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The garden wildlife thread


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Curious as to whether any other P&Bers are making efforts to make their gardens more "wildlife friendly".

Our back garden is a mix of mono block, slabs and stones so we've been trying to make the front garden, which has some flower beds, a bit more attractive to different types of wildlife. We're in the long and slow process of removing rhododendron plants and replacing them with native holly and dogwood shrubs. Our 2021 lockdown project was a small wildlife pond which we have planted with native flag iris, water avens, water forget me not, marsh marigold, hornwort and water soldiers. I've yet to see any amphibians in it but there are lots of little bugs despite us not making any special efforts to introduce anything. I assume some have found their way in on the plants and others have flown in. We don't use any pesticide or herbicide in either garden so have lots of slugs and snails. We grow raspberries and strawberries but never really hand anything eating the berries.

We bought a hedgehog box from ebay without realising the mass produced ones are pretty guff, so would love a bigger one. Going to modify it a bit over the weekend in a bid to keep the local moggies from showing too much interest in it. Apparently cats don't like going in if there's a tunnel style entrance.

I suspected we had hedgehogs visiting as the dog cornered one in the back garden one night when I let them out for a midnight pish. I splashed out on a trail cam which we set up for the first time over the weekend and was pleased to see a hedgehog using the box and a wee fox has been popping by for a boiled egg the past three nights.

We have a decent variety of garden birds that visit our feeders. Off the top of my head we've got photos of goldcrest, robins, wrens, blackies, dunnocks, house sparrows, blue/great/coal and long tailed tits, starlings, wood pigeons, siskins, greenfinch, song thrush, goldfinch and bull finch along with magpies and jackdaws.

Anyone else get a ridiculous amount of enjoyment from seeing wildlife in the garden?

Anyone have any cool wildlife gardening tips?

 

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Theres some hedgehogs that occasionally appear, tbh I used to feed them but rarely anymore as I think they are pretty much camped in next door now.

I have a fair bit of Heather and I always plant bee and butterfly friendly seeds each year to try and encourage them.

The bird population seems to consist mainly of shitehawks with some pigeons and magpies kicking about too.

I regularly supplement the hen's next door with some extra dietary goodness....

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Saw a Pine Marten the other day at dawn. It spent a few seconds sniffing around the green house then bolted away under a hedge. Apparently rare to see them so was quite chuffed. Knew it wasn't a weasel etc because it was bloody huge. 

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20 minutes ago, Albus Bulbasaur said:

Do foxes eat hedgehogs? 

Badgers are really the only animals n the UK that eat hedgehogs. They can pry them open with their front feet but nothing else can really get at them when they ball up. My camera caught both the fix and hedgehog in the garden at the same time last night. The fox nicked the egg that the hedgehog had broken into but that was the limit of their interaction.

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46 minutes ago, Albus Bulbasaur said:

Do foxes eat hedgehogs? 

As a rule, the problem with hedgehogs is not eating them - it's the spines at the other end of the process... Which is why badgers just rip them open of course.

If you're interested, here's what humans do/did (available at Victoria Park next season)

https://delicesdeprovence.co.uk/how-to-cook-a-hedgehog/

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We love feeding the birds and have attracted an increasing variety over the last couple of years by varying what we put out and where we locate our feeders. I also regularly clean the feeders and have two of each type to swap them over quickly. We have a couple of nest boxes but they don’t seem to attract the birds. There’s probably too much feeding going on which might put them off.

We attract bees, hover flies, wasps and other insects by planting as many pollinator friendly plants as possible. We have a bee hotel and it’s getting used right now by solitary bees.

I don’t dig the borders now unless I need to plant something. I just put some dung down at the start of spring and let the worms take it down. We have millions of worms now and the birds like to dig for them.

We are doing no mow May and the grass is a riot but it’s full of flowers. We stuck the guinea pigs out the front and they’ve earned their keep by munching the long grass.

I’ve binned trying to kill the slugs and snails as the poison must affect the animals that eat them. I try putting some fruit down in areas away from the tender plants and they seem to like munching that instead.

We’d love to do a small pond in the back garden but will wait till the kids grow up a bit more before doing it.

Main wild visitors are foxes, squirrels, frogs, toads, mice, sparrowhawks, bats, an owl even. Love attracting them in. Would be great to get hedgehogs too.

 

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3 minutes ago, Big Rider said:

We love feeding the birds and have attracted an increasing variety over the last couple of years by varying what we put out and where we locate our feeders. I also regularly clean the feeders and have two of each type to swap them over quickly. We have a couple of nest boxes but they don’t seem to attract the birds. There’s probably too much feeding going on which might put them off.

