Topic: Wondering

The nutritious food began to attract a greater number of species to gardens.During one episode, Bill Oddie suggested providing mealworms for adult birds who needed to feed their chicks.This sparked a nationwide shortage of mealworms! The series also demonstrated that we should feed birds throughout the year.Bird feeders can have the unfortunate side effect of benefitting larger and more aggressive species to the detriment of other birds who would have naturally inhabited our gardens.This issue can be tackled by ensuring that your garden is planted with shrubs which provide natural sources of FOOD.Berry bushes give birds choices and could mean that all species find their fair share of goodies without having to compete against each other.There are other fabulous benefits of feeding birds which are often overlooked.Feeders help people to connect with nature and to value our native species.Disabled and elderly people who cant visit the countryside are able to continue connecting with nature on their own doorsteps.Who would have thought it? Feeding birds has inspired significant changes in behaviour and has accelerated evolution.In helping birds to survive, we have changed their lives in unexpected ways while gaining a great amount of enjoyment ourselves.It is vital that we continue to explore the impact of bird feeding so that we do what is best for the birds.We are meddling in nature for the right reasons but should guard against the unintended consequences of our actions which disrupt the ecosystem.With autumn is on the way, many gardeners launch on a major tidy up mission in order to keep their properties neat and organised over the ensuing months.But neat and tidy isnt what the local wildlife will be looking for! The birds, animals and insects that visit gardens throughout the autumn and winter months would prefer a less-ordered approach from their hosts.Heres our guide to creating a nature-friendly garden which will attract more wildlife and help a variety of creatures to prosper.You might be feeling the urge to manicure your garden but it is important to resist the temptation to cut everything back in the autumn.Dont clear away fallen leaves and decaying plants.The leaves create a comfortable layer for mammals and insects to use as shelter when temperatures drop.Hollow stems, seed pods and window boxes can also be safe havens for insects when the frost begins to bite.Any leaves that you do wish to clear for aesthetic or safety reasons can be swept up and piled way in a corner where hedgehogs can use them as a cosy home.Any old wood and cut branches can also be piled up as the rotting wood encourages fungi & other detritivores which provide food for wildlife.Avoid cutting any ivy back as this is a great plant for wildlife year-round.Most nectar-rich plants start to die off in the Autumn but the flowers of ivy are just starting to come into bloom, providing a great source of food for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.The evergreen leaves of ivy offer valuable shelter for garden birds and insects when much of the available cover is dying out.If your garden doesnt feature any ivy, plant some!Many garden birds appear to vanish in September and October and you might be left wondering where your feathered friends have gone.This is normal behaviour as the birds travel farther afield in search of berry-rich hedgerows.