Backyard Habitat

You don’t need a sprawling farm to give wildlife a helping hand. You don’t even need a 5-acre lot. Something as small as a suburban backyard can serve as a haven for birds, insects and even small mammals. These days, a number of wildlife species need all the help they can get. Butterflies and other pollinators are experiencing significant declines in habitat. So are a number of bird species. That’s why every little bit helps, even if it’s just a small corner of your backyard or the flower bed under your front window.

Cut the Corners

Setting aside the back edge or even the back corners of your lot can help. Not only will you have to mow less lawn, you’ll give wildlife a stopping spot to refuel. Start by killing the grass and then planting a variety of beneficial plants.

Plant Good Plants

Virtually any flowering plant will attract such pollinators as bees, butterflies and other insects, but a few really stand out. Milkweed, butterfly weed and some flowering plants even produce fruit or seeds that a variety of birds utilize. Viburnum and elderberry, for instance, have attractive flowers and fruit that birds love. Some birds will even nest in the thick shrubs.

Garden “Dirty”

Nobody likes a garden full of weeds. Wildlife, however, thrives in the plants we call weeds. In fact, the messier it is, the more critters like it. Just make sure to keep unwanted grass like fescue and Bermuda in check. Allow native grasses and vines like trumpet flower, native honeysuckle and Virginia creeper to thrive.

Don’t Bug the Bugs

An abundance of insects may seem like a detriment, but those bugs feed all kinds of critters. Don’t kill them. Avoid using pesticides of any kind. A poison that kills ants, for example, can kill a wide variety of other insects.

Give Them a Drink

Water is essential for all life, but if it isn’t readily available, you may not be able to attract a variety of birds and animals. Erect a bird bath above the ground and place one on the ground and keep them filled with water.

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