Making a Wildlife Feeder

Thursday, 20 April 2017

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you'll know that my mum and I shared a magical (and slightly frantic!) moment the other day when we spotted an Orange-tip butterfly flitting around in the flowerbeds outside. I've never run for my camera so fast in my life! Fortunately, I managed to snap a quick picture of our pretty visitor before he flew away, and it got me thinking about what we could do to encourage more gorgeous wildlife like this in our garden over the coming months...

We're incredibly lucky down here in Cornwall to have been able to both create and maintain quite a wild and roaming garden filled with lots of native blooms. My mum is an avid bee-lover (so much so that we even fostered two beehives for a bit when we first moved in!) so she's made a special effort in the garden to pick plants that will encourage lots of buzzy activity.        

Bees and butterflies really like a good mix of flowers such as bluebells, buttercups, hyacinth, clover, garden mint, knapweed, thistles, blackberry bushes, heather, lavender and willow-herbs, among many other plants- so, if you want to encourage wildlife in your garden, be sure to plant a few of these! 

There's our crop of gorgeous-coloured heather... a popular spot for chubby bumblebees!

Plus, here's a clear and helpful guide to wildlife-friendly planting from super-talented painter and illustrator Hannah Rosengren. You can grab one of Hannah's prints for future reference here.

Planting the right kind of flowers to encourage lots of different pollinators is obviously an excellent way to help wildlife thrive in your garden but there are a couple of other things you can try to support your local buglife community.

For example, did you know that in late Spring and early Summer the natural nectar resources that bees and butterflies rely upon to survive is in short supply? A lack of available nectar often results in a dip in pollinator numbers and, in recent years, both bee and butterfly populations in Britain and North America have suffered substantial losses at this time of year. As well as dwindling amounts of bee colonies, there are now over 20 species of endangered butterflies in North America and an incredible 56 varieties at risk in Britain and Ireland.    

So what can you do to help?

To ensure your local bees and butterflies are getting all the energy they need to survive the warmer months, you can create your own little sugar-water feeder to help them on their way! It only takes a few basic supplies and about ten minutes of your time to put this homemade contraption together, so if you'd like to give nature a hand, why not have a go at this...

DIY Butterfly + Bee Feeder

All you need to make a feeder is:

* A clean jar (this is the one I used)
* A hammer
* A large nail
* Some twine
* A couple of cotton wool pads
* A jug of sugar syrup

Start by cutting three, 60cm lengths of twine and tying each one around the neck of the jar. Spread the knots out so that they're equidistant from one another.

Turn your jar upside-down and hold it by the three separate strings. Grab an extra pair of hands and get them to tie a fourth length of string around the middle of the jar to keep everything secure. You should end up with something like the contraption above!

Remove the jar's lid and, using a large nail, hammer a small hole in the top. This will act as your jar's 'drip-feed'.

Tie the three strings together at the top.

Make a simple sugar solution by mixing two parts sugar to one part water. It's very important that you stick to this ratio when making up your syrup as bees and butterflies can become very ill if they have too much sugar! 

Pour the syrup into your jar until it's 3/4 full.

Push a cotton pad (or two, if you can get them both to fit!) through the small hole you made in the jar lid.

Screw the lid back onto the jar and you're ready to go!

Here's my little feeder sitting quite comfortably amongst all the greenery! When you come to hang your feeder, be sure to choose a warm spot near a colourful crop of flowers as butterflies and bees will naturally come to investigate clusters of bright blooms.

And there you have it- a simple craft that will (hopefully) encourage wildlife and offer a sip of sugary respite to a few knackered pollinators!

If you give this DIY a go, I'd love to hear about it on Instagram or on Twitter. Let me know how it goes! Plus, if you have any further tips and tricks for encouraging wildlife at this time of year, please share them in the comments below.

We can all do our bit and I'll certainly keep endeavouring to do mine. And, of course, I'll be sure to keep you all updated on how well this feeder works + whether or not we get a few more pretty visitors!

In the meantime,
All my love,

Siân x

1 comment

  1. I love this idea Sian, thanks for sharing it.
    I will definitely try this in my garden....and I'll let you know how I go with it :)


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