How to Enhance Your Landscape with Wildlife

Bill Taylor
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Utilize Bird Feeders

As common as they are in every neighborhood, most Americans spend very little time ever observing their neighbors, let alone their feathered compatriots. But if you take some effort to get to know your local birds, your garden will become an exciting place, full of life.

There are lots of ways to attract birds to your garden. The most effective and most common is to put up bird feeders. Not only will your visitors have a great time, but they will keep your environment safe for bugs, and will fertilize your garden as well.

In addition to food, birds need water. Put out a dish for drinking and some shallow water for bathing. Having an ample supply of freshwater for birds results in healthy birds. So a birdbath is a very important part of your outdoor living space.

Admiration for the birds in your backyard will begin the first time you observe them in the morning doing their morning rituals. The smaller, quieter birds start the day early. It is amazing to see how quickly they settle down and begin their day. This is a wonderful time to sit quietly with a cup of coffee and admire the beautiful creatures outside of your window.

If you are lucky enough to have a pond in your backyard, you will have a variety of birds, but always a crow or two and some ducks. The crows patrol the area and try to keep the ducks from meddling in your garden. They like fresh corn as well.

Bolite Panorama Birdfeeder in Copper Tones

As you embark on enhancing the wildlife connection in your urban landscape, it seems almost too good to be true. So I am going to start by arming you with knowledge so you can spot sketchy wildlife-related sales pitches. Pay attention to the claims that big box stores occasionally advertise during times of the year when squirrels and birds are most active.

Be careful not to get swept up in the hordes of offers promising treasures which fall from the sky for pennies on the dollar in trade for a few hundred dollars from your credit card. Watch out for landscape companies promising that you will soon be the talk of the neighborhood.

Instead of buying expensive landscaping products in hopes that they will attract native wild birds, you will want to provide them with materials that their instincts tell them they need to have to survive: shelter. This is where knowing the habits of the birds, squirrels, and other animals in your area will come in handy. Some birds and squirrels will find safety in a shelter that humans would find unattractive. Squirrels like a nice little cave they can find entry to, and that afford plenty of room for babies to be safe. Birds like to find places to roost that are protected from the harsh summer sun and the bitter winter winds.

Perky-Pet Mountain Chapel Birdfeeder

Wild Bird Feeder,House for Birdseed, Midway Blue.

Wildlife attracts us! It keeps our spirits lifted, our hearts strong, our senses alert and our interests peaked. It is an active process that we all experience at once. One does not sit still before it does, it keeps us actively engaged. There is nothing passive about watching butterflies, a hawk soaring or a rabbit scurrying. Nor would you wish it to be, it is a vital part of your being.

Nature is an integral part of our lives. As we watch it, admire it and learn from it, our spirits lift, our hearts are nourished and our well being is enhanced. We need to enrich our lives with wildlife and it is nature's way of enriching us. We need to become conscious of the vital processes going on around us. We need to be aware of the subtle changes happening in our environment. We need to become involved in our environment on a practical level. We need to be active observers and knowledgeable students. We need to be active participants in the wildlife scenes all around us.

Attract Songbirds to Your Yard

The best way you can ensure that birds will visit in decent numbers is to use bird food. Most songbird species prefer sunflower seeds to safflower, red millet, and even cracked corn. Place the bird feeder near the branches of a tree or shrub, and hang it off the tree trunk. If you do not have any trees nearby, use a shepherd’s hook placed close to a house or in the middle of the patio.

Also, encourage the birds to build their nests in your yard. Certain trees and shrubs that you plant in your yard will attract birds looking to build their nests. Vines, grasses, and plants that offer cover, including milkweed and Spanish lavender, will attract more birds of any type than those that do not.

Besides the food and nesting materials, plants that provide perches will keep birds around. Birds will not be able to land on a lawn, but they will land on trees and shrubs, allowing them to get closer to your birds. You can plant a variety of bushes, shrubs, trees, and flowers that will help attract birds and make their stay in your yard an enjoyable one. Do not put bird feeders on the sidewalk or on the roof of your house, because you will be attracting the wrong birds, the undesirable ones, which will make the birds that you want to hang around in your yard move away.

Birdhouses for Your Backyard

Providing a place to nest for birds in your landscape will not only attract them, but also make your property look beautiful. Birds also provide a great sound track for a backyard, and if you are lucky enough you might get to witness some exciting predator/prey behaviour.

