Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to put
your ideas into action. Before you begin, get some final evaluations
from friends to help spot oversights or potential problems in your
plan. A nursery staff person can also offer good review.
At this point,
the techniques required to plant a yard for wildlife are the same
as planting and maintaining a yard for any other purpose. Refer
to garden books and nurseries for information on soil preparation,
planting techniques, watering, fertilizing, pest and disease control,
pruning, etc. One of the best guides is Sunset’s New Western
Finally, don’t forget to relax and enjoy your developing landscape.
It will take time to mature and a year or two may go by before it
is discovered by wildlife. A more conscious awareness of the plants
and animals in your yard will add a new dimension of colors, sights,
and sounds to your outdoor experiences. Learning about the living
things in your yard and experimenting with new ways to furnish habitat
resources will provide benefits to you and to the animals that share
your living space.
Avoid pesticides as much as possible. Most of the birds in your
neighborhood, especially young birds still in the nest, need insects
for survival. Only a few insects are really “bad”, but
chemical pesticides kill good insects as well as bad ones.
integrated pest management. A good source of information is your
county extension office or contact the Washington State University
Cooperative Extension (http://ext.wsu.edu/)
Also see Native Plants
- Put up birdhouses
in March for chickadees, wrens, swallows, and woodpeckers.
- Provide separate
bird feeders for sunflower seeds, thistle seeds, and suet so birds
can choose their favorite.
- Plant specialty
gardens such as flowering patches for hummingbirds and butterflies
- Plant extra
for wildlife in your vegetable garden and let it go to seed in
the fall for your bird-feeding program.
- Leave shrubs
unpruned as much as possible.
- Mulch with
lawn clippings and leaf litter, and pile shrub and tree clippings
under your trees.
- Make a dust
bath for birds (a shallow hollow in the ground with dry dirt).
a log in a secluded spot for salamanders and for wrens, sparrows,
robins, and towhees to perch on and look for bugs.
- Keep a diary
of your wildlife observations.
Join the Department
of Fish and Wildlife’s Backyard Sanctuary Program and officially
designate your yard as a special place for wildlife. For information
go online to WDFW Backyard Sanctuary Program,
or write to:
16018 Mill Creek Blvd.
Mill Creek, WA 98012
2315 N Discovery Place
Spokane Valley, WA 99216
following features should be considered when designing your backyard
habitat. Mark the location of existing items on your base map.
- House and
- Doors and
windows, especially those with views
and underground utilities
play area and play structures
trees and shrubs; note spread
- Lawn areas
- Garden areas
- Flower boxes
- Tree Cavities
- Dead or partly
dead trees (snags)
- Nesting areas
- Refuge areas
- Travel corridors
bird feeders, bird baths, bird houses
- Hazards to
- Sunny areas,
- Wet areas,
winds, summer and winter
- Sources of
- Soil composition