How Can You Encourage Wildlife Into Your Garden This Winter?

Posted on November 26, 2018 by Devon Metcalfe

During the winter, many people like to take the opportunity to retire from their gardening duties until the spring comes in the New Year. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have some visitors when the weather turns colder. Make them feel welcome and encourage wildlife into your garden while they battle the elements.

What Wildlife Can You Expect During Winter?

It’s inevitable at any time of year that you’ll see birds in your garden, but they’re not the only creatures that are out during the winter. Expect to see toads and frogs (particularly if you’ve got a pond or live near a lake), hedgehogs, ladybirds and other insects, squirrels, butterflies and moths. With all of this anticipated wildlife, you may wish to look for ways to look after them as they try to survive the winter.

hedgehog resting in leaves in garden

Give Them What They Need

The most important things to do for wildlife during the winter are to provide them with food and shelter.


Birds in particular require certain fatty foods to help keep them warm, allowing them to turn it into energy to make it through the winter. You can help them, and other animals, by:

  • Creating homemade fat blocks by melting suet into moulds with holes drilled in
  • Leave a wire mesh bird feeder filled with nuts and other food in a sheltered environment
  • Place another bird feeder near the ground for ground-feeding birds such as robins and dunnocks
  • Scatter some dried fruits on the ground for those birds that prefer fruit such as blackbirds and thrushes

bird eating from homemade bird feeder


Providing shelter to vulnerable wildlife during winter is one of the best ways to encourage wildlife into your garden. Some ways you can provide shelter:

  • Build dens for hedgehogs and other hibernating animals with lots of sticks, leaves and branches
  • If you’ve got a pond, melt a hole in it to allow wildlife to drink, as well as go in and out of the water
  • With a medium sized cardboard box and leaves, make a mini bug hotel and place it in a dry, sheltered area
  • Avoid cutting hedges until the end of winter to give shelter to birds and allow them more time to eat the berries

Overcoming Difficulties

You may find other animals such as pigeons or squirrels vying for the food and shelter on offer. Though they too deserve help during the winter, it shouldn’t hinder you from aiding the other creatures. Feeders allow for more control over what you attract but you can also get them specially fitted with squirrel guards.

brown squirrel in garden

Encourage Wildlife Into Your Garden All Year-Round!

Wildlife shouldn’t just be a concern during winter because of the cold weather, you can look after your garden creatures all year round! By looking for ways to encourage wildlife into your garden, you’re also providing great activities for the family, particularly if you have young children. Getting everyone involved in creating DIY bird feeders or leaving water out for thirsty animals can be great fun whatever the weather. In the summertime you’ll also have the benefit of your outdoor furniture for relaxing on when you’re admiring the wildlife!

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