Helping wildlife through the cold snap

© Darin Smith

Simple things you can do at home to help local wildlife survive the cold

Freezing conditions and snow covered ground present great difficulties for wildlife, and a cold snap right at the end of winter can be particularly problematic.

Food sources such as seeds are almost entirely exhausted, and the sudden temperature drop will bring a sharp halt to the growth of any plants that may have provided additional sustenance.

However, there are some simple things you can do at home to help your local wildlife get through the cold snap.

Families on a winter walk at Blashford

© Rex Waygood

Provide fresh water

When puddles and ponds have frozen over, it can be difficult for wildlife to find fresh drinking water. Providing a bowl of clean, unfrozen water can be an invaluable lifeline for a variety of species; be sure to check that your bird baths haven’t frozen over, and refresh water bowls regularly if you can.

Reduce disturbance

Consuming and retaining energy is vitally important for wildlife right now, so try to reduce disturbance in areas where animals may be foraging.

For example, steer clear of badger setts in woodland areas, and avoid flocks of gulls and waders if you’re out enjoying the coastline. Running/flying away from humans uses up an awful lot of energy that could be used to keep warm.

Feed the birds

Keeping warm in low temperatures requires a lot of energy, so making high fat foods easily available for garden birds is a great way to help them. Fat balls and peanuts are particularly good during cold snaps as they are high in fat which helps birds keep warm.

If you’re feeling crafty you could even make your own bird feeders! Simply melt suet into moulds (coconut shells or logs with holes drilled in make excellent containers) then, once they have cooled and solidified, leave them somewhere high up in your garden for the birds to find.