A wildflower meadow doesn’t have to be big it can be a small area of your garden, but wherever you choose to locate your meadow, it will be advantageous to at least some of our wildlife. These meadows don’t only benefit insects with their vast array of nectar producing flowers during the day, they also benefit creatures during the night, some of which really enjoy the damp areas at the bottom of the thatch.
It’s all part of a chain; wildflowers produce nectar, large supplies of nectar produce a healthy supply of insects, which in turn can produce huge benefits for nocturnal birds, amphibians and mammals too.
Altogether there are 2,500 different types of moth found in this country but the last 40 years have seen numbers tumble by a third.
A flourishing population of nocturnal moths provides a healthy supply of food for both Little Owls and Bats
Beetles found in wildflower meadows represent food for the Little Owl of which there are about 5,800-11,600 breeding pairs in the UK according to the RSPB so the more wildflower meadows we create the better chance they have of successfully rearing their young.
Barn Owls, like to hunt across open fields and meadows in search of voles and shrews which also frequent wildflower meadows in search of beetles and small insects. In fact we had Barn Owls breeding in our barn this summer. The parents were often seen flying over the wildflower beds in the twilight as they hunted for small mammals for their young.
Toads benefit hugely from wildflower meadows where they can hunt for slugs, insect larvae, and spiders. Did you know that some larger common toads will eat slow worms?
There are 17 species of bat in the UK, all of which are protected by law because their numbers have decreased so dramatically. According to Bats Conservation Trust “Bats are a vital part of our native wildlife, accounting for almost a third of all mammal species in the UK and occupy a wide range of habitats …They can tell us a lot about the state of the environment, as they are top predators of common nocturnal insects and are sensitive to changes in land use practices”.
So all in all your wildflower meadow can be advantageous to quite a number of night visitors, some of which are endangered such as Barn Owls and Bats. By growing your own wildflower meadow, wherever you are, you will be encouraging at least some of these species and therefore redress the wildlife balance that existed in the UK in times past.