Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife looks forward
to acknowledging your efforts to provide habitat for wildlife
where you live or work. Fill out this application and send it in along with your $5 payment. We’ll send you a personalized
certificate suitable for framing, a yard sign to educate
others about your habitat project, and a subscription to
our “Crossing Paths” newsletter. Please allow 8-10 business weeks for processing.
Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary: A program to help you manage wildlife around your home
environmental stewardship begins in our own backyards
A bald eagle soars
over a high bluff surveying the waters below. A red-tailed hawk with
outstretched wings drifts effortlessly over a forest and open field.
Hummingbirds zip by your window on their way to the flower garden. The
morning dew highlights fragile spider webs at the forest edge. This
is Washington State -- a great place to live.
A land we all love,
yet one we may be smothering with our numbers. Over 35,000 acres of wildlife habitat is converted to housing and other development each
year here in Washington. If we continue at this rate, many of our native
wildlife species will have few places to live and visit. So the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife instituted the Backyard
Wildlife Sanctuary Program to help offset some of this
habitat loss. While many of us may not realize it, a property owner
is also a habitat manager. The things we do, or do not do, in the vicinity
of our home have an effect on the quality of habitat for dozens of wildlife
Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to help you understand and appreciate
the wildlife around your home. You can make your property a better place
for songbirds and other wildlife species that have lived in your area
long before people began to settle.
to make your property better for wildlife?
Plant more trees
and shrubs. Remember, vegetation is the key to attracting a variety
of wildlife. Dead trees (snags) are especially valuable to wildlife;
try to keep them on your property if they pose no safety hazard.
Add a birdbath,
garden pond, or other source of water. A safe place to bathe and drink
will act as a magnet to many animals.
Add bird houses,
or better yet, try to leave snags on your property. Cavity-nesting
birds have been especially impacted by urban development. A bird house
of the proper dimensions can substitute for snags where these birds
used to nest.
Cover any openings
under the eaves or other places around your house where house sparrows
and starlings may nest. These non-native birds are undesirable competitors
for food and nesting cavities and many native birds have suffered
because of their presence. Bird houses and feeders should be designed
and managed to reduce use by sparrows and starlings.
that may be prowling around your sanctuary; they can be especially
harmful to birds that feed or nest on the ground. Visit the American
Bird Conservancy Website for information on their "Cats Indoors!"
program for ideas on how to keep your cats indoors.
Get your neighbors
interested in backyard wildlife. Several adjacent yards with good
wildlife resources are even more effective. Most wildlife species
need areas larger than a single lot can provide. Remember, every homeowner
is a habitat manager, and the collective actions of conscientious
homeowners will benefit the wildlife that shares your living space.
Keep bird feeders clean and safe, if you choose to feed for your own viewing pleasure.