Garden Wildlife Habitats
Welcome Nature Into Your Garden Wildlife Habitat
Suburban sprawl, development of farmland and wilderness, and manufacturing plants disrupt and sometimes destroy natural wildlife habitats. The development of residential communities in what were once farm fields or forest lands displaces animals and plants; wildlife struggles to survive in areas adjacent to where animals and plants once lived naturally. You can help preserve wildlife by creating a garden wildlife habitat in your yard.
Photo note: A mama mallard and her drake visit our garden every Spring, looking for the perfect spot to set up housekeeping and raise a nest of ducklings. They particularly like the small pond in our front yard. (The water comes into the pond naturally from a French drain channeling storm water runoff and natural moisture in our upper garden. The little drain ditch is behind the duck in this photo. The greenery is flourishing along its edges). Sometimes the duck couple visits our rain garden in the back yard while looking for a place to make their nest, but the garden pond there doesn't hold water for long so it's not appealing for raising a brood of ducklings.
Mallard Ducks in our Garden Pond
Wildlife Love Song - Back Yard Habitat - Spring Toad Mating Call
We have a small rain garden in our yard that attracts toads in the spring. This toad sang its heart out to attract a mate and later we found thousands of tadpoles in the small pond that collects storm water runoff in our garden.
Benefits of a Creating Wildlife Habitats in Your Yard
Gardens can create a microsystem of nature
If you have room for a few shrubs or trees, a water feature (even a small bird bath will do) and a place to leave food for wildlife, they will find it and provide you with many hours of entertainment. Birds eat insects and sing from spring until winter. Some birds will remain in winter if you feed them and provide a source of water.
Toads and frogs live quiet, peaceful lives in the garden areas around our home, eating thousands of insects and insect larvae.
Our garden is even attractive to neighborhood bunnies when they escape from their own back yards. This little rascal ironically showed up on Easter morning a few years ago.
Shelter for Toads in the Garden
A toad house in your garden provides shelter and protection for the bug-eaters who help defend your plants from insects. Toads need evening shelter and also protection from heavy rains, hot sun and the occasional predator. This weather-resistant toad house shelter will make a stunning addition to your garden; place it near your walkway or doorstep in a partially shaded area and watch for new amphibious tenants in your backyard habitat.
Restore a Bit of Nature in Your Suburban Garden
If you live in a suburban development, your yard may be part of a former wildlife habitat. You can make peace with nature by creating small spaces in your back yard to provide food, water and shelter for birds, amphibians and other small, harmless creatures.
Backyard wildlife habitats recreate a small haven for wildlife in any rural or suburban garden area without added risk of damage. It's easy to design small backyard habitats in a home garden area. Adding wildlife-friendly areas to your yard will attract birds and beneficial insects, beautify your property and restore natural balance to neighborhood ecosystems.
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder - Metal with hanger, can't be chewed
I have one of these squirrel proof bird feeders and it really works! The squirrel's weight closes the front panel so he can't eat all your bird seed. The metal body is slippery, too, so if you hang this feeder on a metal pole away from ledges or trees the squirrels won't be able to hang on and try to work out seeds from the closed trap door.
Keep the squirrels from raiding - or worse - destroying your birdfeeders.
Garden Habitats - Small Wildlife Havens - Backyard habitats restore wildlife environments
This hawk lives in our area and sometimes causes a panic at the bird feeder - he thinks it's a fast food station placed in the garden just for his benefit. Mostly, though, he soars above the field next to our small yard, on the lookout for moles and mice and snakes.
You don't need to live in a rural area to attract beneficial wildlife to your garden. Small suburban and urban gardens can support a variety of birds and other small creatures (not necessarily pests like mice or rats) that will enjoy your landscape and do no harm. Many wildlife species are beneficial and beautiful - they eat pests, make music and play games with one another.
Wild creatures provide hours of enjoyment and learning by giving us opportunities to watch them as they visit food sources, feeders and water sources in our yards year round, and while they build nests and homes, mate and raise families.
Rain Garden in Early Spring - Rain Gardens Protect Water and Nurture Wildflife
Rain Garden with Spring Runoff
Rain Gardens are easy to create low-maintenance natural areas that provide suburban back yard shelter, water and food for birds, butterflies, toads and beneficial insects like mantises, ladybugs and dragon flies. They don't hold water long enough to stagnate or allow mosquitoes to breed.
Note the clay flower pot that conceals a plastic drain pipe. Storm water from our driveway follows the pipe down into the rain garden to dissipate. In a few months the mulch area and clay pot will be almost hidden from view as perennial native plants grow all around the water area.
Rain Garden in June
Rain Garden and Native Plants
By early June, native plants have almost hidden the clay flower pot that covers a drain pipe that feeds storm water into the rain garden from our driveway area. Frogs, deer, chipmunks, garter snakes and turtles visit this small rain garden after every storm.
Turtle Crossing! - We had to remove this guy from our driveway
Sustainable Gardening and Backyard Habitat Resouces
More information and helpful links to articles about sustainable gardening, backyard wildlife habitats and caring for the environment in your own garden or yard.
- Sustainable Urban Gardens: Don't think yard, think habitat
Don't think 'yard,' think 'habitat' Audubon Society urges Americans to fight habitat loss with their own gardens Each year, 2 million acres of bird and wildlife habitat are lost to residential development - here's how and why you can help restore wil
- Bird Feeding Recommended Links from SurfNetKids
Surfnetkids.com recommends five bird feeding websites. Because the cold winter months are the hardest for wild birds, February and March have been named National Bird Feeding Months by the National Bird-Feeding Society....
A seemingly harsh desert environment can be vibrant and alive with flowers, plants and wildlife.
Rain Garden in Winter
Even when the plants are at rest under the snow, a rain garden works to collect snow melt and storm water runoff in our garden.
This feeding station holds nuts, corn or seeds (up to 4 pounds). It's steel with a powder coated finish - resists chewing and gnawing. Mount this unique and attractive squirrel feeder on tree, post or deck.
Hawk's Squirrel Lunch
Nature's Food Chain - Hawk Dinner: Fresh Squirrel
We have a squirrel problem in our neighborhood, but who doesn't? Nature takes care of the population control sometimes ... the hawks in the area keep watch over the squirrels who raid bird feeders and make the rodents into a quick meal.
This video shows what happens to squirrels in our yard who don't remember to keep an eye on the sky.
© 2008 Lee Hansen