Live. Love. Harm no one. Help when you can. Be happy.
By: BriarCraft , 8:35 PM GMT on December 26, 2013
I ran across this photo in the WU Galleries the other day and really got a kick out of it.
Chomp, Chomp by Nita, somewhere in Illinois
Then, with the arrival of the first 2014 seed catalogs just before Christmas, I started thinking about yardening.
It didn't take much for my thought processes to make the leap to backyard habitats. That photo of the pumpkin-eating squirrel served as a reminder that I can plant some extras for the local critters to enjoy.
When I first moved here in 2003, there were birds around, but not in any great numbers. I put up a small birdfeeder. It took weeks and weeks for any seed eaters to discover that first feeder. Even then, they only ate maybe a quart of seed in a week. Now, I put out as much as 3 quarts of seed a day in wintertime. Not only are there more birds here, but also a greater variety.
I have made a difference to the birds here. I like to think I make a difference to the bee population, too. And I've seen a tailless raccoon make his way over to rummage in the compost bin from time to time.
According to the National Wildlife Federation: Whether you have an apartment balcony or a 20-acre farm, you can create a garden that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat in commercial and residential areas.
You could Garden for Wildlife in four different ways:
Provide food for wildlife
Supply water for wildlife
Create cover for wildlife
Give wildlife a place to raise their young
The Audubon Society helps you to see if your yard is friendly to wildlife with an interactive graphic of A Healthy Yard.
The National Wildlife Federation's, Garden for Wildlife page has a lot of "How To" tips and informative blogs, even their own Flickr group. Want to know how to attract dragonflies? Or how to build a bat house? Or how to maintain a chemical free lawn? It's all there, just a mouse-click away.
Another informative and useful website I found is at PlantNative.org with a searchable database of native plant nurseries, regional plant lists, and community service organizations involved with native plants.
If you have any knowledge or experience with backyard habitats, please share your tips or web links.
If you are interested in photographing wildlife, I hope you will find some inspiration for attracting more of it into range of your lens.
And speaking of cameras, if you've got a favorite photo or six of backyard wildlife, please post them here to inspire us all.
Oh, and if you aren't into gardening, for whatever reason, there are other ways you could help the wildlife in your area, as I learned last June,
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Updated: 10:45 PM PST on November 29, 2015