We attract bees, hover flies, wasps and other insects by planting as many pollinator friendly plants as possible. We have a bee hotel and it’s getting used right now by solitary bees.

I don’t dig the borders now unless I need to plant something. I just put some dung down at the start of spring and let the worms take it down. We have millions of worms now and the birds like to dig for them.

We are doing no mow May and the grass is a riot but it’s full of flowers. We stuck the guinea pigs out the front and they’ve earned their keep by munching the long grass.

I’ve binned trying to kill the slugs and snails as the poison must affect the animals that eat them. I try putting some fruit down in areas away from the tender plants and they seem to like munching that instead.

We’d love to do a small pond in the back garden but will wait till the kids grow up a bit more before doing it.

Main wild visitors are foxes, squirrels, frogs, toads, mice, sparrowhawks, bats, an owl even. Love attracting them in. Would be great to get hedgehogs too.

 

I know there's a sparrow hawk using our garden but I've never actually seen it (only the aftermath of a kill).

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12 minutes ago, Rizzo said:

I know there's a sparrow hawk using our garden but I've never actually seen it (only the aftermath of a kill).

Brilliant birds. Really fast when hunting. I  usually see a puff of feathers as it weechs through the garden

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I know there's a sparrow hawk using our garden but I've never actually seen it (only the aftermath of a kill).
I have witnessed a few kills in my garden. It's a strange mix of beautiful and brutal.

The female sparrowhawk is bigger and slower and will eat roughly 2 pigeons a week. The smaller male is a killing machine and eats roughly 3 starlings a week. When there are chicks to be fed and mums at home protecting the nest the poor male has to kill about 10 birds a day to keep the entire family fed. A lot of these kills are young birds that are easy meat.
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Sparrow hawk been doing the rounds here over the past couple of weeks. Floating about way up high giving not one f**k about the gulls and crows trying to annoy it.

Downside is the smaller birds seemed to have fucked off for the time being.

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1 minute ago, Deanburn Dave said:

I have witnessed a few kills in my garden. It's a strange mix of beautiful and brutal.

The female sparrowhawk is bigger and slower and will eat roughly 2 pigeons a week. The smaller male is a killing machine and eats roughly 3 starlings a week. When there are chicks to be fed and mums at home protecting the nest the poor male has to kill about 10 birds a day to keep the entire family fed. A lot of these kills are young birds that are easy meat.

I sure I read somewhere that the size difference is some an evolutionary adaptation. Something to do with prey availability whereby there are plenty of fledglings available when the male is doing most of the hunting and larger prey when the females start getting in on the action.

Spoiler

probably remembered it completely inaccurately.

 

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With few exceptions female hawks, falcons, eagles and owls are bigger than the males. There's different theories on why this should be. One theory is that having a large female allows it to protect the nest/chicks more effectively.

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Posted (edited)

Thoroughly enjoying having my stick-to-the-office-window bird feeder thingy for some added entertainment whilst working from home.

Mealworm is like crack cocaine to the little f***ers.

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Said it before, but sparrows are underrated.

Edited by Hedgecutter
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Ive photographed all the ladybirds ive seen so far.

I thought the third one was pretty unusual.

If anyone could add more unusual ones and see how many types we can find at the end!

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At my last house out in the countryside, I had built some decking in the garden and I had a stoat or weasel either living underneath or had been using it as cover to pass through. I also had ducks sitting on eggs just over the dyke at the end of the lawn.
I even woke up one morning to a cow standing outside my back door.

Now I live in the town with no garden and it's shit

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2 hours ago, Qos91 said:

At my last house out in the countryside, I had built some decking in the garden and I had a stoat or weasel either living underneath or had been using it as cover to pass through. I also had ducks sitting on eggs just over the dyke at the end of the lawn.
I even woke up one morning to a cow standing outside my back door.

Now I live in the town with no garden and it's shit emoji17.png

I'm the opposite - I moved out here to the edge of the sticks from the west end maybe ten years ago. Previously I'd have considered seeing a blue tit or a robin in the vicinity of my flat as being a bit exotic, but since we've been here I've logged about 60 species of bird in or over the garden as well as about ten different mammals.

Probably the weirdest garden tick bird-wise was a woodcock (we back onto woodland) and it was also a surprise to find out we've got badgers, although I've actually only clapped eyes on them maybe half a dozen times over the course of the decade we've been here.

 

 

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When I was a teenager our Jack Russell terrier brought a hedgehog into the house and tried to kill it. It stank and was covered in fleas. Cut the dogs mouth. 

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