Bird, bug and animal houses:creature comforts to bring wildlife in from the cold

by Drucilla James

Credit: RSPB

As countryside food supplies dwindle and temperatures fall, wild creatures, like the aristocrats of old, are heading to town for the winter season. Given the on-going decline of the usual habitats, we suggest alternative much sought-after properties to see these creatures through the cold .Not only will these serve a purpose – the urban garden is now vital to the survival of many birds, insects and small mammals – their occupants will delight us with their presence too.

Bijou Bolt-Holes for Birds

Site nest boxes sheltered from wind and rain and strong sunlight. Small boxes are great for blue, great and coal tits, nuthatches and robins that already nest successfully in gardens. Larger boxes work for starlings and owls. Try supporting some of the declining species like the sparrow.

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  1. Home for wings bird house by Lotta Cole Design £84 at Not on the high street,  
  2. Handmade Tudor house bird box £59 from Lindleywood,
  3. Tawny owl box £100 from Burford, 
  4. Funky bird house £12.50 from Dutch By Design,  
  5. Handmade beach hut bird box £49 from Lindleywood,
  6. Cedar plus triple sparrow house £49 from Burford,
  7.  Four seasons bird house £99 from Sparrow & Finch,  
  8. Eva solo white nesting box with variable size hole £60 from Amara,   

Banqueting Suite

Birds need safe and reliable food sources to support themselves and eventually to feed their chicks. Fill these bird feeders with delicacies such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, niger seeds (popular with goldfinches), fat balls and food bars, mealworms, fruit- apples, and bird seed mixes (without barley, wheat, split peas or lentils) and there’s a bird bath too:

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  1. Appleholder bird feeder from The Conran Shop  £11.50,
  2. Blomus Nido bird feeder house £62 from Red Candy,
  3. Build your own bird feeder £13.49 from The Chelsea Gardener,
  4. ECO food waste table £8.95 from ashortwalk,    
  5. Acorn bird bath on oak plinth £699 from The Worm that Turned,  
  6. Goldfinch feeder tube £3.99 from Crocus,
  7. Sanctuary for ground feeding birds £37.99 from Crocus,
  8. Pine cone bird feeder £25 from Cox & Cox,

Capture the occasion:

 9. Wildlife and bird feeder wireless camera £142 from RSPB OnlineShop,

Three star restaurants:

10. Ivy grand bird table £695 from Sparrow & Finch,

11. Bird feeder stand by Flock- Follies £350 from Not on the high street,

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

Give bees and bugs a safe place to live and hibernate and in turn they’ll be ready to support us gardeners in the spring. Lacewings and ladybirds will help reduce the numbers of those less desirable bugs, the aphids- and of course insects play a vital role in pollination.

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  1. Insect hotel , for a combination of inhabitants under one roof, £495 from CJ Wildlife,  
  2. Pollinating bee log £16 from Eden Project Shop,
  3. Garden bug box natural habitat for ladybirds and solitary bees £15 from hen & hammock,
  4. Ladybird nest £11.50 from hen & hammock,  
  5. Beesnees  3 bee houses for solitary bees  £21.95 from All lovely stuff,  
  6. Ladybird house  £21.95 from The Balcony Gardener,  
  7. Butterfly and insect hibernation house £14.95 from CJ Wildlife £14.95,
  8. Bumble bee nester £32 from  Eden Project Shop,  

Hibernation Hideaways

Establish some warm, safe havens for hibernation especially for hedgehogs, toads and bats – creatures increasingly under threat.

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  1. Wildlife house by Bug Storeys Ltd £750 from Not on the high street 
  2. RSPB hedgehog home £44.99 from RSPB Online Shop,
  3. Bat box £19.49 from RSPB Online Shop,
  4. Chapelwood bat box £19.99 from Dobbies Garden Centres
  5. Dormouse house £25 from Eden Project Shop ,
  6. Frog/toad house £34.75 from the Eden Project Shop,


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