Wild Birds, Hedgehogs, Etc.: Help for Garden Animals in Winter

When it gets colder in autumn, many native bird species such as cuckoo, nightingale and swallow move to warmer countries. The situation is different with titmouse, blackbird or sparrow, who also spend the winter with us. Usually, our feathered friends are excellent self-sufficient people who can cope well with cold temperatures. But when it comes to ice and snow, it becomes difficult for them to find suitable food. In addition, their habitat has changed, there may be fewer insects available to them as a source of food so that it is more difficult for them to build up fat reserves in summer. The four-legged garden dwellers such as hedgehogs or squirrels are often no different. We can support all of them in winter with our help. But it is important to take the right measures. You can find out how you can support your home in this post.

This is How Wild Birds Get Through the Winter Well

Increasing industrialization in agriculture and the use of pesticides and chemicals instead of natural fertilizers are severely decimating insects in number and biodiversity. Our wild birds, as classic insect eaters, are particularly affected by this. If your table is set sparsely in summer, there is even less for you in winter. But with the right precautions, we humans can help them get through the winter safely.

The specialist trade offers a wide range of wild bird food with which bird lovers can support the little fliers. Ready-made feed, tit dumplings, rings of fat, or mealworms are ideal for feeding in winter. So that the feed stays as dry as possible and does not swell or rot, we recommend birdhouses that can be set up or hung in the garden, on the terrace, or on the balcony. They are also a great way to watch the birds foraging in the garden from inside. In addition to a feed bowl and hooks for hanging delicacies, you should have a sufficiently large roof to keep the feed dry and free of snow. Practical feed dispensers that only have small openings and can be hung up are also well suited.

You can also make your own food. A homemade “bowl cake” made from vegetable fat and seeds is not only well received by the feathered fellows, but it is also a beautiful decoration for the garden. All you need is an old cake pan into which you can put about one kilogram of melted fat mixed with birdseed and poured onto a plate after it has set.

Tips for Birds in Winter

  • Not all bird species have the same taste. Have grains, seeds, sunflower seeds, dried berries, and dried fruits to choose from.
  • Birds such as blackbirds or robins usually look for their food near the ground, while tits or sparrows like to head for higher places. Therefore, you shouldn’t just set up one feeding station.
  • In addition to food, you should also provide a bowl of freshwater when it is frosty and keep it ice-free so that the birds can quench their thirst.
  • Bread and leftover food do not belong in the bird feeder, they contain spices that could damage the health of the feathered animals.

This is How You Can Support Hedgehogs in Winter

In autumn, you can often see hedgehogs roaming around in gardens or parks. As a rule, they are looking for suitable accommodation for their hibernation. They do not normally need our help at this time of year and should therefore not be collected if they appear healthy and vital. You can support them in their search for a place to sleep by creating ideal conditions for them in the garden. If the garden has trees and bushes, you shouldn’t remove all of the leaves that fall in the fall. Hedgehogs love to build cozy nests in piles of leaves. They give them warmth and protection from cold temperatures. Many of them climb under the mountain of foliage at the beginning of winter and only reappear when spring begins.

You can also offer the cute spiny animals a cozy home to overwinter away from the leaves. In addition to a hedgehog house from the trade, a simple wooden shed, a small wooden house or a wind-protected area in the garden that can be covered are also ideal. It is important that the hedgehog can go in and out at any time if he wants to. Some hay and straw for padding are also gladly accepted. Some hedgehogs make themselves really comfortable in an old rabbit house and sleep through their time.

Under certain conditions, a hedgehog can also spend the winter in the dark basement of your home in a wooden box padded with natural materials. However, it is a good idea to discuss this with a veterinarian who can provide valuable accommodation advice. If a hedgehog needs to be nursed, the veterinarian can recommend a special diet. Basically, you can give hedgehogs cat food temporarily. They also like hard-boiled eggs or raw minced meat with a little oatmeal to replace insects that are otherwise on their menu. There are also special hedgehog stations in many animal shelters. Found animals can be handed in there in winter.

Tips for Hedgehogs in Winter

  • Hedgehogs should only be nursed when they are out and about in winter when there is frost and snow. If they are active in autumn, they are simply looking for their winter quarters.
  • Milk is not recommended for hedgehogs. If they are sick, cow’s milk also weakens them because it causes diarrhea.
  • Injured or sick hedgehogs who appear apathetic and emaciated are best taken to the vet or a hedgehog ward. A fully grown hedgehog weighs at least 550 grams.

That Helps Squirrels in Winter

We are happy to watch the local squirrels wandering cheerfully through our gardens. They are particularly active in autumn. They collect nuts, acorns, beechnuts, or hazelnuts all day long. The cute climbers are busy creating delicacies in pantries. Most of these are holes in the ground that they have found or dug with great skill. When a warehouse is well filled, it is covered with soil and twigs and the next chamber is started. In this way, innumerable hiding places for food are created. Not all of them will go to the croissant later, some places it simply forgets. Others are looted by mice or martens.

In winter, squirrels spend most of their time sleeping in their closed nests (usually called “goblins”), which they build from branches and leaves in trees. However, they do not really hibernate. For a few hours of the day, they leave their Kobel to go to their feeding chambers. If their depots are not so well filled because there were fewer nuts and other tree fruits in autumn, they are grateful for our help. This also applies to snow and severe frost, when the earth is frozen so solid that you can no longer open its chambers. A basket with walnuts and chestnuts, which is placed in a sheltered place in the garden, is often used. You can also collect acorns and pine cones while walking and lay them out for the lively croissants.

You can also help the lively tree squirrels build their nests. Instead of building themselves, they also like to move into a prefabricated wooden apartment. Larger bird nest boxes with a larger entry hole are ideal for this. There are no limits to your creativity, you can also build a wooden house yourself and then hang it up.

Tips for Squirrels in Winter

  • Squirrels are loners. Don’t just set up a feed basket, but spread nuts, beechnuts, and acorns in several positions in the garden so that the croissants don’t get in each other’s way while collecting and arguing about the food.
  • In zoo specialist shops, feed mixes are available that are tailored to the special needs of the tree dwellers. You can also offer them this squirrel food.
  • Do not remove all dead branches and leaves from the garden in autumn, because squirrels use them to build their nests.

Conclusion: We can support our two- and four-legged garden dwellers in winter by providing them with food and providing shelters. It is an advantage to design and preserve your own garden as close to nature as possible. Then more insects settle and actively intervene in the entire ecosystem.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *