Designate Your Back Yard a Wildlife Habitat
Edited by Emmanuel M. Lardizabal, Lynn, Eng, Rebecca M.
Many people enjoy nature watching, but if you live in the city you may not get to experience it as often as you'd like. There is an easy way to see nature without having to travel to the countryside. You can invite many of birds and small animals that you love to watch right into your own back yard! By making a few modifications to your yard you can create a safe haven for birds, butterflies, and even small mammals. A backyard habitat doesn't need to include expensive features or back-breaking labor, you simply have to supply the things that wildlife needs: Food, water, and shelter. Before you know it you'll be watching rabbits scampering along your walkway right outside your door.
Before you can attract wildlife into your yard you will need to know what types of food and shelter will be needed. For birds and squirrels it usually doesn't take much. A bird feeder or some ears of corn will usually draw them in for a free meal. If you want them to stay around however, you will need to provide some sort of cover for them to hide in. This can come in the form of anything from low growing grasses and shrubs, to full grown trees. It just has to be a place for them to flee in case of danger and to make their homes.
Simple Ways to Transform Your Backyard into a Wildlife Habitat
- 1Let a small portion of your yard become slightly overgrown. This doesn't mean that it has to look like a jungle, but allow some weeds to take over in a small corner of your garden or yard. Even a small area of cover will begin to draw in small animals. You may want to inquire about any laws pertaining to the height of grass or plant life in your yard before doing this. Some cities have codes that prohibit letting your grass grow beyond a certain height.Advertisement
- 2Your wildlife haven should have a consistent source of water for the animals to drink and the birds to bath. In the case of some birds, the water will also provide habitat for their natural foods, such as insects and frogs. This water source can be something as simple as a bird bath or as grand as a garden pond or fountain.Advertisement
- 3Place some bushes, shrubs, and flowers. These will serve as source of food and shelter for many types of birds and butterflies. Birds will feed on the insects around the bushes and shrubs as well as on the berries if they produce any. Brightly colored flowers will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. These additions to your landscape will also provide a place for you to hang bird feeders. You could also use them to place a few bird houses to encourage your feathered friends to raise their young in your yard. Do some research into what types of flowers that a certain species of bird or butterfly prefer. In this way to you draw the wildlife that you most want to see. The same holds true with bird-feeders Certain species of birds will prefer a particular mix of seeds.
- 4When placing your birdhouses and feeders, be sure to keep them high enough that any wandering cats or other animals can't reach them. There a specific bird houses that will encourage a certain species of bird to nest there. You should take into consideration the birds that are native to your area when purchasing or making birdhouses.
Hints and Warnings
- Be aware that sometimes not only the creatures that you want will show up in your yard. A curious raccoon may come in to see what you have in your pond, as well as neighborhood cats. If you live close to a rural area or farmland, you may even see a fox lurking around after any nearby rabbits or birds.
- On the subject of rabbits, if you have a vegetable garden, make sure that it is fenced in very securely. The cute little bunnies that you invite into your yard aren't going to care that the lettuce you planted isn't for them.
- During the summer months, try hanging out some slices of oranges or apples along with your hummingbird feeders. These fruits will often draw in brightly colored birds such as the scarlet tanager if they frequent your part of the country.
- Invest in a good bird identification manual. I won't be long at all before you are seeing birds that have never frequented your yard before. Once they see that your yard is wildlife friendly, word will travel fast!
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Recent edits by: Eng, Lynn, Emmanuel M. Lardizabal