Summer Connection #11 – Your Backyard Habitat

You may not think of your backyard as a habitat for animals – but just because the large wild animals we typically think of – like deer, raccoons, skunks, armadillos, etc. – don’t show up there doesn’t mean that animals aren’t living right under your nose. Any plot of ground can offer the food, water, shelter and space that animals  – whether birds, insects, small mammals and even microorganisms – need to survive.

Today’s post is partially from “Backyard Day” from the book, 365 Days of Nature and Discovery, by Jane Reynolds et al., published by Abrams, Inc: NY, NY. 1994.

“Soil or concrete, large or small, your backyard will contain a surprising number of plants and animals. Some will live there because part of it mimics  natural habitat – stone or brick walls and paving are cliff and rock substitutes. Look for lichens on walls and fences and for moss growing in cracks, and look for the animals that feed on them.

“You can make a small garden or paved city yard into a wildlife haven by planting herbs and shrubs that offer food and shelter for insects and by providing winter food and spring nest sites for birds. A bird-table and nest box will attract birds into city centers and a small pond will provide a habitat for amphibians and insects. Buddleia and sedum are nectar-rich plants for butterflies, moths and bees which can be grown in large pots in a paved yard. Herbs like mint and thyme grow well in medium-sized pots and attract bees.”

Your home can become a certified “Back Yard Habitat.” This program is offered by the National Wildlife Federation. Sometimes, similar program are sponsored by state Wildlife Conservation Departments. Educational materials offer ways that we can all add elements in our yards which provide food, shelter and water  to creatures of all sizes. You can make our yard a butterfly haven, providing plants that provide food and shelter for butterflies at all stages of their lives. The same can be true for all typyes of birds as well as amphibians, like frogs, and reptiles, like turtles and helpful garden snakes.

Here’s a link to the National Wildlife Federation, and their backyard habitat program:
www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Outdoor-Activities/Garden-for-Wildlife/Create-a-Habitat.htm  Check it out!

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