Indiana is booming with wildlife and depending on where you live, you may encounter a fair amount of it on a regular basis. Coexisting with our furry neighbors doesn’t have to be a hassle! With a few small tweaks to our backyards, we can all become a little less invasive for our surrounding wildlife.
Plant Indigenous Fauna and Flora
By planting greenery that is native to your area, you invite local wildlife to come in and feel right at home! While you’re ridding your yard of invasive plants, replace them with natives, which almost always suit the needs of local wildlife. Planting natives suited to your growing conditions will feed and shelter birds, butterflies, and other creatures. Never underestimate the value of a good tree. If you plan it right, a good tree can offer multiple benefits to wildlife, including nectar in spring, nesting space in summer, and berries in fall and winter.
Hang Bird Feeders
Depending on the mix you buy from your local supply store, or even make yourself with one of these simple recipes, you want to be careful about where you hang these. Feeders should always be hung out of reach of other wildlife that may be attracted to the mix. Given the chance, squirrels, rodents, and other animals will eat the seed you leave out for birds; placing feeders on tall posts away from your home is the best way to welcome all kinds of birds into your backyard sanctuary.
Provide Housing For All Kinds of Wildlife
We’ve all heard of birdhouses, but what about the other critters? Incorporating housing throughout your backyard can quickly diversify your backyard for all kinds of wildlife. Building a bird, bat, or butterfly house can be done with a quick run to your local hardware store and a few DIY videos! Be sure to check on dimensions for the different species you want to attract before you build or buy. Creating an in-ground or above-ground water bath from a plant saucer, garbage can lid, snow disc or other saucer-shaped item is another inviting treat for local critters.
Be Mindful of Small Animals When Mowing
Before you mow, do a walk-through of your lawn to look for rabbits, turtles, toads, fledgling birds, and other animals. Leave the animals in place and work around them. When the animals are gone, you can return to complete the mowing.
Reduce Pesticide Use
When you have caterpillars, bugs, butterflies and young birds exploring your backyard in summer, the last thing you want is for them to be harmed by pesticides. Make an effort to reduce pesticide use for the health of wildlife. Depending on the “pest” there may be other ways to keep them out of your backyard! Doing a little research before you use pesticides is a great way to do your part in preserving the existing wildlife in your backyard.
Bonus tip for pet owners*
Keep cats inside. Yes, it’s a hard one for you cat lovers, but cats are a leading cause of songbird deaths, so they just don’t belong in a backyard habitat. Dogs are no friends to most backyard creatures either, keeping dogs away from the birds and squirrels will ensure a booming backyard ecosystem in no time!