wildlife are the same as for people-food, water, safety, and a place for
a home. As more cement
covers our soil and more people occupy the space, existence becomes more
difficult for creatures. Even
in town we can help a little by providing what they need. Birds and
Butterflies seem to be the most popular.
In the dog pen
we put a 4 feet by 8 feet piece of plywood on railroad ties and covered
it with indoor-outdoor carpet for the dogs to sleep on in the sun. I
noticed the open ends looked a little worn and lifted the board and was
hissed at by a “possum”. The dogs had not objected when he moved in
and he slept during the days. After the dogs came in he was free to roam
to look for food. He took advantage of goodies only half eaten that
squirrels dropped such as apples and tomatoes. Perhaps he liked bird
food that I put out and was still available when he went hunting. When
the dogs went out in the morning he was asleep and they did not bother
each other. Mother Possums
kick their kids out of the home in the fall to get their homes ready for
the next brood. He stayed for some weeks but got too big for the space.
Birds eat at
three levels (1) on the ground, (2) on a surface off the ground such as
a picnic table, and (3) on hanging feeders. I try to keep different
foods at the proper level. Sometimes
it snowed on my feeders while I was at work so I put one under the truck
sitting in our driveway until I could clear all the others.
Generally I watch the
news and check windows and doors before going to bed. One night I looked
out and saw a mother Coon and 2 babies come out of the storm sewer along
the curb, and head for the truck so I watched every night and about the
same time here they came. For several days I saw one of my neighbors
putting something at the edge of the gutter. What a terrible place to
In summer I
often have extra water lilies, so I put them in individual small ponds
in various places. Then to keep Mosquitoes out I put fish in the ponds
and found out I was feeding Coons who could easily reach in and catch
supper. So soon I had to put those little Mosquito Killer biscuits in
all my free standing ponds as there were no more Goldfish to eat them.
My mother Coon and babies stopped coming one day and I have not seen
If I happen to
be up on a full moon night in summer and look out the window there will
probably be several little “blobs” of fur with a powder puff for a
tail eating and playing leap frog in the lawn. There is nothing cuter
than a baby bunny! I plant clover in the lawn as they prefer to eat it
to many of my other plants. They play games much as kids do.
Their parents aren’t as much fun so I have had to build chicken
wire fences around the Lilies and spray such things as Liquid Fence or
Blood Meal on tender new plants. My
ornamental Kale and Cabbage must be up in a fairly tall pot to survive.
It must taste as good as the Clover.
When it starts
cooling off in the fall I see Praying Mantis on the screens. Then I look
for woven balls clinging to some of the plants and try to move them to
one side as Mama Mantis, some moths and some Butterflies may have pupae
or eggs in those cases. Some are cemented closely to dry leaves or stems
so may be hard to move. Also some Butterflies such as Mourning Cloak may
spend winter as an adult under a piece of bark. In August and September
the yard is full of a variety of moths and Butterflies as the Butterfly
Bush, Butterfly Weeds,
Then there are
the squirrels! There are oak trees in the neighborhood so they have
food. This year it seems to
me the acorns are thicker than ever but squirrels eat many things-bird
food, corn, bird eggs, bread, and nuts of any kind.
I have at least six who eat together with an occasional spat for
the best place. Some people hate them while others (like me) feed them.
There is a Fuzzy Tail Treat of peanuts, corn, and black oil
sunflower seeds for a special dining area of their own.
If you look at the Blue Spruce trees in
Wildlife can be
a destructive nuisance in your yard, but they can also be very enjoyable
to watch. See if you can reach a balance before you get out the
pesticides and try to get rid of them. Many or the wildlife we have are
useful, but be careful in trying to get rid of the undesirables or you
probably will also get rid of those who do good.