THE COLD DAYS AND WATM HEARTS
“When snow falls, nature listens:”
-Antoinette van Kleef
The winter is slowly coming in our daily life. In the mornings, we can notice the kiss of the night frost and in the evening, the sunset is simply faster as ever. The nature is welcoming winter and the most beautiful month of the year, December. Among Christmas lights, traces in the snow and the scent of baked apples and mulled wine, there is an important story of our local wildlife and its own fight with cold weather. The season below zero and northern wind, with no mercy, followed with persistent snowy and icy rain is not easy for animals that are outside. I think we all know this and we all should put efforts to help them to go through the following period, as smooth as it is possible.
The most troubling issue is lack of food for majority of animals that are the part of local wildlife. Nevertheless, there are some good tips, shared by RSPCA, that could possibly help us to make concrete steps in organising our gardens wildlife friendly during the winter time too. What does it mean? We don’t need to let garden perfectly cleaned because if we do so, we will prevent animals for finding shelters for hibernating or staying safe during cold weeks. The wild garden is not sign of our laziness but rather the symbol of our compassion and knowledge about providing the basic needs for local animals. The piles of different lives can assure the hidden nests for many animals that seek the peace and rescue from breezing wind and aggressive winter night. The compost heap is also a great place for toads, grass snakes or slow-worms to be rescued on time.
According to wildlife experts, if you are the owner of the garden pond, you should make sure to break the ice on the surface ( to make a small hole) so to prevent accumulating of the gas inside the pond, that may eventually kill the residents of the pond, that are usually hibernating on the bottom ( fish or frog). This hole should be made gradually, using hot water and nothing else, otherwise you risk harming some of the animals below.
The bird feeders are very popular for years and that doesn’t surprise because birds are more oriented towards are supply of food, during hard winter. The reason for it is absence of natural reservoir of seeds, insects and available multivariant corn settings. The extra food from us is more than needed and make sure you have a place where you can put the bird feeder or make the one, yourself. The significant is to give fresh food, that consists of unsalted peanuts, seeds, cheese, apples or pears. Also, the pot with water that is free from ice is more than important when it is difficult for birds to fly around and search for available water sources.
The fresh water and good food is not only hook for birds to visit your garden but also for other local animals that search for safety and energy. The cute hedgehogs are usually in hibernation from November till March but it may happen that some are even active in your garden, when the winter is not so bad. In that case, please make sure they are provided with sources of fresh water and tinned dog food ( not based on fish) or minced meat. Do not give them milk, since some of them react with diarrhoea. Instead of it, water is better. It is normal for them to fall into hibernation stage but if your little friend isn’t, that means needs lot of food and nutritions so keep giving it and supporting the coming hibernation.
Maybe your garden is interesting as a meeting point for foxes, squirrels or badgers. All of them are animals in need and they are hoping to find some food. For foxes, it is good to let cheese, boiled potatoes or bread outside while badgers have a real struggle to find earth worms when the ground is totally frozen. However, those funny animals will be very grateful if you give them a bit of cooked meat, cheese or fruits. The adorable squirrels do not practice hibernating but they will be regularly visitors if you have walnuts, hazelnuts or chestnut for them. They like apples, beans or carrots and they will used to come and wait for their meal, if they learn the rhythm in the garden food service.
We need to know to not put a lot of food outside since wild animals will camping there and risk to attack each others but small amount of different food and fresh water will keep them coming. Nevertheless, if your home and garden is located in some busy part and wildlife must cross the crowded road to reach you, I wouldn’t suggest to encourage it with food because they may be hurt or even killed in transport.
The insects hotels are also very good initiative for insects to be protected but personally, I do not have any success with it. As far as I see, it is always empty and that makes me sad. I find insects usually somewhere else, trying to make their comfort zone. It seems that wild garden options are still more attractive to them as made one.
Preparation of garden for winter has nothing to do with cosmetic cleaning but rather with compassionate project for enabling wildlife to survive during winter and to flourish. It teaches us to be more humane and to think not only about our needs and desires but also about other fellows, that depend on us. That is cohabitation and harmony, the great deal between people and animals, the proof that good still exists and that humans are capable to be protectors of the sacred Planet and it’s all earthlings. The small garden we take care of is actually our first step in turning the Earth into the compassionate home for all. Only then, the blossom is possible. Only then, we will all be finally happy. The good hearts shouldn’t be ever frozen.