracting solitary bees, which are great pollinators, to the garden.
4. Suet Snowman, £3.99, CJ Wildlife (birdfood.co.uk)
This suet snowman is packed with goodness to keep feathered friends happy this winter - and it looks pretty too! While we're opening the chocolates, the birds will be feasting on this high-calorie nutritious mix of peanut flour and animal fat. A perfect stocking-filler.
5. Relaxdays Fired Insect Hotel, £23.99, amazon.co.uk
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Insects are a vital element in the garden, and you can help them survive winter with this insect hotel, a safe haven in the great outdoors. Hang it anywhere that's sunny and protected from rain. It'll encourage natural pest control and hopefully better pollination of your plants in the years to come. Children will also be fascinated by seeing the little creatures as they nest and brood.
6. Urban Bird Feeder Box, £26.99, crocus.co.uk
Ideal for urban gardens or anyone who favours more contemporary style, this bird feeder has a durable outer shell made with 70 per cent clay and 30 per cent recycled plastics and comes with a 10-year guarantee. The large entrance hole allows small birds to climb right inside and tuck in, while larger birds can use the clip-on perch it comes with.
7. Wildlife World Comprehensive Hedgehog Care Pack, £29.99, squiresgardencentres.co.uk
Your resident hedgehogs should now be hibernating, but this care pack will treat them to food and shelter in the coming year. It features a hedgehog habitat made of rattan brushwood, designed to be predator-proof, as well as a tray of food and a handy hedgehog field guide so you can learn more.
8. Posh Shed Company Bird Box, £21 each, theposhshedcompany.co.uk
Many birds will use nestboxes on a cold winter's night. Although even the smallest birds will fluff up their feathers and hide in dense evergreen trees or hedgerows where they can, it's wise to offer them some form of proper shelter - and these from The Posh Shed Company are super stylish. They're suitable for house sparrows, great tits, the nut hatch and lesser spotted woodpeckers, and available in six pastel shades.
9. Wooden Squirrel Feeder, £16.99, CJ Wildlife (birdfood.co.uk)
Yes, squirrels can be a nuisance, digging up bulbs and feasting on the food you've left out for the birds - but instead of working against them, work with them. Giving them their own dedicated feeder, with easy access to grub, will distract them from raiding bird feeders.
10. Greenkey Large Bat Box, £12.99, amazon.co.uk
They may have a bit of a spooky image but bats actually eat many nuisance bugs, such as mosquitoes and midges (the most common UK bat, the Common Pipistrelle, can eat up to 2000 mosquitoes a night!). So welcome them into your garden with this bat box, which offers an easy-access ladder and 20mm entrance slit, the optimum size for bats to crawl into. Hang it on a wall or on a tree trunk, hopefully out of the reach of predators and close to vegetation, where they'll find insects to eat.