Winter Survival

Photo - Bob Coyle

As the temperature drops and food becomes scarce, winter can become a challenging time for wildlife in Essex. It is at this time that garden visitors will be in need of a regular source of energy rich food and fresh water. We explore five quick and simple ways you can help to support wildlife this winter!

Feed the birds

Feeding the birds in your garden is vital at this time of year, as they may struggle to source natural foods such as insects, berries, seeds and worms. Not only will you be helping wildlife, but you may even get the opportunity to see garden birds up close and identify each species!

Lorna Shaw, Biological Records Centre Co-ordinator for Essex Wildlife Trust explores what to feed garden birds, and how recording your sightings can help in protecting these species in her latest blog. 

Read Lorna's blog here


Photo - Margaret Holland

Provide fresh water

Even when it is cold, animals still need access to water to drink and bathe in. By simply providing a shallow bowl of clean water in your garden, you can help wildlife including hedgehogs.

Leave your garden wild!

As your garden begins to appear a little unruly, try to avoid tidying away too much. By leaving some areas of your garden undisturbed such as piles of brushwood or leaves, you can provide the perfect nest for animals to rest and hide in. If you have a compost heap, this may become a welcome habitat for species such as slow worms. Top tip: try not to cut back mature ivy, as this can provide shelter for hibernating insects, and the berries a food source for birds in late winter.

Grass Snake

Break the ice

If you have a pond in your garden and it freezes over, carefully make a hole in the ice to prevent toxic gases building up in the water that can harm wildlife hibernating at the bottom. Never break the ice by pouring boiling water, instead gently place a pan of hot water on the surface.

Support important conservation in Essex

At Essex Wildlife Trust, we are dedicated to protecting the wildlife of Essex. Throughout the year we will be working to improve and maintain 87 nature reserves and 2 nature parks on 8,400 acres of land, purchasing and managing more land for nature as well as responding to over 300 contentious planning applications. If you would like to make a difference, take a look at how you can help.