The colder months come with many challenges for our garden wildlife but even as the days get longer and temperatures start to rise it's still tough out there.
The vernal equinox on 20th March marked the start of astronomical spring and the local wildlife certainly know about it - the birds seem to be singing a little bit louder and the bees are starting to buzz. It's a busy time of year in nature's calendar and there's a lot we can do to help things along.
Our feathered visitors are starting to build their nests and prepare for new arrivals so it's vital they keep their energy up for all the work ahead. We can help by keeping bird feeders topped-up and if possible providing a range of snacks to suit a variety of tastes.
With nest-building in full swing we can lend a hand here too. Consider making small piles of materials in your garden. Dry leaves, twigs and moss provide rich pickings for a variety of nest-builders.
These prickly customers are just starting to emerge from their winter hibernation and they will be hungry and thirsty. A shallow bowl of water and some meat-based cat or dog food will provide much-needed sustenance as they regain their strength.
Did you know, hedgehogs can travel around a mile every night on those little legs? We can make it easier and safer for them to move from garden to garden by creating 'hedgehog highways'. This simply involves making a small hole at the base of your garden fence, just 13x13 cm (5x5 inches) or even digging out some of the earth beneath the fence.
Our bees and butterflies will be out in force soon and they will be looking for pollen. You don't need a garden, a simple pot or window box planted with pollen-rich flowers will do. Wild flower seeds are an excellent option, they can bloom in as little as 4 weeks and will provide a welcome pit-stop for passing pollinators.
Consider delaying that lawn mowing as well. Perhaps leave a bit more time between mows, or even better, let a patch of your garden grow wild over the coming months. It will act like a mini nature reserve, providing shelter and food sources for our garden visitors.