Most of us are worried about the effect humans have on the environment and wildlife, but many of us think we can’t do anything about it. This isn’t the case, as there are a few things you can do to encourage diversity and give nature a helping hand without even leaving your home.
Offer fresh water
While animals are pretty good at finding clean water to drink when it’s available, they can have a hard time in winter and summer when supplies either freeze or dry up.
Keep a birdbath or a small pond in your garden and make sure it’s topped up and freely available, even if you need to use a small heater to stop it freezing. You’ll be helping birds, lizards and small mammals, as long as the water isn’t near a place that a predator could launch an attack from.
Limit your use of pesticides
Insecticides and pesticides don’t just kill bugs, they are dangerous to fish, birds and beneficial insects like bees, ladybirds and butterflies. Look into less harmful ways to reduce the number of pest insects in your home and garden. Many people have bug-zappers in their homes, believing that they’re a chemical-free way of killing insects. They are, but they don’t attract biting insects – these bugs are attracted to carbon dioxide – they just kill harmless bugs that birds or bats could eat.
Cultivate a wildlife corner
It doesn’t matter how small your garden is, you can grow bee and butterfly-friendly plants. Even if you only have space for a window-box, it’s something, as long as it features the right sorts of plants. If you live around Maryland, contact thetreecenter.com for ideas and advice on using trees and shrubs to help wildlife.
Feed birds properly, but leave mammals alone
Feeding wild birds is great, but make sure you’re using a mixture that’s suited to the wild birds in your area. Once you start feeding, you have to keep it up because a well-stocked feeder attracts more birds than is natural and these birds also eat – and deplete – natural foods. It can take a while for these stocks to replenish so you’ll need to provide feed mixes for your visitors until at least spring.
Don’t feed mammals – deer, racoons, squirrels – because this means they lose their fear of humans, which is never a good thing as not everyone is kind.
Provide nesting sites or shelter
One side-effect of human development is the destruction of many natural habitats. You can make up for this with the humble bird house, or even a bee or bat house. Do your homework and make the right sort of house for the type of animal you want to “host”. Even different bird species will have specific requirements, so make the extra effort. Bee houses are gaining popularity, as people realize how threatened this vital insect is. Why not combine a bee house with a bee-friendly planter to get things going? You could also have a bat house up on a high tree trunk.
These are just a few ideas on how you can give back when it comes to your garden! Do YOU have any ideas along these lines? I’d love to hear them!
Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!