Anyone with bird feeders in their gardens will have noticed how busy the birds continue to be and the breeding season has already begun with many birds flying around with nesting material in their beaks, off to build a new home for this year’s crop of youngsters. Needless to say, It remains important to ensure that feeders are kept clean and topped up regularly and that bird-baths and water receptacles are well scrubbed and kept full with clean water; this will substantially reduce the risks of birds passing on any illnesses to each other or their young.
The RSPB has an excellent site which includes information about the best foods to put out for our feathered friends at:-
“Please don’t forget our fresh, clean water!”
If you are feeding fat balls or peanuts which are supplied in plastic netting bags, don’t be tempted to use these nets as “feeders” as birds’ feet and legs can easily become entangled and badly injured.
The hedgehog population has reached a crisis point and we all need to do all we can to reverse the rapid decline in numbers – it’s very sad to see hedgehogs dying from thirst or starvation. Those hedgehogs which managed to struggle through the very wet conditions last winter will be doing all they can to restore body condition and prepare for the breeding season which can last from April to September, with the peak of breeding (the rut) being in May and June.
It is important to keep a supply of clean, fresh water and food easily accessible; hedgehogs will eat tinned cat or dog meat (preferably in jelly) but do not feed any fish based product; dry* cat or dog food is also acceptable (*this will also help them to keep their teeth clean). It is probably sensible to put any tinned food out after dusk. The GSPCA and local pet shops normally hold supplies of dried food specifically designed for hedgehogs. Whatever you do, please DO NOT feed hedgehogs bread and milk– as this will make them very ill and possibly kill them.
Please bear in mind that if hedgehogs are seen out in the daytime, it is possible that something is seriously wrong and they might be sick or injured and in urgent need of help. A fit and healthy hedgehog should appear round, plump and active. You may occasionally see a fit hedgehog out in the daytime if it’s desperately nest building or grabbing a much needed drink or something to eat, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
****Sick or injured hedgehogs should be carefully placed in a box (so that they don’t waddle off into the undergrowth to die a slow death), while you go off to phone the GSPCA on 01481 257261 or Guernsey Hedgehog Rescue on 07781 144250 for advice. The GSPCA and Guernsey Hedgehog Rescue are always available with expert advice and assistance.
Please also remember the hedgehogs when tidying up the garden and veg patch and if you have a bonfire, please check carefully underneath before lighting it as there may be hedgehogs using it as accommodation. *******Strimmers, bonfires, slug pellets and rat poison all spell disaster******** for hedgehogs as well as other wild-life!
The photo below shows a local hedgehog out in the daytime on 18th April, 2020, busy nest building. Her kind host kindly provided two buckets full of dry leaves as well as a steady supply of clean water and the appropriate food – the accommodation beneath the decking is ideal. Mr Hedgehog is also around, but like so many husbands during COVID-19 Lock-down, seems reluctant to become involved in any DIY or house maintenance! The host’s reward will soon be a family of hoglets and a garden free from slugs. (Please don’t tell anyone but it’s just over the frontier in St Martins!).
The links below have some useful information about feeding garden birds and hedgehogs.
Other Wildlife (& Natural History) – Useful Local Information.
If you have any local, wildlife photos which you would like to offer for publication on the Parish Website, please submit in jpg format to email@example.com, or drop them into Douzaine Office.