Brandon, one of our naturalists at the zoo wanted post this–I’m excited to try it out at my home!

Here at ZooAmerica, we display a number of animal species that you may not see on a daily basis.  However in most areas there is a large quantity of native wildlife that may go unseen.  There are a few ways to entice these animals into your backyard.

There are three basic needs of every living organism: food, water, and shelter.  If you do not see many native critters in your backyard, you may be lacking one or more of these necessities.  Many native plants will provide nuts or fruit that a wide variety of animals will feed on.  Serviceberry trees and blueberry bushes are two plants that will bring in a wide variety of birds.  The hemlock trees here at the zoo were successful in attracting white-winged crossbills, a small bird that seeks out the trees seeds.  Acorns from oak trees are relished by squirrels and deer.  Many trees that provide food for animals are also adequate for shelter.

Adding a bird bath is another good way to attract some feathered friends.  An adequately sized pond will not only attract a wide variety of birds, but also turtles, frogs, newts, insects, and other organisms.

Finally, shelter is required if you want your backyard guests to stay for a prolonged period of time.  The following website has instructions for different types of bird nesting boxes that you can build at home:
http://www.shawcreekbirdsupply.com/nest_box_plans.htm
Remember, the best way to attract any type of wildlife is to provide them with the necessities for survival.  Turning your backyard into a more animal-friendly environment can be a very educational and rewarding experience.

Until next time,
Brandon

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