When building birdhouses for your backyard, it’s important to consider the amount of eggs the birds will need to incubate as well as the juveniles they will feed. You don’t want to provide a bird house with a single hole if it requires room for more than one adult pair of birds, or for a large brood.

The more open space the better, because it allows the adult birds enough room to sit on their eggs and feed their young. It is also a good rule of thumb to consider upgrading the size of the opening according to the size of the bird you are housing. For example, if you are building a birdhouse for American Robins, which are smaller than cardinals, you would make a smaller hole.

Conversely, if you are housing larger birds like Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons, you would make a larger hole or multiple holes.

The entrance hole should be enlarged so it is not too easy for predators to access the inside of the box.

Handcrafted Amish Birdhouse Copper Roof

It is our goal to bring you the highest quality bird houses available on the market. Our customers appreciate the workmanship our Amish craftsmen put into each and every product. We carry the highest quality bird houses that will bring song birds into your environment. These bird houses have options for houses that have divided vent doors and houses that have framed panel doors.

We carry our bird houses in a number of different shapes and sizes. These include multi-box, cupola, and chalet designs. These different styles help to provide the look an individual is looking to achieve.

We also have several different finishes. These stains and paints help in creating a birdhouses which match your environment. Many people choose to order their birdhouses with the Amish copper roof, because of its added benefit of cuirntiial color. Copper is easy to maintain and care for and when combined with a birdhouse is an attractive option for keeping birds.

Each of our birdhouses are handcrafted with quality material that has been found to attract song birds. This includes fine woods such as cedar. No particle board is used in the construction of our birdhouses.

We personally inspect every bird house before we offer it to our customers. We make sure that every birdhouse is constructed properly. This ensures that you will receive a birdhouse which is structurally sound and safe for the birds.

Beautiful Original Pine Birdhouse

Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

If you want to do a little friendly competition, to get more wildlife in your yard you can utilize nectar-rich plants to attract hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds are especially attracted to red and orange colored flowers, and they tend to be extraordinarily active creatures. Placing an array of flowering plants and trees in your yard will greatly enhance your chances of attracting hummingbirds.

To attract hummingbirds, provide a place for them to catch insects and a source of nectar-rich flowers.

Hummingbirds will have a natural attraction to your yard because of the large array of flowers and insects it will contain.

Wild Bird and Critter Food

Easy to Make – and Kind to Your Budget and the Environment

There are many things you can do to attract a variety of wonderful wildlife to your yard. Everyone knows to plant trees and shrubs and to provide a water source for wildlife but there are many other things you can add to your yard to help bring wildlife to your habitat.

How about a small pond or stream? You can make one that is very natural looking and is easy to incorporate into the landscape.

Another idea is to plant native shrubs and trees that attract different kinds of birds.

Also, what about adding a bird feeder or even a box to your yard?

Wild Bird and Critter Food

Easy to Make – and Kind to Your Budget and the Environment

There are many things you can do to attract a variety of wonderful wildlife to your yard. Everyone knows to plant trees and shrubs and to provide a water source for wildlife but there are many other things you can add to your yard to help bring wildlife to your habitat.

How about a small pond or stream? You can make one that is very natural looking and is easy to incorporate into the landscape.

Another idea is to plant native shrubs and trees that attract different kinds of birds.

Also, what about adding a bird feeder or even a box to your yard?

Shelled, Unsalted Peanuts

One of the easiest ways to attract wildlife to your garden, but also one of the most undervalued, is by offering peanuts. Put some shelled, unsalted peanuts (or your equivalent) into a shallow container, like a tuna can with holes punched in the lid, and place it right on the ground. You can make an easy holder by cutting off the top of a plastic soda bottle and squeezing the plastic for a grip.

Depending on the birds in your area, some will come in flocks. Begin to add peanuts to your garden or yard in order to attract them. Then as they become more comfortable, you can remove the peanuts further away from your bird feeders. Don’t leave the nuts on the ground for long, as other critters will scavenge them.

If you live in close proximity to areas where you can harvest your own peanuts, you may want to leave them in the pods and use them for decoration. Just be aware that most are not digestible by birds and will rot.

Plants to Attract Deer

The spread of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease has made people increasingly aware of the importance of selecting plants for a landscape that will help keep deer away.

