How To Attract Birds And Wildlife To Your Property
Whether you have a farm, a yard, or an apartment balcony you can provide the necessary elements of a natural habitat that will attract and support birds or wildlife. Wildlife populations depend on four major factors in their survival plan – food, water, cover, and space. At the same time you provide these four essential elements, it is important to provide variation within the elements. A broad spectrum of bird species that learn they can depend on finding these essential elements on your property will consistently visit it during all seasons.
It is fun to think that your Broad-tailed Hummingbirds over-wintering in Mexico are planning their upcoming migration to your backyard feeder come spring. A word of caution is needed here. Nature’s food chain may bring a surprising variety of visitors to your backyard depending on your location and the extent of your habitat.
Black oil Sunflower seed may bring the largest variety of birds to your feeding station, but the local field mouse also loves this tidbit and his arrival may lure in an occasional snake. Additionally, the tantalizing scent of suet may attract a straying black bear fattening up for his winter nap. Raccoons can pose problems if you are careless with trash items. The foothills of the Colorado Front Range of course are no stranger to rabbits and squirrels who are favorite dishes of the fox and coyote. In turn, mule deer and elk may drain your feeders when their normal natural food sources are scarce. Finally, as more of us follow urban sprawl into former wildlife-only habitat, we invade what territories are left of animals at the top of the food chain. As mountain lions and bears raise families, those new siblings have to seek out new areas in which to stake their claim. Denver and Boulder, Colorado now regularly experience contact with these two on their respective metropolitan edges, which stretch well into the Rockies.
Educate yourself about the wildlife that was here first. There are many myths and much disinformation surrounding cohabitating with wildlife. This can cause unfounded fear and prejudice. It is infinitely more enjoyable to observe birds and wildlife, and to share your property with them, than to try and either dissuade or eradicate them. Even That Sharp-shinned Hawk who just picked off a Northern Flicker visiting your favorite feeder deserves credit and respect for his brave survival efforts.
If you encounter difficulties with problem wildlife, talk with us at FRBC. We are wildlife habitat specialist and know where you can find answers to your questions. In extreme cases you will need to contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife for solutions at https://cpw.state.co.us.
As you design and build your backyard natural habitat, always keep in mind how you will incorporate the following four essential elements.
You can provide a variety of food sources both directly with the availability of feeders, and indirectly through the types of wildlife friendly vegetation you plant on your property. Birds and other desirable wildlife you may want to view will forage for a balance of nutritional sources. Birds that find carbohydrates, protein, and calcium sources on your property will be frequent visitors and will tell others of bounty expected there. Also be sure to provide grit and or gravel for birds. They use it for grinding food in their gizzards.
Your variety of food sources will also change with the seasons. Different species will forage for fruit, berries, grain/seeds, nectar, suet, and nuts. Adding mealworms will especially help attract bluebirds in your area.
The variety of these food items you provide in feeders and plants will dramatically increase the number of species you will observe visiting your property.
This can be the most challenging part of establishing your wildlife habitat. Installing and maintaining a bird friendly stream or pond requires planning and upkeep. If you decide this endeavor is beyond your ability, a simple birdbath or a boulder with a cavity that catches rain or sprinkler water will do. In any case many hours of enjoyment can be had watching your favorite songbird bathing in your pond or birdbath. Who knows, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard may take up residence at your place!
For those who undertake this challenge it invariably becomes a labor of love. This responsibility of course includes insuring your water sources remain free of mosquito larvae, which may aid in the spread of West Nile disease.
At FRBC we have on hand a large variety of birdbaths and water accessories for you to choose from.
Cover provides a protective environment for birds and wildlife to base their operations from. It provides not only concealment from predators but also a place to rest and sleep, and a place to raise their young. A very important asset of cover is protection from the elements of wind, rain, and snow.
The cover you provide can range from groupings of shrubs and trees, to tall grasses and wildflowers, to rock and brush piles. Within your habitat you can place bird, butterfly, and bat houses. There are even special roosting boxes available that are designed for birds to sleep in on cold winter nights.
Your imagination and creative ability can turn an empty pallet back yard into a unique natural landscape perfect for the birding, butterfly, and wildlife enthusiasts.
FRBC prides itself in providing high quality nest boxes and accessories.
Space incorporates the big picture of your entire property, and possibly the property adjacent to yours. The space you provide will have to satisfy the specific territory needs of the wildlife species that you desire to visit your property.
Since many species require large territories, your property may be just a segment of its range. If you are careful in what you provide on your property however, you may just be the centerpiece of its universe.
In any event space is of critical importance to birds around feeders, water sources, and the nest boxes you provide. It is the ingredient they need for a degree of comfort level while foraging or raising families. It will give them the advantage of seeing an approaching cat or other predator who does not have the luxury of hiding in wait in the close by shrubbery. Give birds at least 10 feet or so distance from feeding stations and any concealment a free ranging cat may use. It may be all they need to make that calculated hasty exit.
At the Front Range Birding Company, we can help you plan your backyard habitat in a manner that will be most beneficial to birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.