(StatePoint) Whether your garden is a source of food for your family, a way to beautify your home’s outdoor spaces, or a gathering place for parties, you already know how beneficial your outdoor hobby can be.
But a garden needn’t only be a human habitat. If you cultivate it right, you can encourage beautiful wildlife to become regular visitors to your garden all season long.
Here are some tips to get started:
• Plant native flowers, shrubs and trees to give local wildlife the proper sustenance they need to survive. Skip flowers bred strictly for size and color and opt for high-nectar yielding flowers instead.
• Incorporate birdfeeders into your garden. Not only will they look great, they are an excellent supplemental food source for your feathered friends. And you can keep furry friends at bay with a squirrel-proof feeder.
• If you build a water source, they will come (and stay). A pond or birdbath will help prevent birds from eating and going in search of water.
• Birds need cover to protect themselves from predators. Planting densely with a mix of smaller trees, shrubs and beds of annuals and perennials will do the trick.
• Avoid pesticides. These chemicals are potentially harmful to you and your family, and the same goes for wildlife. Also, by killing garden pests, you will eliminate a primary source of protein for birds in search of nourishment for their migration ahead.
Once you’ve invited all these creatures to share your garden, you’re going to need to take some steps to make it safe for them.
While a garden might be a safe haven, your home can be a death trap According to Wyoming-based Western EcoSystems Technology, an estimated 98 million birds are killed annually in the U.S. from colliding with glass windows. That is one bird fatality per house.
But you don’t need to be part of the problem. Applying static-cling decals to your windows will prevent birds from mistaking your windows for thin air. And you can apply such a decal without affecting the appearance of your home. For example, decals from WindowAlert rely on a special ultraviolet-reflecting coating that is invisible to humans but looks like a brilliant glow to birds. You can learn more at www.WindowAlert.com.
“Your home needn’t pose a danger to birds,” stresses Spencer Schock, founder of WindowAlert, Inc.
If you spot an injured bird in your garden, don’t rescue it. If it’s young, its parents are likely nearby. If you want to take action, call your wildlife office for information on licensed rehabilitators.
With a few tweaks to your garden, you can create an eco-friendly habitat for the birds and the bees and everything in between. After all, there’s nothing more beautiful than a garden that is not only good to you and your family, but to wildlife, as well.