Deer are attracted to a variety of plants in differing degrees ranging from favoured to disfavoured depending on their growing conditions. The plants below have been found to be less desirable to deer when compared to other plants in their immediate surroundings.

Beneficial Bugs, Worms and Beetles

In this post, we’re going to discuss 3 of the very best ecosystem enhancers and beneficial bugs: earthworms, ground beetles, and ladybugs.

All of these bugs play an important role in the environment because they interact with pests and plant-eating insects. They are easy to attract and undoubtedly will do wonders for an ecosystem. While encouraging these bugs is a good thing, avoid overdoing it. No one wants an infestation of ladybugs or a worm farm in the driveway!

Earthworms

Earthworms work diligently to turn the soil and enrich it by adding worm castings, a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer. This enrichment will provide plant life with exceptional growth and health. Earthworms are soil-based and won’t be found in wet areas, so you will need to put in some work to encourage them to come to you. Opt for sheet mulching and composting in your garden to help lure earthworms to your posh.

Ground Beetles

Ground beetles are also great for the garden. They tend to lie concealed among plants and in mulch, so you might not see them often. They are very important predators since they are attracted to whiteflies and other aphid-type bugs, but they also eat slugs and snails, so they’re worth having around.

Shrubs for Edible Landscapes

One of the best ways to enhance your landscape is to enrich it with edible shrubs many of which will attract wildlife. In essence you can create your own natural oasis by combining the two.

Edible plants have a natural aesthetic appeal, they can be shaped and refined for ornamental landscaping reasons but they also provide many practical benefits in the long term. Some edible trees, shrubs and flowers have scent, texture and unique qualities that show their potential for beauty and personal enjoyment.

Try to choose edible plants that won’t overwhelm your outdoor space but will enhance it instead. When choosing fruits choose trees that are self pollinating or trees that offer some protection to other trees of the same species planted alongside. Many trees will provide protection and offer a place to land for birds.

Create a Pond or Water Garden

These suggestions apply to backyard ponds or water gardens as well as to waterfalls, streams or other areas that will attract wildlife.

Put up a fence, if the area is wide open or if it is a site for waterfowl. Birds and other animals can get excited by the water's movement and be drawn in for a visit, but they can also hit the water's surface and be injured or killed.

You can also add a fence along the banks of a pond or water garden in an area where you have a fallen tree or other structure that the wildlife could climb up on top of.

Add rocks to your pond or water garden. This will add interest for the wildlife.

Always clean up after your dogs. If you use the garden for birdwatching, your binoculars and bird book will be of little use if you have to get up to monitor the dog directly.

Plant natural foods for birds and other wild delicacies for wildlife; fruit trees, flowering trees and bushes, wild flowers, and shrubs like sumac and pokeberry.

Keep the water and the surrounding area clear of filth like beer cans, glass and plastic bottles, and cigarette butts.

Provide a shallow area at one end of the pond to help birds and other animals.

If you live in an area that has deer, install a wire fence to keep them out.

Plant a Butterfly Garden

Butterflies are part of the natural environment for many of us and they even grace our yards and gardens with their presence. Most people don’t realize that butterflies are an indicator of good habitat. We can use this to help us do our part in keeping butterflies around, which is important because butterfly and moth species are declining. To add more butterflies to your area you can start a butterfly garden, either on your property or even in a container for your patio or balcony.

Butterfly gardens can be started and maintained easily. The secret is in the numbers … abundant and diverse plants! Simply choose plants that provide specific food sources and breeding areas at different times of year. The more types you grow, the more butterflies you will attract. Remember too, that butterflies are a beneficial and entertaining part of the wildlife our area. The more butterflies you have in your neighborhood, the more wildlife you will have. Choose the most species-diverse plants for the greatest butterfly effect.

You’ll have to do a little research when you start this project. There are books with lists of plants that cater to the butterfly, and you can browse the lists online too.

Become a Beekeeper

If you are into organic gardening and sustainable farming, consider becoming a beekeeper.

As a beekeeper, you can build your own beehive and keep your own bees to gather honey.

Beekeeping is a hobby that requires time and commitment. And you have to consider whether you have the time before embarking on the journey. Even when you are ready, there are several important tips that you need to follow in order to successfully keep honeybees.

