I must admit we missed the fact that 2nd to 8th May 2010 is Hedgehog Awareness Week until we saw this cute little hedgehog article on the Daily Mail website, drawing attention to the matter. We had seen it mentioned on some of the hedgehog forums a while ago, but unfortunately it had slipped our minds, and doesn't seem to have been widely publicised anywhere else. So we're doing our little bit to pass on the message about our favourite mammals.
As usual, the visitors to our garden have been keeping us entertained and fascinated with their behaviour. At the moment, we appear to have five regular residents: an unnamed hedgehog in 9a, Alfie in 9b, Nightshift in 9c, Indy in 9f (left) and Indy's Friend in 9f (right). We don't seem to have had anyone in 9d for three or four nights.
We are getting lots of visits throughout the night, although it's impossible to tell how many different hedgehogs are visiting, or if it is just one or two visiting several times each night. They are certainly very hungry at the moment - the mealworms in the feeding station on the lawn (9e) have been going well, so last night I put two full bowls of mealworms in. It seemed there was a hedgehog in almost continuously all evening. This must have been a number of different hedgies, since if it was a single individual it would have exploded, as both bowls had been cleaned out this morning. And that is in addition to the bowl outside 9d being emptied, three other bowls and a large pile on the ATM all going.
I was up early this morning - I've been getting up at 5:30 to visit a customer for the last couple of months, and my body clock hasn't reset for the holiday - so I went downstairs to see if there was any activity. It was daylight already, so I wasn't expecting any activity, but then I suddenly saw a hedgie munching away in front of the tunnel in 9a. I assumed the chap had just popped out of 9a for a snack, but going back through the cameras showed that 9a had been tucked up in bed for 45 minutes, and this chap had just come in under the decking, had breakfast (or is it supper to a hedgehog) and gone out the same way. so, it seems the feeder is on its GPS list of favourites.
Last Thursday, 29th April, was rather a nasty night. It was cold and breezy and damp, and it was dark comparatively early. Nightshift was up and out as soon as it was dark, as usual. Unfortunately, it started raining about 9 pm, and we have seen in the past that Nightshift doesn't seem to like the rain. I was amazed to see her behave like this though:
The first part shows her climbing down the steps onto the patio and dashing across the patio - it's surprising just how long a hedgehog's legs really are, and how quickly they can move when they want to. The next, rather blown, clip shows her dashing past 9c - she seems to have slightly lost her bearings - but no worries, she soon gets back on course and climbs back into her nest in 9c. The next clip is the same action from a different camera. Finally, she goes into bed. She stayed here for about 30 minutes before venturing out again. It was still drizzling, so she had a quick snack at 9d and went back to bed.
Meanwhile, at the front, Indy had been out a couple of times for a snack just after dark:
When he came out of the nest again about 9 pm, it had started raining, and after much sniffing the air, he turned round and went back to bed. He did this a couple of times. Then, a little later, when the weather was a little better, he actually came out under the door - but decided it still wasn't right and went back to bed again.
We have seen Indy still sneaking into 9f (right) for a few minutes on most nights, although he is living in 9f (left).
Finally, we must not forget our feathered friends. We have been feeding the birds in the back garden for a couple of years now, but had never bothered at the front, until we noticed that robins and blackbirds were stealing the mealworms we'd put by the boiler room door for the hedgehogs. We have also hung a feeder up by the front door, with sunflower kernels, mealworms and "buggy nibbles" (suet pellets with insects). This attracts blue tits and robins.
After the camera got knocked over by one of the local cats, it was repositioned to give a view of the seedling tray we forgot to put away, but turned out to be a second drinking water supply for the hedgehogs - and a bath for the local robins:
We also put a bird box with camera in the lilac tree to the right of the boiler room door, and the robins have started building a nest there.They haven't been for the last couple of days, so we don't know if they have abandoned it, or if they are busy elsewhere. We hope they return.