Firstly, an apology for my non-UK readers: this is a post about the weather, specifically, me moaning because it's a temperature that for many of you is perfectly normal. I can't help it, I'm English.
It’s too darn hot. I commute to London four days a week. It’s really not been fun lately – our train isn’t air conditioned, and there seems to be no air at all coming in through the windows. Everyone is sweaty – clothes cling, and everybody politely ignores the visible damp patches on shirts, as we’re all in the same position. But I get off lightly – I don’t have to enter the depths of hell that is the underground network at this time of year, nor wedge myself into a mobile greenhouse (otherwise known as a bus).
And night is little better. Yesterday evening it was 27 degrees C when I wanted to go to bed. I’m not made for extremes of heat or cold – give me 21 degrees C and sunshine, and I’m happy. Anything too far either side of that and I’m miserable.
But I am very lucky – I can carry a bottle of water with me, and my food supply is as easily accessible as ever. Spare a thought for our wildlife, who aren’t as lucky. Here’s some easy things you can do to help your wild neighbours during a heatwave:
- Keep a bird bath topped up with clean water
- Don’t forget about creatures who can’t fly – if you don’t have an accessible pond with shallow sloping sides, put out a dish of fresh water on the ground each day and night
- If you don’t have a pond, why not create one – it’s one of the best things you can do to encourage wildlife in your garden. It needn’t be big – our mini pond gets used by lots of wildlife
- Don’t forget to feed the birds and hedgehogs – it can be particularly hard for hedgehogs and blackbirds to find food when it’s been hot and dry for a long while, so leave out some cat food or mealworms for them
- Water your garden plants when it’s cool (preferably with water from a water butt) to keep your garden a green oasis for wildlife
- Build a log pile – this will provide damp shady places for insects, amphibians and mammals to keep cool during the day
- Plant a tree or two in your garden to create some shade, if you don’t have some already (although a heatwave isn’t a great time to start planting trees – you might want to wait until the autumn / winter for this one)
You can find loads of useful wildlife gardening advice and practical instructions from the RSPB Make a Home for Wildlife site.
Do you have any other tips for helping wildlife through a heatwave?