As the drought extends in the south of Britain, give a thought to all of our wildlife – from bees to birds and all points in between – who cannot simply turn on a tap and get a drink when they need it. As honeydew and nectar dry up on our trees and flowers, and natural ponds bake into concrete, much of our wildlife is struggling. But there is something that you can do to help.
Now is the time to leave a small, shallow bowl of water out overnight. Something the size of a dog or cat bow is ideal. Don’t put out entire washing-up bowls of water, because then you risk drowning animals like hedgehogs who are coming to drink. Alternatively, use a bigger bowl, but put a big stone or an old brick in it so that anything falling in can scramble to safety out of the water.
Put your bowl somewhere shady, and near to a covering bush – an animal or bird won’t come to drink if it thinks it’s going to get eaten trying to get there. Please also put a ball of cotton wool, or a small piece of folded -up loo paper into it, somewhere where it can sit near the water surface – this is for bees and other small insects to use.
Here are two I made – one from the pot of a broken slow-cooker, the other from a plastic tub from the supermarket that was on its way to be recycled.
Your drinking spot doesn’t need to be pretty or ornamental, as it will be largely hidden from view. But it may just be the lifeline that keeps some of your local wildlife alive. Remember to top your bowl up regularly – and take a peek at it from your window just before you go to bed. You may be surprised at what you see!