Making your Backyard Wildlife Friendly
Whether you have 1 acre or a patio, anyone can make their yard inviting to wildlife. When you do, you will have countless hours of enjoyment. But just beware, you may attract more than you were expecting (as raccoons may steal your fish or deer may eat your plants, etc.) Below are the 4 major areas that everyone needs to survive.
Go through and make sure you can check off items in each area to make a complete Habitat!
FOOD Natural vegetation is the best food as it can also double for shelter. Look for flowers, shrubs, and trees with acorns, nuts, berries, seeds, nectar, & pollen.
Trees: juniper, cherry, elm, dogwood, maple, & oak
Bushes: blackberry, raspberry, chokecherry, & serviceberry
Vines: trumpet vines*
Flowers: sunflower, tiger lily*, bluebells*, delphinium*, iris*, larkspur*, geranium*, fuchsia*, morning glory*, columbine, aster, marigold, petunias, phlox, pinks, pincushion, zinnia
Feeders should be placed where birds feel safe which is usually near the cover of bushes. Yes, squirrels may come. Go ahead and feed the squirrels in a separate area. This is easier than fighting with them and they are fun to watch!
Food to include: Sunflower, millet, thistle, cracked corn, suet, peanuts, peanut butter, and sugar water for hummingbird feeders.
WATER Wildlife needs a reliable source of water for drinking and bathing all year long. Be sure to keep these cleaned and filled. In the winter, use a heater or remove ice and refill the water daily.
SOURCES OF WATER CAN BE:
Birdbath – Gently sloping with a rough bottom
Shallow Dish on the ground near shrubbery
Small Pond – Include rocks and aquatic plants to encourage other wildlife such as small fish, amphibians, insects, etc.
SHELTER/COVER Wildlife needs to feel secure and safe. The ideal habitat area includes plants and objects ranging in size and density.
Plants tall, mature trees, evergreens from groundcover to trees, dense & thin shrubbery, tall grasses, and flowers
SPACE What type of wildlife you will attract will depend on the amount of space you have. Homes with an acre can have lots of natural areas with untouched vegetation, ponds, brush piles and more. Depending on their location, they may attract quail, raccoons, foxes, and deer.
A normal size lot has space enough for many types of birds, squirrels, butterflies, and frogs.
But even if you just have a patio, you can attract birds with a seed or sugar water feeder, a hanging basket with fuchsia or geraniums for hummingbirds, zinnias for butterflies, and nuts for the squirrels.
NOTE: *Plants for Hummingbirds