Backyard Habitat: Widlife Gardens Can Be Habitat-Forming for Humans, Too

Even if you’ve committed to creating a habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, don’t forget people.

“People want beautiful yards – you don’t have to have 100 percent habitat restoration,” said David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation who has worked closely with the organization’s Backyard Habitat program.

Good garden design gracefully and easily accommodates people, plants, and wildlife according to a recent article.

A complete backyard habitat should provide wildlife with food, water, shelter, and a place to raise their young, says research.

Mizejewski recommends planting native and adapted plants.

Bird feeders attract birds by the dozens, including migratory species, which Mizejewski calls “passer-by wildlife.”

Birdhouses give you an exceptionally intimate view of nature. In my yard I often see blue jays, cardinals, doves, and baby birds.

Wildlife gardens are great places for adults to escape, Mizejewski says.

Adding a few features to attract wildlife will make any garden a more beautiful place, he promises, but there are even greater benefits.

“You’re also making the world a better place,” said Mizejewski.

Melanie Sarafis, a gardening writer, has a butterfly garden.

“What do you grow is a common question between gardeners on the Internet,” she said. “A butterfly garden is simply a garden with plant material that attracts butterflies.”

The pond is an attractive feature of the wildlife garden.

Even a single tree in a garden will be important for wildlife but an even better habitat is created if trees are grouped together.

“Our place is being managed as an oasis for wildlife,” said John Vigay. “Many species of dragonflies soon visited the garden once the pond was established.”

If you pile leaves up in a quiet corner of the yard a hedgehog may choose it to nest in in the winter. Very important in a backyard habitat is water.

Shrubs with berries for blackbirds and many other species can be planted.

For more information about the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Habitat program and tips on wildlife gardening or to get your garden certified see the federation’s web site, nwf.org and click on “Your Yard.”

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