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During my university years, I have been living in Bournemouth where there is much less wildlife in the garden compared to at home. I have tried to attract wildlife as best as I can in my second and third-year houses. In my third year house, we have managed to attract a fair amount of nature! So I thought today I would share a post on how to attract wildlife in an urban area. It is very fitting because June is the month of 30 days wild which is organised by The Wildlife Trusts.
Hang up a birdfeeder
A great way to attract wildlife in an urban area is through a birdfeeder. If you have a balcony or a small garden, this is a great feature to have that will attract some local birds. It is especially important in the winter and autumn, as there are less insects and berries around. In my garden at home, our bird feeders aren’t used as much in the summer, likely because they can find their own. But I have heard some people say that their local birds are still using their feeders a lot.
Different bird food attracts different birds. I tend to use a wild bird mix as there is a large variety of things to attract the most. Beware of squirrels if you don’t want to attract them – they love bird food.
Plant pollinator-friendly flowers
Another way to attract wildlife in an urban area is by planting pollinator-friendly flowers. It is super important to plant flowers with nectar/pollen because otherwise you won’t be attracting pollinators. It is even better to plant a variety of flowers so that there is something available for different times of the year. There are lots of flower mixes* that you can buy, or individual flower seeds such as wild cornflowers*, wild marjoram*, wild red poppies* and verbena*.
Leave a bucket of water out
If you don’t have space for a pond, try and just leave a bucket of water out. You could even put a pond plant in if there’s enough room to try and entice more organisms. I’m not saying you’re going to get tadpoles, but you may get some birds coming for a drink of water. If you have a small garden, you might even get hedgehogs or foxes! If all else fails, you’ll probably see a cat coming for a drink.
Continue reading: 8 ways to attract nature in an urban area
As great as it is to have a birdfeeder and a pond, birds like to have a bit of cover. Otherwise, it can be a bit of a risky move to go into a garden with little to no cover as they might be spotted by predators. If you can’t plant trees because your garden isn’t big enough, shrubs are the next best plan. Dog Rose is a native shrub with flowers blossoming from May/June. It grows 1-5m tall so is good for smaller gardens. The flowers are great for pollinators, and the fruits are good for birds.
Create a leaf litter pile
Another simple way to attract wildlife in an urban area is creating a leaf litter pile. This is literally just leaving a pile of wood and leaves untouched in a space in your garden. It is a great place for butterflies to hibernate over the autumn and winter before emerging in the spring. Species such as Red Admirals do this. The leaf litter will also attract beetles, bugs, frogs and slow worms.
Let your garden grow messy
I’m not saying don’t look after it, but it isn’t essential to have a perfectly mowed garden. Even if it is just a small patch, it is so beneficial for wildlife to build a habitat in overgrown areas. Allowing the garden to take its natural state means that there are more species available for wildlife. Flowers such as daisies, buttercups and dandelions are often found in gardens with wild patches. Long grass is so good for attracting grasshoppers and frogs to hide in.
Related post: 7 ways nature can improve your mental health
Use peat-free compost
It is so much better to use peat-free compost* for the planet. The peat bog habitat is pretty essential! It is a wetland with conditions that prevent vegetation from decaying fully when it dies, and instead creates peat. This happens over thousands of years and stores a lot of carbon dioxide during this time. When used that carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Along with the huge benefit of storing CO2, they are also used to soak up water runoff and prevent flooding. They attract a lot of organisms, with over 380 species of moss, and other species including Golden Eagles, the Large Heath butterfly, and Black Grouse.
Add a bird box, insect hotel etc.
Adding a bird box will massively increase your chances of getting a bird to nest in your garden. Make sure you put it in a good place, away from direct sunlight so the birds don’t overheat. Try not to put it where there are too many branches or obstacles in the way of getting out. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to come in and out when building their nest, and feeding their babies. An insect hotel or bee hotel is another way to attract wildlife in an urban area.
How do you attract wildlife? Which is your favourite way to attract wildlife in an urban area?
Other nature posts:
- How to attract butterflies to your garden
- The ultimate list of butterfly species to spot in the UK
- July wildlife to spot in the UK
- Eco-friendly and wildlife gift guide