It’s no secret that I’m a huge animal lover. Whether it’s cats, dogs, cows, or porcupines (oh, how I love the porcupine – despite unpleasant encounters we’ve had with past pups of mine), my heart goes a little aflutter whenever something fuzzy crosses my path. I never really got that thing that so many women get when someone brings a baby into the room – the yearning in the womb or whatever totally skipped me, for whatever reason. But bring a puppy or a baby cow on the scene, and I’m total mush.
For this reason, one of my favorite things in the world is watching wildlife here at the homestead. To create a more favorable environment for both them and us, I’ve been reading up on how to create a humane habitat for wildlife on your own property and in the community. In doing that, I’ve been doing an assessment of the wildlife we already have here, tracking the birds that come to our feeders and those living in the woods surrounding the house, as well as the larger critters who visit under cover of darkness. I recently purchased a Moultrie Wildlife Camera, and set it up at a station on the other side of our property where I occasionally toss meatier trash from the cat’s and dog’s food (everything else goes in the compost).
Here are a couple of segments from the highlight reel:
The station is set up by an old bench that toppled in the woods and at this point is frozen to the ground. Once I can get it out of there, I’ll do so, since I’m concerned it may prove dangerous for deer running through the area.
As far as other wildlife goes thus far, I’ve pretty much spotted the standards: blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, titmice, mourning doves, nuthatches, crows, and gray and red squirrels. I just put out the first of the nyjer seed for the season’s finches, and since I spotted flies and a few mosquitoes yesterday, will ease back on the other feed I’ve been putting out (mostly black oil sunflower seeds) so that visiting birds will focus more on food sources a bit more nourishing for hatchlings and nestlings.
I got a bat house last summer that I never put up, so I’m excited about getting that up and ideally attracting bats who will help to naturally address the rampant mosquito population here, since this area is surrounded on two sides by bogs. I’ve decided to devote a couple of our smaller gardens to butterflies and other insects, and can’t wait to catalog the visitors over the course of the spring and summer.
If you’re interested in learning more about setting up a humane habitat for critters in your own backyard, I’ve found a host of wonderful resources. Here are just a few:
The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife, by Nancy Lawson. There’s also a great website with bountiful resources on the subject, at www.humanegardener.com.
Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants, by Douglas W. Tallamy
The National Wildlife Federation also has a great section on their website, which you can find here: https://www.nwf.org/sitecore/content/Home/Garden-for-Wildlife/
Jen Blood is the USA Today-bestselling author of the Erin Solomon Mysteries and the Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries. To learn more, visit http://www.jenblood.com.