With a bout of scorchio weather on the horizon, many of us will be flocking to beer gardens and dusting off the sun loungers this weekend.
However not everyone thrives on these bright, hot days.
Dry, sunny weather can take its toll on local wildlife like birds, hedgehogs, mice and foxes, many of of which struggle to find the sources they need to stay hydrated and stay alive in summer.
But don’t despair. There is something you can do to help your local wildlife – and even bees.
Leaving a shallow bowl of water in your garden or driveway will help local animals get the nutrients they need and keep the ecosystem thriving.
Putting water out does more than quench thirst
Water is essential for wildlife to thrive, “but it isn’t just for drinking,” according to The Wildlife Trust.
“Amphibians like newts, frogs and toads use water as shelter and breeding grounds. Butterflies get valuable minerals and salts from slightly muddy water, and birds use water to bathe and remove parasites,” the trust explains.
The most effective way to provide water to local wildlife is a shallow dish with gradual, rough-textured edges so that any small animals that climb in can get back out again.
This could be something as simple as an old takeaway container (you could pop stones in it to help create steps out) or even a plant pot saucer.
The Wildlife Trust’s top tips for providing water outside of your home:
Put water where you can watch the activity, as you’re not going to want to miss anything.
Use a specially made bird baths or just a bowl on the floor – you’ll attract different creatures to different settings.
Place water for birds near a shrub or tree as they like to approach from a place of safety.
Watch for predators such as cats.
Leave water where you can easily access it for cleaning and filling.
Introduce a small, shallow or running water feature and provide water for birds, as well as butterflies and other insects. Even an old sink can be turned into a water feature.
Dig a pond and attract even more wildlife into your garden, from frogs and toads, to dragonflies and herons. Remember to provide shallow edges so anything that falls in can get back out again.
Set up a water butt so that you can easily top up water sources with rainwater – a great way to conserve water.