The simple steps to making your garden wildlife-friendly
As the weather becomes warmer, you may begin to see more wildlife in your garden.
However, there are certain things which can be incredibly harmful to garden wildlife - and some simple ways to encourage animals and birds to frequent your outdoor space.
You should not give garden wildlife processed food, as it provides poor nutrition and can provide serious health problems (Photo: Shutterstock)
Don't leave out processed food
Firstly, one of the main dangers to wildlife is human food. You should not give garden wildlife processed food, as it offers poor nutrition and can cause serious health problems, especially for young animals which are still developing.
Foods such as cake, chips, dairy and leftover takeaway food should not be given to wildlife in your garden.
For waterfowl such as ducks, geese and swans, unhealthy high protein or carbohydrate-heavy foods, including white bread and crackers, can cause a deformity called '˜angel wing'.
Don't hang bird feeders close to windows
Bird feeders are a great way of attracting wildlife to your garden and providing them with food, but hanging them too close to a window risks birds flying into the glass.
Hang bird feeders away from windows and if possible make windows less clear by planting extra trees and bushes, to prevent birds from flying into the glass and providing extra places for them to seek refuge.
Don't leave food too close to your car or house
If you leave food for wildlife too close to your home or car, this can cause property damage such as scratches, cracks, broken windows and flat tires, due to animals fighting over the food you have left for them.
However there are also various other things you can do to attract wildlife to your garden and help to protect them.
Do provide a safe place for wildlife
If you have any household pets such as cats and dogs, they have a natural tendency to play with smaller wildlife.
By creating a safe place in your garden where your four-legged friend cannot enter, or where it wouldn't usually go to, this allows wildlife a protected area to get used to.
Do provide water
Providing access to water instantly makes your garden more attractive to wildlife. Leave a saucer of water out or fill a birdbath year-round, but especially in the winter when water may be hard to come by.
Frogs, newts, birds, hedgehogs, bats and bees all need water to survive, so having it available at a range of heights both day and night makes a huge difference.
Leave a saucer of water out or fill a birdbath year-round (Photo: Shutterstock)
Do provide the right kind of food for your garden wildlife
Organic nuts and seeds, including sunflower seeds, corn kernels, pieces of tree nuts, buckwheat, peanuts in-shell and fresh fruit are suitable for an array of wildlife.
If you have certain animals which always make an appearance in your garden, it's worth checking what they can and cannot eat. For example, you should never give hedgehogs milk, just water.
Do look at access
Consider how wildlife can get in and out of your garden and where the route will lead them when they leave.
Add a hole in the bottom of your fence so that small creatures such as toads and hedgehogs can easily come in and out and if it's possible, you could provide easier access by replacing your fence with a suitable hedgerow.