20 May 2022

Kildare's Wildlife Watch: Giving nature a dig out during winter months

With the Irish Peatland Conservation Council

Kildare's Wildlife Watch: Giving nature a dig out during winter months

A bluetit and a chaffinch. Picture: Tristram Whyte

The temperatures definitely took a dip last week and with the clocks changing it certainly began to feel like winter was upon us.

While our local wildlife are well adapted to the changing seasons they can also benefit from a helping hand from us. Gathering a pile of autumn leaves and keeping them under a shrub, hedge or around your compost bin for the winter can provide a lovely hibernating ground for hedgehogs and indeed garden invertebrates will also benefit from this food supply.

Water is essential for all life and during the winter water can often freeze. To help wildlife, regularly place a shallow container of water in your garden for wildlife to drink from. You might even find that gardens birds decide to take a bath in it!

Garden birds are important natural predators and throughout the summer they have been busy feeding on slugs, snails and caterpillars found in your garden.

While autumn is the season of berries over the next few weeks these berries will become more limited in supply.

Garden bird feeders are a real help to our local birds, supplying a source of food when natural supplies are limited. If you live in an area surrounded by trees you might even find your local squirrels take advantage of your supply of food.

There are two main reasons why I suggest you feed your garden birds in winter. Birds are said to show strong associations to particular areas. It is suggested if you feed them in the winter they will return to your garden in the warmer months and act as a natural pest control.

The second reason I encourage you to consider feeding garden birds is that, annually, BirdWatch Ireland co-ordinate a citizen science project, asking you to record garden birds.

This information is important as it helps to determine changes in species populations that, of course, can indicate changes to our local environment.

If you would like help identifying local wildlife or indeed like to share your images of local wildlife encountered to be used in a future Wildlife Watch, contact me on 045 860133 or

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