Do you love butterflies like me? What about birds? I have so been digging them this year! Or have you ever watched hummingbirds only a few feet from your window when making their morning rounds? There’s nothing quite like it. If you haven’t experienced it or maybe your just wishing to see more of these gorgeous little creatures then read on! It’s really easier than you might think!
Let me back up just a bit. Last year, I purchased plants said to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Butterflies were my focus and the birds just a bonus. So I was surprised when I spotted a few butterflies here and there but the hummers were regular customers. I had no clue as to why. Turns out I only had one piece of the puzzle. Apparently I had provided nectar to attract the butterflies but provided no host plant for butterfly caterpillars to eat from and provide shelter while cocooning.The hummingbirds on the other hand had found shelter and water in my close neighbors yards and so their habitat was complete with the plant food I was providing.
According to the National Wildlife Federation there are 5 main elements you need to provide in order for wildlife to call your yard home. BTW, your yard can be anywhere from several acres to a small urban back yard. Wildlife is everywhere and always looking for refuge. And depending on the specific elements provided and your location you can get different animals-anywhere from butterflies & birds to snakes or bats! Oh,my! Here’s the 5 elements to provide if you want to see more wildlife:
(See You Tube for some great short videos.)
- Food Sources – For example: Native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
- Water Sources – For example: Birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
- Places for Cover – For example: Thicket, rockpile, birdhouse
- Places to Raise Young – For example: Dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond
- Sustainable Gardening – For example: Mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizer
If you want to take it a step further you can actually become an official “Certified Wildlife Habitat.” And there’s no big rigorous inspection-basically just scout’s honor that you’ve provided a home for the animals. I think this would be really fun if you have kids! For $20 you get a certificate and sign that you can post showing you are official. You also get a years subscription to National Wildlife Magazine and several other bonuses. (No,I don’t get anything for mentioning them I just think it’s a fun idea.) I haven’t joined yet-our new rental house is missing a couple of elements before that can happen. I’m excited to get started though! Butterfly milkweed here we come (=