Have you noticed that all this time at home has made you more aware of the nature outside your windows? If so, why not use the next few weeks as a chance to make your street, balcony or garden a better habitat for wildlife? Sian Moxon, founder of the Rewild My Street campaign, gives her top tips.
1. Make wildlife gaps in your fences for hedgehogs and other creatures that need to roam beyond your boundaries by sawing a 150mm wide x 120mm high hole at ground level. Or, if it’s time for you to install a new fence, you can buy one with bespoke gravel boards with pre-cut holes.
2. Plant up a window box to brighten your view, even if all you have is a window sill or balcony rail. Use flowering plants to help pollinating insects such as bumble bees. Buy plants that have the RHS Plants for Pollinators stamp.
3. Watch the birds. Keep bird feeders stocked with tasty treats, including sunflower hearts, peanuts and suet, to attract a range of species. Try a window-mounted feeder if you don’t have a garden.
4. Add a bird bath to attract garden birds for a drink or dip. Include pebbles to give wild bees a safe place to land for a drink. If you have a balcony, use a hanging bird bath.
5. Make a mini meadow to help insects and all life that depends on them. Sow wildflower seed, lay wildflower turf or just let your lawn grow. Keep it tidy with a mown pathway or edging. You could also try sowing annual wildflower seeds in a pot or your nearest tree pit [the little squares of soil around trees planted on pavements].
6. Make a log pile from branches and twigs to shelter toads, beetles and other invertebrates. Avoid major pruning of hedges, shrubs and trees in spring when birds could be nesting.
7. Put up nest boxes for different species, such as blue and great tits, robins, sparrows and swifts. Hang up sheep’s wool to help birds make their nests cosy.
8. Embrace the fact foxes and cubs play in your street at night. If you have a garden, provide a dog teether to deter cubs from chewing your possessions, use wire mesh to prevent potted plants being dug up and keep a poo scoop handy.
9. Limit your cat’s toll on wildlife by keeping them indoors from dusk to dawn, when their prey is most active. Use a collar with a bell and a timed cat flap to protect birds and small mammals.
Inspired? Get rewilding – and make sure you put up a blue heart in your window to show your neighbours you’re doing it. This gives you a great excuse to do nothing – resist over-tidying to let nature do its own thing for wildlife. You can make your own heart or buy one from Blue Campaign. Sign up for monthly wild makeover tips and your free wild makeover guide from Rewild My Street here.