Attract & Provide a Safe Environment for Wildlife!
Rapid and large-scale changes to our lands and waters mean wildlife are losing the habitats they once knew. Whether you own a house with a garden, patio or yard, rent an apartment with a balcony or just have a planter box under your window, you can make a difference toward helping the wildlife around you survive and thrive!
Every living thing requires the same three things: Water, Food and Shelter
Keep fresh water outside for birds and wildlife – not just for drinking but for bathing, cleaning or cooling off. Provide bird baths, fountains and ponds in more shady areas of your backyard – even water bowls outside around your house or garden can help. Refresh the water every few days and remove ice in the winter from frozen over ponds and bird baths. Sunny with Thunderstorms stocks a full line of beautiful bird baths!
When attracting wildlife by supplying food, you’ll need to decide what type of creature you would like to attract. Different insects and animals like different types of food. In fact, sometimes you need to plant flowers to attract the insects that will attract the wildlife. Sunny with Thunderstorms even carries Bee and Insect Houses.
Native plants and wildflowers such as Coneflower, Flax, Sunflowers, Poppies, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Foxglove, Cosmos, Snapdragons, and Daisies are wonderful for attracting all kinds of butterflies, bees, and other insects. Certain types of grass such as Sorghum or Sudan grass will attract grazers like deer and rabbits to your yard. And Red Clover is popular with bees, hummingbirds, rabbits, and deer.
For a bird friendly garden, plant species that provide berries, pollen, nectar,
seeds and foliage including spring, summer and fall flowering plants that offer a succession of blooms. Sunflowers are good multipurpose plant that will feed pollinators while in bloom and the seeds will feed the birds.
Consider adding several bird feeders to your patio or garden. Available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and mounting options – by simply providing different seeds, syrups, fruit and suet, you can attract many varieties of species. Check out Sunny with Thunderstorms line of bird feeders here!
Wildlife needs safe places to hide as well as cover from the elements and weather. Add plants that provide cover like native shrubs, vegetation, brush and even dead trees!
Add a bird house or two (or more!) to your backyard – consider helping the birds by providing a safe nesting place. Sunny with Thunderstorms has a full line of beautiful, functional birdhouses for you to consider.
Put up a bat house – bats are great pollinators, seed dispersers and insect
predators plus they are fascinating to watch. But they are suffering from habitat loss and environmental pollution. Help the bats by giving them an inviting home outside, and you’ll be making sure they don’t find a a warm place inside your home!
Make a pond for wildlife – one of the most important things you can do to protect wildlife. Make sure pond has shallow edges for easy access for frogs and newts. Stock your pone with plants that are specifically used for stocking ponds and will keep your pond clean. Control the algae without using harmful chemicals.
Avoid cutting down trees – trees provide critical habitat for wildlife and birds. Consider the impact before cutting down or removing a tree or shrub. A single tree can provide wildlife with much needed shade, protection, nesting territory, food, shelter and even a permanent home. Dead trees have great value for wildlife for food.
Certain trees like Oaks, Persimmons, Beechnuts, and other fruit or nut trees are major attractants for birds, deer, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, foxes, rabbits, and opossums. They are not only good food sources but they are also perfect places for your birds, squirrels, and even raccoons to live in. You can even attract beavers, moose, and elk with Willow trees if you live in an area where they are plentiful. Birds of prey such as owls and hawks will use trees as a hunting perch all year long. Other animals use trees for cover to hide from predators or to live under. Fallen trees are good for the wildlife to hide around as well so if there is a fallen tree in your yard and it is not bothering you or your neighbors, leave it there for the wildlife to play with.
Rake and pile leaves in a corner of your garden – leave a pile of fallen leaves, twigs, branches and other yard debris in a shady corner of your property Let it pile up and decay. It will eventually break down into mulch. Meanwhile it will provide a great home for frogs, newts, worms and other kinds of tiny creatures.
Other Safe Practices/Healthful Tips
Avoid using insecticides, pesticides or herbicides outside. All animals’ nerves work in the same way, and these chemicals work to kill small and large animals alike and endanger human and environmental health. Insects are food for birds and wildlife and are needed for a healthy ecosystem. Pull your garden weeds instead of using herbicides.
Grow plants that are natural insect repellents – among your flowers and vegetables, you can add plants that will naturally repel insects, instead of using any noxious chemicals. Plants like citronella grass, clovers, common lantana, dill, fennel and other herbs will keep a variety of insects at bay.
Let the worms, bugs and beetles keep the soil healthy – healthy soil will produce plants that are better able to resist insects and disease. You can add organic matter and nutrients, but avoid synthetic fertilizers.
Avoid using bug lights or bug zappers – these lights and zappers end up killing many good and harmless insects that are food for birds, bats, reptiles and many other animals.
Keep domestic cats inside your house. Since cats are predators, keep them indoors. A fun idea for cats that like the fresh air is to build a kennel or cat enclosure on a patio, or along a side or back of the house.
Don’t use wildlife traps – trapping wildlife is not only illegal, its cruel, severely painful, and cause the animal to suffer profoundly. Even if using humane traps – it is illegal to trap and remove or relocate wildlife.
Dispose of waste properly in a container – use a secure lid. Many forms of plastic can be ingested causing suffering and a painful death. Plastic bags can suffocate, open containers of paint, cleaning and household products or yard products can cause harm if ingested. Keep all containers tightly closed and inaccessible to animals.
Keeping these safe practices while providing water, food and shelter will make sure your yard or garden is safe and ready for wildlife!
- JoEllen Urasky