Attract Wildlife to Your Garden

If you do love wildlife, you can invite them to your garden.  Shrubs, trees and hedges in house garden provide shelter and nesting sites for birds and insects. With careful selection they can also provide food. Birds will eat berries or seed from plants such as pyracantha, while a wide range of insects feast on the pollen and nectar produced by flowers. Aim to have plants in bloom from early spring to late autumn, and choose open, single flowers to ensure insects have easy access to their food. Good examples include catmint, Nepeta x faassenii; honeysuckle, Lonicera periclymenum; ivy, Hedera helix cultivars; and Aster novi-belgii.

Most people know that different animals eat different foods. However , many people don't think about animals needing different foods at different times of the year. Birds that feed primarily on seeds may switch to insects while raising young in the spring. Chipmunks and bats have higher energy requirements in the spring when they wake from winter torpor (semi-hibernation) than at other times of the year. As the seasons change, so do the needs of wild animals. If you want to attract and hold animals year round, you need to provide the foods the animals need in each season.

Unless you already have mature bushes and trees, it will take time for you to develop a yard that produces this variety. While you are waiting for your wildlife trees and shrubs to start producing, you can get short-term food by planting annual grasses and flowers or by furnishing seeds and small grains. Seeds and grain will benefit birds and small mammals. These can be distributed in a feeder or cast out across the grass.
Wildlife must have enough space to feed, breed, raise young, and take cover. When considering the essential items (cover, food, water) in your backyard wildlife refuge, you also need to think about their arrangement. Plan carefully so that you use the space you have in the most effective manner. To maximize space, intermix areas of open grass, shrubby layers, and taller trees.

Planning Your Backyard Wildlife Refuge
While you are planning your yard, don't forget to plan places for yourself. For instance, place the watering or feeding device within view of a window. Put a bench in a quiet, bushy section of the yard. You can even build a small observation platform in one of your trees.
Even a tiny yard is big enough to attract some animals. Although a larger area can include a greater variety of food and cover types, the smallest balcony has potential for attracting some type of wildlife. A nest box, potted plants, water dish, and bird feeder will fit in a large window box and attract birds and butterflies. No matter what kind of yard you have, you have room for wildlife.

The first step in creating your miniature wildlife refuge is to survey your yard. Find out what is out there and determine its value for wildlife. Many ornamental plants are not particularly useful. Often native vegetation is best. Draw up a plan with graph paper. Consider whether you prefer to do the work yourself or hire a landscaping firm. Decide how much money you would like to devote to your project. When you have decided these major points, you can start planting and rearranging.

Remember, the end product will take time. You can expect wildlife as soon as you have provided all the basic needs, but the amount and type will depend on the variety of food and cover you have. It will also depend on where your house is located. Homes closer to the edges of town or in the country can expect more types of wildlife than those bordered by clipped lawns and concrete. However, even in the center of a city you will get some results.

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Attract Wildlife to Your Garden Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Kris Web

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