Watching winter wildlife from the window

By on 22nd January in Garden

How chilly is it with the snow and how chilly are you expecting it to get during these winter months? Perhaps lower than the -13 degrees we experienced a few night ago?

With many ideas and energy saving devices to keep our homes warm this winter, don’t forget to look after your pets, the birds, animals and insects in your garden.

Although the phrase ‘man’s best friend’ usually refers to our faithful dogs, we are thinking about all God’s creatures, whatever breed they maybe in our homes and gardens this winter.

As a nation of animal lovers, we like to make sure at this time of year we pay special attention to those that can’t speak for themselves.  And that goes for the range of wildlife to be found in our gardens not just our domesticated pets, from the fish in the pond to the visiting birds that do not migrate south for the winter.

Whether we keep exotic or domesticated pets, our range of interest in nature and life extends throughout many species including, snakes, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits and fish in the pond to the hedgehogs and birds in the garden.


Bird Table by Chris Welding

Image from

What a wonderful sight it can be watching the colourful birds in all shapes and sizes; as they balance, swing and hang from the fat balls, baskets of nuts and the goodies left out on the bird table.  Watching the birds feed is a great sight and can give hours of pleasure watching from the warmth of your conservatory windows.   I always have a bird book near my seat to help me identify the more unusual birds that visit my garden.

Although we remember to feed the birds regularly we sometimes forget that they need to drink.  So if you have a bird bath in the garden, ensure that the water is not frozen over and the birds are able to access water.

Another visitor to the bird table I witnessed at the weekend was a squirrel.  They may not be as welcome at the bird table, but are happy to clear up the food dropped by the birds.

During the dark evenings you may see hedgehogs wobbling their way around the garden.  They like to hide away and build their nests in the undergrowth, so make sure if you are clearing away garden rubbish you try not disturb them.  Hedgehogs hibernate from November – March, depending on weather conditions.

If you have a pond in your garden, don’t forget the fish!   At this time of year they hide in the deepest parts of the pond to keep themselves warm in amongst the oxygenating plants.  Break the ice when it forms from the edge of the pond.


My boys during warmer days

My boys on a warmer summer’s day

As for ‘man’s best friend’, dogs and of course the cats in our lives, they too should have access to food, drink and a warm dry kennel or our home.  With a comfortable insulated bed they will be warm and cosy at all times.

For more information on how to look after the birds and other small animals that visit your garden please go to the RSPB website, and for other pets visit the RSPCA website.

If you would like to share your photos of unusual visitors to your garden if they have two or four legs we would love to see them.


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