Gardening for Wildlife forum: Planting for wildlife

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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Mar 18, 2016 9:00 AM CST
I just attended the above entitled seminar, and thought I would share my 'take-aways' from it. The presenter was very knowledgeable and encouraging. She stressed the importance of providing not only food (via native plantings or feeders) but to also think about water, shelter, and protection from predators (native and domestic). Perching trees or posts near food sources so birds can 'scope' out their surroundings before feeding and/or have a quick retreat in the event of danger. Plantings right next to structures are a 'highway' for insects to get on (and then in) your buildings, and may create a fire hazard. Plant in layers, beginning with a floor of leaf mold and ending with trees for a lush appearance and homes for a variety of wildlife. Brush piles. Ornithologists recommend taking down bird feeders during nesting season (April-August for me) - there are plenty of food sources during this period, and feeders can attract predators (her example was the ubiquitous starlings grabbing a bite of seed, then flying over to a nest to nab a fresh egg). Her bottom line was "if you plant it, they will come," emphasizing one doesn't need a fancy landscape plan, just start adding natives to your existing plantings. She was not rabid about only using natives, and even encouraged named cultivars of natives as an alternative. Nice woman and interesting presentation.

The seminar was hosted by the Camano Wildlife Habitat Project which is a volunteer organization, most of whom have 'certified' their yards. We are located in the middle of the Pacific Flyway, and their goal is to provide a path of relatively safe passage through their particular locale. Seems a worthy endeavor, and I would encourage those interested in wildlife plants to check your local area to see if such a program exists near you. This particular group hosts seminars, garden tours, hikes, and work parties.

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Mar 18, 2016 9:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Forum moderator Purslane Hummingbirder Cat Lover Butterflies Birds
Mar 19, 2016 3:54 PM CST


Here, you would have to choose between not feeding birds at all or feed them pretty much year round. We do have birds year round. If you feed them part of the year, then stop feeding them during nesting season (which is at least 8 months out of the year...since you have to include the time fledgelings are first trying to feed themselves), that would be extremely cruel! Our area is not naturally flush with natural bird type food during even a good growing season, much less a bad one! I will admit, however, that there's enough insects for many of the months of the year. But still, a natural wild landscape here would support a small number of birds only! Also, few people out here plant much of use to birds on their property. So, like I said, feed or not feed, that is the choices open for us. I feed 12 months out of the year.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Beavers Region: Canadian Dragonflies Butterflies Cactus and Succulents
Birds Cat Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Deer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Mar 20, 2016 3:46 PM CST
Judging by the number of birds that use our feeders in winter, we must be the only property-owners in this area putting out food for the birds. We do reduce the number of our bird-feeders in summer, when the seed-eating birds go off to nest elsewhere and there are grubs for the woodpeckers to find, but we feed birds such as jays and crows all year with peanuts and kitchen scraps. There is inadequate food for wildlife because the land around here was completely cleared in the mid-1800's to make farm fields, and the native vegetation has never recovered. Sadly, it would be impossible now to recreate the abundance of the original forest, with its huge numbers of fruiting plants. Some trees, such as chestnuts, elms, and butternuts, can no longer be grown because of introduced diseases. Ash trees are in the firing line thanks to the emerald ash borer beetle, and our native beech is endangered by a canker. On the bright side, as long as we continue to plant fruiting trees and shrubs - no matter where they come from - we will help wildlife.
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Apr 1, 2016 4:55 PM CST
A peom I made pretty much sums it up


Spring ushers from a land of old sliver maples budding robins bold

For hope there is every spring we native planter's do our thing spring is the season of life

When winters grip looses its stife upon a world dead and dark life will show again to spark

We solumly itch to pull the weed and put to right mans missdeed

That bloodroot shall bloom in a blouvard Glen a symbol of defiance from endarkened men

From those who let their lions ( housecats) out to play tragic and sinful in every way. Born out of a dark inner wild hunting the songbirds of God's love. and in their screams avain blood do stain the earth reminding us of our shame and worth

Or perhaps of a time when man too was wild and wore the skins of a predators child

The spring creeps along the invasive mount too many to pull impossible to count we try and try but in the end it's control for theres always another weed to pull

The poem although dark speeks the truth we can never go back to the way it was before not completely

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