Birds, insects, hedgehogs ...
These small animals are useful for the natural functioning of gardens,
hence the importance of offering them a place to stay before winter.
- 5 shrubs that attract birds
- Jardin de Villandry, a refuge for birds
- Shelters for small animals
- The hedgehog, the ally of gardeners
Blue tit or great tit, robin, sparrow, finch ... These birds frequently stay in gardens but many others are passing through and we can have fun watching them. Large consumers of caterpillars and pests, they are the gardener's friend. To help them subsist during the winter when their usual food is scarce, it is recommended to set up, or suspend, a feeder in which seeds or balls of fat are placed at their disposal. Several models are commercially available but it is easy to build one yourself.
During the cold season, a nesting box allows birds to protect themselves from the elements. In spring, they can rear their broods there. Fall is a good time to set it up, as many species are already busy looking for a nest. Different shapes are possible, letterbox or semi-open type, using moisture resistant and sufficiently thick wood. The recommended orientation is south-east, sheltered from the wind.
In the insect family, some are essential to maintain the biological balance in a natural way. Bees, wasps and bumblebees pollinate plants. Syrphids, ground beetles, lacewings, ladybirds devour aphids. However, these linchpins of biodiversity are threatened by chemical treatments. Faced with this danger, the garden is a good place to welcome them.
In order to help them survive during the winter, it is possible to build them a kind of insect shelter where they can find refuge. This can take the form of a shelf or a small house. Just build a wooden frame with boxes inside. In each of them, you can install pieces of wood with holes, hollow bricks, pine cones, straw, all covered with a fine mesh. For ladybugs, a small box of the interstices on the bark of the wood will suffice.
The hedgehog should not be forgotten because this small insectivorous mammal is an excellent hunter in the service of the gardener. Its appetite helps to regulate populations of spiders, worms and snails. A pile of kindling in a discreet place, or a litter of leaves and branches under some shelter, suits him perfectly.
- To read: Recognizing the main birds in the garden to better welcome them