A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Backyard Habitat

I feed the birds all year long. We enjoy watching their antics during the good times and when the struggle to survive comes, we feel better...helping them. We are a registered "Backyard Habitat" with the National Federation of Wildlife. It is one of my places to help out. We have the sign posted in our woods. I feel that when people see the sign, they might get the idea to do it too. I try to plant things with wildlife in mind. Sometimes I find myself saying...."Oh, the hummingbirds would like that," before I even think that I might like it. Winter fruits, seeds and cover plants are planted in our yard. For trees and shrubs to provide winter food, the fruit or seed must be persistent, which means it remains on the plant long after ripening. "Persistence" also means that the fruit is above the snow and accessible. These fruits, with low appeal to wildlife when not mature, become sweeter as they freeze and thaw during the fall and winter. The fruit is available to provide resident wildlife species food in lean times during the winter and into early spring, and for returning migratory birds. If your yard is small I would consider winter food plants first. They are the most important because natural foods are scarce during this season. Conifers provide essential shelter from winter weather.
We have plants that produce nuts and acorns nearby. I don't have an oak tree, but neighbors do.Nuts and acorns are seeds called hard mast. Many animals depend on hard mast throughout the fall and winter. Wild turkey, blue jays, wood duck, red and gray squirrels, raccoons and white-tailed deer all use hard mast for food. Trees such as oak, hazel and beech produce nuts and also have natural cavities that are used for nesting and shelter by many wildlife species

Bird feeders supplement the food provided by the habitat you have created, or while you are waiting for plants to mature and provide food. Feeders placed where you can see them from your house give you enjoyment. Feeders also provide relief to birds during extreme winter weather.In winter, feeding suet in an onion bag, a plastic-coated wire holder or pushed into holes in small logs is very beneficial to woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees. Mealworms are relished by several bird species.

Dead trees, fallen trees and perches. This is a hard one for some people. We do like a tidy yard. I don't like a lot of debris around, but in the woods, I try to think of the critters.A "snag" is a dead or dying tree. Snags are like gold in the wildlife world. Snags are used as nesting sites, perching sites, as food sources and to establish territory. Some species create cavities in snags; some use the cavities made by other species. The larger the snag, the better. It should be at least six inches in diameter and six feet tall. If there is a dead or dying tree in your yard, consider leaving it, unless it is a hazard.
Perches are used by many birds to sing when establishing territory or attracting a mate, as a launching area to catch insects, or to watch for predators. Dead branches, snags, and artificial perches will add to the use of your backyard habitat.
We have two brush piles. These provide nesting and den sites, and escape cover for many species of wildlife, including small mammals, birds. They should be placed near the edge of a wooded area, far from your house and garden, as they may attract skunks and groundhogs. Piling the prunings from your yard in a secluded corner will create a brush pile that grows over the years. I have an old burning barrel lying on it's side in the woods. I have seen animals go in there for shelter during a snow storm.

These are some of the things that we do for the winter care of the precious creatures who visit our yard. We have rain today and snow showers in the forecast. Winter is coming...we better get ready.



Roses and Lilacs said...

That was a good post. You may have met my father. Before he lost his sight he gave seminars and talks about creating habitat in backyards. For many years he was a fixture with local conservation and wildlife groups in this area.

If people will do just a few things, they will realize lot of pleasure for a little effort.

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie,
I haven't lived here very long, so I probably didn't meet him. No wonder you are so interested in nature.I agree with your comment about doing a few things....you really reap the rewards.

Anonymous said...

We are having rain here today, too. This morning, before it started, birds were everywhere on the ground.

I have been noticing how much the birds like a brush pile left in the field behind my house. I'm sure if it stays through the winter, it will be a home to lots of birds.

Thanks for stopping by gardenpath!

Anonymous said...

What an informative post today Balisha. I've considered registering my garden as a Backyard Habitat too. I just need to fill out the paperwork I downloaded from their site.

OhioMom said...

I loved this post, and I commend you for your time and efforts to provide for the wildlife. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post. All we do to provide for wildlife in our area is compensated by the beauty it affords.

Judy said...

Loved this post and learned a few things, too. Thanks for sharing. I am also pleased that Obama won and have great hopes for him.

Rose said...

A very informative post, Balisha. I like your suggestions about providing shelter for the wildlife during winter, but also realizing some of these shouldn't be too close to the house. We have skunks, opposums, and raccoons that occasionally venture near the house in the summer--we're not too thrilled about that! We do have some woods nearby, but not on our property, that provide some shelter for the deer, coyote, and other mammals. But I will certainly use your suggestions for the birds this winter.

Balisha said...

Thanks to all who commented on this post. As Marnie said..."If people will do just a few things, they will realize a lot of pleasure for a little effort." I couldn't have said it better.