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Create a wildlife habitat.

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Photo courtesy of Rafal N.

We all strive to have beautiful gardens but we do not always know how to attract wildlife to our gardens. Here are a few tips to help create a wildlife habitat.

Minimize rototilling.Sometimes tilling is necessary. However, once you till and add organic matter life begins to grow in the soil. From this point forward tilling would do more harm than good.

 

Be careful when working in your garden.When you encourage wildlife it is very likely that you will come across nests or resting animals when you do yard work. It is a good sign of life in your garden and a healthy ecosystem. Try not to disturb the creatures inhabiting your garden and work around them. 

Do not leave your lights on unless absolutely necessaryLights attract insects that should be feeding or mating. Many kinds of insects are disappearing, partly because of the widespread existence of man-made night light. 


Photo courtesy of Rafal N.
Never use a bug zapper. These electrical devices are non selective, attracting and killing many insects, both good and bad.
 
Always use white sugar to prepare hummingbird food. A mixture made with white sugar closely resembles the naturally occurring nectar in flowers. Mixtures made with the other ingredients can kill butterflies.
 
Leave spider webs alone. A spider web is nature’s sticky trap. It is a work of art that helps reducing insect populations. Using pesticides to kill insects is damaging, as it removes links from food chain. A spider that eats insects becomes part of a food chain.

Photo courtesy of Rafal N.
Provide water for wildlife. No matter where you live, providing a water source in your yard will bring in wildlife that you might not otherwise see.
 
Provide shelter for wildlife.  Plant a variety of shrubs and trees. They will serve as nesting sites or shelter during feeding. Large evergreens provide shelter in the winter. Low growing plants will provide protection for small animals, such as rabbits.
 
Do not forget to provide shelter for ground dwelling species, such as toads and chipmunks, by placing small piles of rocks, branches, or a decaying stump in your yard. 
 
When placing birdhouses in your yard, determine what kind of bird you want as a tenant, as birds have specific requirements for the type of house and the size of the entry hole they need.
 

Finally, provide building materials. Suitable nest building materials include 8 to 10 inch lengths of string, yarn, strips of cloth, or thread as well as cotton, wool, excess hair from your cat or dog and dried grass.

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