How to improve your outdoor space for nature: providing food for insectivores
You may be wondering why I spent so much time in the previous blogs talking about the importance of providing food sources for insects, aka healthy plants. One reason is that insects provide an essential food source for the next animals up on the food web.
Baby birds are fed almost entirely on insects once they hatch. To feed the hordes of hatching birds in spring requires tons of insects. So the more you can supply the better.
Some baby birds grow up to become seed eaters (although even seed eaters will continue to eat the occasional insect throughout their lives). Other birds remain as bug eaters. They are usually called insectivores. It's a bit of a misleading name because lots of birds enjoy eating slugs and snails. Either way, birds truly are a gardener's best friend.
Aside from birds there are a lot of mammals who also eat insects. Wood mice will happily munch on a worm or moth, although they are usually considered to be herbivores. They love vegetables and grains that do form the majority of their diet.
Hedgehogs are well known for loving slugs and snails but also eat a lot of other insects including a lot of beetles. Hedgehog droppings will often be filled with the shiny black cases of beetles. Finding hedgehog poo is one of the ways you know you have them visiting your garden.
The main component of a badger’s diet are earthworms.Tthey will also eat any other insect they come across as well as fruit, veg and grains.
Amphibians like frogs and toads also live off insects, slugs and snails so as you can see, there’s a lot of animals that rely upon insects, worms and molluscs.
These animals in turn may be eaten by carnivores. Badgers and foxes in British towns and cities are our top carnivores. I have seen a fox running off with a massive rat in its mouth, so I can attest personally to the fact that they help keep the rat population down.