George McGavin’s wildlife challenge

George McGavin It's great to see the benefits of a few small changes, says George McGavin

This fantastic challenge is all about you making space for nature.

Not only are you helping to make things easier and safer for your wildlife visitors but you'll be able to get up close and find out more about them by inviting them in.

Before you start, make a list of all the things you are going to do to make space for nature.

Make a log pile

Start Quote

This is a hands on challenge, I hope you're ready for it!”

End Quote George McGavin, presenter of The One Show and Britian's Big Wildlife Revival

Collect some large and small logs, twigs and a little bit of compost or grass cuttings and pile them all together in a quiet corner where they won't be disturbed.

Over time, plants, moss, lichen and fungi will start to grow.

You can expect lots of insects and even amphibians and small rodents to visit, this will encourage birds or other mammals that are feeling peckish.

If you need some help identifying your garden visitors, we have some identification guides to help you - try our ID guide to amphibians, or ID guide to reptiles.

Put up a nesting box

Birds can be fussy about nesting boxes, so don't worry if yours isn't used straight away.

Download your own copy of the Summer of Wildlife Handbook

PDF download Summer of Wildlife Handbook [pdf][15.9MB]

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

Check that the size of the entrance and the height is suitable for your local birds.

Face away from the prevailing wind, ensure that rain can drain away and that it's positioned safely away from predators such as cats.

It's best to put up bird boxes in the autumn as they can also be used as warm winter roosts by your feathered friends.

Build a bumblebee shelter

Bumblebees live in all sorts of places but love a hole in the ground.

Queen bees hibernate over the winter and start looking for a place to make their nest and lay eggs as soon as they emerge.

An upside down flowerpot filled with dry moss is very inviting.

Place the pot somewhere quiet where it won't be disturbed by small children or pets.

Provide other animal shelters and pathways
  • Leaf piles are good for insects, frogs, mice and hedgehogs
  • Uncut grass or a nettle patch for insects, rodents, frogs and toads to hide in
  • Rock piles provide a home for spiders, insects, frogs and toads
  • Hedgehog sized gaps at the bottom of garden fences allow them to roam easily

By providing space for nature, you should see an influx of wild neighbours arriving in your garden or local green space and offering you some fantastic opportunities to see them up close.

Why not take some photos of them - here are some wildlife photography tips for beginners to help you.

Finally, be sure to share any photographs you take on the BBC Summer of Wildlife Flickr group. As part of our See it, Snap it, Share it challenge, we're hoping to reach 100,000 photographs that document the state of our UK wildlife in the summer of 2013.

All summer we'll be hosting an online conversation around the Summer of Wildlife. Follow BBC Nature on Facebook and Twitter @BBCNature. Join in and share your own Summer of Wildlife experiences and get the latest news and updates about the wildlife near you.

More on This Story

Summer of Wildlife home

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

We've moved to BBC Earth

  • BBC EarthWe've moved!

    Click here to go to our new home at BBC Earth

BBC Earth highlights

BBC iWonder

Copyright © 2016 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.