Many of us love the idea of creating safe places for wildlife to live, and with patience and perseverance, our gardens can become those places. By adding a few things here and there and leaving a few things here and there, we can provide a habitat for all kinds of creatures.
Source: Wild Your Garden with Joel Ashton/Youtube
Animals, like humans, have a few needs that must be met. Unfortunately, urban and suburban development has decimated places where these basic needs – food, water, shelter – were once plentiful. Wild animals were constantly pushed further and further, crowded into new spaces while being crowded out from others.
For those of us who want to help out, one thing we can do is provide some of the foundation for our yards and gardens, sharing as best we can with the wildlife native to where we live. It’s not that difficult.
First, providing habitat for animals is sometimes as simple as not destroying existing animal habitat. In the grand scheme of things, that would be using the spaces we’ve already damaged instead of buying homes in new developments, creating demand for more expansion.
In our courses, it could be as simple as investigating things before acting. Are there any animals living in that pile of leaves picked up in the corner of the garden? Before picking it all up and taking it all away, is there something digging and living in what fell? Sometimes we can help just by leaving things.
By protecting native plants, we have plenty of resources for the native animals that are still trying to make a living in our neighborhoods. They have evolved to use what grows naturally in the area, so the more we can conserve, the more we help native animals survive.
This can happen in many ways. First, we can allow natural grasses and “weeds” to grow on our lawn instead of killing them for more fashionable choices. We can do the same for natural shrubs and trees. Rather than replacing them with something from a nursery, we can protect native plants that wildlife use for food and shelter.
In addition to leaving things in place where possible and protecting the habitat that still exists, we can add to it. There are beautiful native trees, shrubs and grasses everywhere we live, and planting these rather than other plants means a lot to native wildlife.
We can add to the food and shelter available rather than choosing plants that are of little or no value to the animals that live around us. Birds will be very excited, like all mammals. The right plants in the right place are vital for their survival, and we have the power to sow what makes sense.
Source: TRUE FOODTV/Youtube
Water is crucial for animals, just like it is for humans, but of course most animals can’t turn on the taps to drink. They must find a source of water, which can be scarce in urban and even suburban areas, where most of it has been removed for more building space. Wet areas fill in and low areas smooth out.
We can help you with simple solutions. It can start with things as simple as a birdbath or two in the garden. We can also install small garden ponds to provide habitat. We can use some of our space, especially where water is usually found, to create wetlands. It will be ideal for birds, butterflies, bees and mammals, as well as frogs, toads, lizards, etc.
When life options are limited, we can always build habitats for animals. There are all kinds of fun projects that will give animals easy life choices. Additionally, we can often derive many benefits from the presence of resident birds, bats and insects.
Bug hotels are fun and creative structures that can house solitary bees, spiders, and many other crawling and flying little guys that can pollinate, control pests, and provide music. Birdhouses and bat houses can spin these aeronautical wonders around our skies, often devouring mosquitoes. Rockeries are excellent places for lizards and toads and various garden snakes.
When we take the time to appreciate the animals around us, appreciating their songs, their business or their presence, it becomes really easy to meet their needs while meeting our own. A garden can be a great place for all kinds of wildlife.
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