Attracting backyard wildlife provides natural entertainment for your family and friends. It can be magical to watch birds create a nest and raise their young right before your eyes, or make daily visits to your home to feed. Whether you live in the country or the city, there are ways to encourage wildlife into your backyard.
The animals will come if you offer them something to eat. Keep in mind that general food sources will attract a wide variety of animals. If you want to attract a specific breed of bird or insect, you'll need to research their food preferences. For instance, adult butterflies that are searching for nectar are attracted to orange, yellow, red, purple or pink blossoms.
However, you can increase your odds of attracting butterflies by having plants that support the entire life cycle of the butterfly. They need certain plants for laying their eggs and others for food sources.
Dotting your yard with squirrel feeders or bird feeders also helps you attract a diverse range of common wildlife.
Animals need clean sources of water for drinking, bathing and reproduction. A water source could include ponds, streams or wetlands, depending on where you live. In urbanized areas, you can create rain gardens, bird baths or a preformed pond. You should change any standing water every two to three days during warm weather when mosquitoes breed as a form of mosquito control. This prevents mosquito eggs from hatching and unleashing a cloud of pests to your backyard.
Animals need cover to feel safe from predators. If you don't offer adequate protection, backyard wildlife will shorten their visits and go somewhere else. Along with cover, having a yard that is quiet with little or no outdoor activity will attract far more animals. If you have the ideal backyard wildlife habitat, animals will choose your yard to build their homes and raise their young.
Once the wildlife starts to visit your home, you need to keep your yard or garden green to keep them coming back. Using native plants is best because they are important to local wildlife and they generally require less water and fertilizer. Taking a minimalist approach when it comes to patio furniture can also create more green space.
If you can introduce all these elements to your backyard, you'll be well on your way to creating your own private backyard wildlife sanctuary to enjoy for years to come.