Back garden wildlife encounters

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,162
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Lancashire
OK we moved to our new house in the country, edge of a small village. It has a decent sized garden and half is semi natural. So I expected something to visit us but not as closely as we have had.

Second evening a fox came to look at our son through the dining room window. Third a huge pheasant with a more golden head colouring than the usual green and red. Then the morning of the sixth day a normal pheasant hopped onto a narrow window sill in the kitchen and pecked the window. What's that about?

So I do wonder what is coming next and should I do something to encourage it? I'm thinking of getting bird seed and collecting fats into a container with seeds then hanging upside down from a tree in winter. Possibly coconut shell too. Another is homemade seed and fat balls I think. But what about mammals?

So what's your memorable home wildlife encounter? Do you have regular visitors? Do you encourage them? How?

One last thing, I knew people who lived over the road so I know deer visit gardens here. Waiting for that one certainly.
 
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Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,709
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S. Lanarkshire
There's a fine line between encouraging wildlife and encouraging vermin.

Rats are opportunists and you really, really don't want to tempt them to take up any close residence.

That's my only caveat on encouraging wildlife :) It's a constant quiet enjoyment seeing the visitors to my garden. Just now there's a magpie pestering two big wood pigeons, there are newts in the pond and when the Sun shines I can see all the little water life busily swimming around. At dusk I can see the fox, occasionally hear the hedgehog rustling through the leaf litter, hear the owls and the noise of the deer on the back lane.

I leave the hidden pathways clear, the scrapes under the fence where the badgers, the fox, the hedgehog (and the neighbourhood moggies !) get in and out of my garden. I don't tidy up too vigorously in Autumn but leave piles of leaf litter in sheltered corners, I don't cut things hard back, I leave space for wildlife, I leave homes for insects and invertebrates and small mammals. I deliberately grow things like ivy over fences to provide shelter and nesting space, as well as insect roosts, and later food for insects and birds from the flowers and berries too.
I don't ever use weedkiller sprays. I always have water available in the garden, and I compost every thing I can to enrich my soil.
To be honest the garden is just the biggest room in my home, and I try to keep it welcoming for visitors.

M
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,162
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Lancashire
I went to a large local garden centre, also the best for plants not just the extras they often need to survive these days. Needed a few things and thought I'd get a bird seed pack. Came back with seed mix, nuts and two half coconuts with fats, seeds, nuts and meal worms in it. Just filled nut feeder from tree, both coconuts from the bird table and a mix of seeds and nuts in a bowl on the table.

In the process there's a bit spilled. In the garden centre they recommended floor, hanging and table as feed locations to cope with a variety of birds. I'm always wary about ground feeding because of rats and mice. We'll see what happens.

My sister bought us a bug hotel to hang from a tree or fence. On top is a tray for the plant seeds that came with it. The idea is the flowers froe b on top and bees crawl into the holes underneath. A gimmick for the gullible I think. Not that it won't be good for them just that there's better, cheaper and easier ways of doing it.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,162
965
Lancashire
There's a few small lawns. I'm not a fan of lawn mowers. If it was up to me I'd throw a load of wild flower seeds and see let it grow into whatever it grows into. With the house and village proud nature of people I'm not sure a wild meadow front lawn would go down well.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
We live in the middle of nowhere so we get a huge variety. We do not feed though. I encourage you to think who you are feeding for - the benefit of the wildlife? or for your entertainment? Wildlife in general does not need feeding and doing so only ends up encouraging wildlife to be too reliant and too confident in being around humans. There is evidence that feeding birds in summer has contributed to the spread of disease for example.

I know that opinion is not popular with a lot of people (especially if you sell bird food :)) but at times I think our 'generosity' can be cruel.
 
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slowworm

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May 8, 2008
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Devon
I agree with Broch. At least don't go overboard on the feeders. I try to grow stuff for the birds, berry producing shrubs, leave seed heads on, don't mow every inch of the lawn etc.

Don't forget water.

Ensure your feeders and water bowl are cleaned regularly. This is very important.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,162
965
Lancashire
There's no point in going overboard, it's not going to do any more good having too much sitting around in feeders. That's why I've only got three kinds of foods. Nuts for a feeder tube hanging from a tree, half coconut with fats, nuts, seeds, meal worms in it hanging from tree or bird table and a tray containing seeds and nuts on the table.

I'll see what goes and if any doesn't go I'll take away and store until autumn and winter when it might be more needed. My view is to supplement what's around when needed. I'll probably let it run out over summer anyway.

Where I used to live there was a canal and a thriving population of resident ducks. They see a pushchair and flock to it. Or a group with a little kid does it too. They've become habitualised to feed from humans. Worst thing is bread isn't great for them. Before covid the canalside pub there sold duck food which still isn't best thing to do for the ducks but it's probably a bit healthier than bread.
 
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