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Wildlife Calendar - November


As colourful leaves continue to fall, berries and nuts are the main course for foragers of the wildlife world in November. If they are wise, then birds and mammals will be having their fill before hording for the winter. Although many mammals may retreat to their warm beds for hibernation this month, birds are more visible in amongst the bare branches of looking for a meal from the new menu – read on to see how you can serve up a course for them!

Hedgerows are a safe haven for a variety of wildlife such as songbirds, voles, mice, shrews and horseshoe bats who use hedges for ‘autumn fruits’ and for protection from predators and the elements. There is something so special about Hedgerows – they look nicer and more natural for one thing and they help sustain our precious wildlife which is vital for future generations. Trees, brambles and woody shrubs such as hawthorn, blackthorn and field maple make up a mature hedgerow. We encourage you to buck the trend of erecting fences and walls as boundaries, and choose a native hedgerow. Now is a good time to plant a new hedge - bare rooted trees and shrubs of native species may be purchased and planted together to form a mixed hedge.

Although you may be tempted to tidy the garden this time of year as the flowers die and leaves fall, remember that wildlife are actually more likely to be attracted to a messy garden! There is a compromise though - Rather than burn or discard the leaves, rake the leaves into piles and contain them in compost heaps or under hedges. Some pruning of woody plants is fine, but it is better to leave or tie up dead and dying flowers to provide some shelter for insects and seeds for finches and other garden visiting birds. Leave the lawn or meadow a little longer through the winter to provide further refuge for garden residents.

Bird visitors this month include waxwing, redwing and fieldfare. Waders and waterfowl are more prevalent in the wetland habitats – you are likely to see geese flying over in huge V formations. Common birds such as robin, blackbird and starling are visitors from the colder northern European countries to boost our numbers, and there seems to be more bird activity than ever – although this may be due to the fact that they are more visible among the bare branches of trees and shrubs.

Clean out your nest boxes now – this will remove any parasites that are harbouring in the old nest material. It is a great idea to place some natural material such as wool or coir into the box to provide warmth for roosting birds. We also provide roosting nest pockets that are made for this specially purpose. Boxes and roosting pockets have been known to contain 20 or 30 small birds such as wrens clustering together for communal warmth.

As the natural food starts to become less available, it is a good time to supplement and start providing food and water for birds. Set up a bird feeding station – this allows different types of food to be served ensuring that the maximum number of species are catered for. The feeding station allows you to hang seed feeders, peanut feeders and suet feeders. A ground feeder could also be installed to feed the songbirds, woodpigeons and doves. Nature Station can help you select the best combination of feeders and supply you with all types of food throughout the year, with particular emphasis on high energy foods during the winter months.