When you are a beekeeper, there are some tools that you need to buy. You need to have a good understanding of the natural abilities and behaviors of your little friends. You need to have a good colony management plan. You have to decide how you will harvest your honey and what you will do with the honeycomb. You also need to be careful not to get stung.

Typically, you will need to establish a particular budget for beekeeping. You will need to buy a hive and beekeeping tools. You need to build a suitable beehive and you may need to purchase the honeybee queen bee. You also have to purchase various protective gear for you and your colony.

Add an Insect Hotel

Insect hotels, which are a biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides, can be built or purchased. The simple biological theory behind this idea is that they attract insects, which subsequently attract other wildlife. The idea is to choose the right insects to invite into your landscape.

The ultimate goal is to help control the insect population in your area, while providing interesting natural decorations to your yard. The insects available typically depend on where you live, but insect hotels can be purchased or small ones made at home. They attract bees, spiders, butterflies, beetles, moths, and other insects that eat the destructive ones that can destroy our crops. Attracting beneficial insects into your yard will help control the pests and enhance the health of your landscape.

Native Plants and Drought-Tolerant Landscapes

Native plants and drought-tolerant landscapes are, perhaps, the single best way to enhance your yard for wildlife. When you choose these low-maintenance plants you are choosing your yard for local wildlife and for the wildlife that already lives in your yard.

This will help both the native wildlife and the local wildlife.

The plants are already adapted to the weather and soil of your area, and their lower water use makes it easier to manage your water usage, giving you a greener lawn that is also more environmentally responsible.

Add an Edible Hedge

Edible hedges are an amazing way to encourage wildlife to make use of your property. It won’t just attract birds and predators, but the insects will attract a wide array of birds during the spring. These hedges are great because they provide food and shelter to other wildlife items. Plus they’re pretty and they work great in limited spaces.

If you’re interested in adding an edible hedge to your property, there are a few steps to follow for success. First, you’ll want to make sure that you’re looking for a hedge in the right place. Usually the best location for edible hedges is against a shorter fenceline. This allows B & B Wildlife Removal & Control, LLC a place to hide out and wait for the perfect snack to come their way. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re using the right kind of plants for the right purpose. You’ll want to have:

Blueberries- provide food for fruit-eating birds.

Nectarines- provide food for birds and bees.

Raspberries- provide food and shelter for small mammals as well as birds.

Wildflowers- provide great cover for any wildlife to make their home in your hedge.

When to Plant and Prune Your Hedge

Although “when to prune” is often a difficult question to answer, the best time of year to prune a hedge is usually early spring, before new growth begins. This will prevent the hedge from losing too much of the beautiful flowers that will appear for the first time this spring. You may also wish to prune your hedge at the end of summer. This can be done if you are removing several large branches of your hedge in preparation for winter. Otherwise, you will create bare spaces that will be very difficult to fill until new growth begins in the spring.

When you decide to prune your hedge, you will need to decide on the shape you want it to take. Keep in mind, that you will want the hedge to look good year round, which means avoiding some of the extreme forms that were so popular a few decades ago. The u-shaped or v-shaped hedge used to be popular when people did not have the time or resources to maintain them properly. The animals, dirt, and debris that pile up in the center of the hedge during the winter can cause a great deal of damage to a hedge if you do not move it out of the way quickly enough.

No matter what shape you decide on, remember that the hedge will look the best if it is kept trimmed. Therefore, be sure to set up a schedule that will allow you to do this on a regular basis.

Attract Hedgehogs to Your Yard

Each time you prune a shrub, it leaves excess clippings that are small, prickly, and otherwise useless. Using the pruned pieces of shrubs as bedding for local wildlife is a great way to put them to good use. The prickly clippings provide a great escape and hiding place for some wildlife like hedgehogs.

To attract hedgehogs to your yard, place prickly shrub clippings in the hedges along the borders of your property. Be careful not to use rose or privet clippings because of their toxic levels. You should also place prickly shrub clippings under feeders for small animals such as rabbits.

Over time, the hedgehogs will take up residence in your yard and begin to live in the prickly shrub clippings. Once they're established, you can occasionally place the prickly shrub clippings in a hedge or other area that needs to be spruced up.

Build a Bat-House to Invite Bats to Your Yard

The best way to attract bats to your yard is by building a bat house. Bat houses are also great for providing an insulating benefit to your home. By raising the temperature inside your home, a bat house prevents your HVAC system from having to operate as often and can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your energy bill. Bats are the only natural predator of mosquitoes, so they can also help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever.

