I love wildlife and have always tried to encourage it into our lives.
As the temperatures start to fall I embark on one of my favourite Autumn activities,creating a feeding station.
Hedgehogs are out and about in the evenings now, desperately trying to feed and store as much fat up for their hibernation. They need to be of a certain weight in order to survive the Winter.
To help them, put out some cat or dog food, nuts,seeds berries and fruit like bruised apples.
NEVER GIVE THEM MILK,BREAD OR FISH - IT COULD KILL THEM !!!
If you see a hedgehog out in the middle of the day, it's probably in trouble.They are nocturnal animals and should not be out in the day time. If possible, take it to a vet or a rescue centre where it'll be cared for by experienced people.
For the birds,
Teasel is a great plant of the thistle family.
It's tiny seeds are a delicacy for the Finch family, especially Goldfinches.
If you fancy giving these seed/nut and fruit cakes a go then all you need is:
some suet/fat from your local butcher,
a mixture of seeds and some peanuts. If you want to broaden the variety of visiting birds,
you can add some dried berries and fruit like raisins,cranberries,apple etc.
To make things more appealing to the eye and more interesting to our countryside neighbours,try to use old cake tins,jelly moulds and food packaging as shape setters.
Fill your chosen containers/moulds with your choice of mix of nuts,seeds and berries.
When melted, pour into the metal containers first covering as much of the mixture as possible. If you're using only plastic containers,allow the fat to cool a little before pouring otherwise the hot fat will melt the plastic.
Leave in a cool place to set.
You can put the cooled forms into a freezer for 10 minutes to make them easier to extract from the moulds later.
Don't use the heart I've made as an examlpe. This shape needs to be better supported as it will quickly fall apart when the birds eat away around the hole. If you can, save a lemon net bag next time you buy lemons or oranges etc.and put the whole cake in it. That should do it.
All you have to do then is just hang in a place where you can gaze at these hungry little visitors.
Those bruised apples that started going off will also be appreciated by birds and insects alike.
Well, I hope that short post has been helpful and inspiring for you. Let me know how you get on and share some pictures of your grateful wild visitors.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.