Many bat houses are designed to attract the biggest bat in North America, the Eastern Grey Bat. It is critical that the bat house is set up in an appropriate location. The best place to put a bat house is facing south and about 10 feet up on a pole or a large tree. The temperature inside the bat house should exceed the outside temperature by about 5-10 degrees. This will make your bat house a much more comfortable place for bats to live.

Another property of most species of bats is that adults generally do not live with their young. They will move out when they reach maturity. So be sure to supply an adequate shelter for the bats to take up residence in.

Eliminate Pesticides

A landscape is a natural space that’s either untouched by people or has been altered by people for the purpose of creating a landscape that improves well-being. <br /> <br /> <br />A landscape is not just a piece of property that is secured with a fence and a component design, such as a house, a deck, and a pool. <br /> <br /> <br />A landscape is an extension of your personality and your home. It’s a more natural, beautiful, and peaceful space or a more heavily manipulated, controlled, and manicured space. To begin to create a beautiful landscape, you don’t need an extreme makeover or earth-shattering changes. Your landscape can be enhanced with subtle changes and additions.

Create Leaf Piles and Brush Shelters

Leaf piles and brush shelters provide great living space for wildlife! Leaves are especially important in fall when temperatures are cooler. The decaying leaves help to retain heat, but are open and easily accessed.

To store leaves and other yard debris, let them rot and compost naturally, or spread them evenly in rows to dry out. Then store the dry leaves as leaf litter in your garden. You can use leaves to line the bottom of a pond. This keeps the bottom from getting muddy, and it gives amphibians and snails a place to live, and crawfish and tadpoles a place to hide.

Brush piles can provide shelter from hot and cold, wind, rain, and snow. If the litter is too thick, it can stay wet on the bottom, which can lead to insect larvae, fungus, and mold. As with leaf piles, brush piles can also be kept in a line to dry, and can be used to start new brush piles.

The best season to start a new pile is during fall or winter when leaves are on the ground. However, if there are leaves on the ground and squirrels have buried nuts for the winter, you'll need to wait.

To start a new brush pile, add brush in layers, so the bottom makes contact with the ground. (See Reference 5)

Other Things to Consider

Native landscapes are not only good for the animals in your region, but they are good for you, too. Native plants attract native wildlife. A garden that provides food, water, shelter, and security for the wildlife in your environment is just as good for the birds, butterflies, and bees as it is for you.

So how do you keep out non-native plants? It’s not always easy, even when you know you can’t plant some plants just because they’re invasive, but it’s still a good idea to try to avoid them. You can question the farmers when you buy your plants, but it’s doubtful they know if the plants will spread by reseeding or that they’re invasive.

Do note that once invasive plants have been introduced to your environment they tend to grow easily and can branch into different environments. So think and consider carefully, before you buy any plant that comes from outside of your local region.

Make Your Garden a Certified Wildlife Habitat

Have you ever walked through the woods on an early spring or summer morning and seen a glorious profusion of white flowers, some of the first flowers of the year? If so, you've seen anemone's.

These seemingly delicate flowers are really quite sturdy. They have thick, waxy leaves and burrow their roots deep into the soil, resulting in flowers that last through winter and into the next season.

Though anemones grow wild in many regions across the globe, they make an excellent addition to the garden. If you grew up in the northern part of the U.S., you might also know these blossoms as windflowers or anemone's prairie. Either way, anemones are versatile, sturdy and beautiful additions to any garden.

Though they can be challenging to grow from seed, you can easily grow them from cuttings. By propagating them from cuttings you'll be able to ensure that any anemone you grow will be as sturdy and long-lasting as the wild variety.

Wrap Up

Almost any flower or plant you may stumble upon in your yard can be a host to caterpillars, eggs, or a nest site. Be careful where you let your kids play, or where you mow, as you could accidentally mow over a butterfly pupa, a nest, or the larvae of a pest insect that is eating the very plants you spent time placing to attract them.

Research the plants in your yard and decide which ones are worth pollinating, or landscaping around. In the end, determining where you stand with nature on your land will be a matter of judgment. If you want a backyard full of caterpillars, nests, and blooms, then go for it. If you want your back yard to be a nice, tidy, man-made environment, that is your decision, too.