I have a challenge for you. It is something I know you can do, wherever your roots are planted, no matter what hemisphere, continent, country, nor whether you dwell on acreage or urban plot, apartment or condominium.
I want you to contemplate establishing a wildlife habitat.
I know, I know; it sounds daunting. Believe me, it isn’t. All you need is to provide some basic elements for wildlife to exist, which isn’t all that much different from what you do in your home.
You need water, building material, a place to shop for food, and shelter.
I’ve seen some of your gardens and your balconies. You already have these elements. Don’t look at me that way. I see you rolling your eyes, ready to hit the delete button. Just hear me out.
A pond or waterfall is certainly a water source, but, so is a bird bath, or, even a bowl of fresh water. Show me a puddle on pavement, and I’ll show you a robin blissfully taking a bath.
Is there a tree hanging over your balcony? Consider hanging a bird house. We had a family of wrens nesting in a gourd, made to look like a penguin, earlier this summer. They flitted to and fro, as wrens are bound to do, nipping little insects from everywhere. One morning, we saw Mama Wren chasing our neighborhood cat, Midnight, clear around the house until her babies were safe from harm.
All those twigs you gather after a storm provide sturdy nesting material. The bigger the pile, the better the hiding place for small animals. The compost pile not only works overtime replenishing soil, it also nurtures nature in other ways. For example, one day I threw some lemon peels atop of the heap. A little while later, walking about, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a Baltimore oriole, feasting on the peel.
Here in the States, we have the National Wildlife Federation. Their website is chock full of information, as well as an application to become a certified Wildlife Habitat. I’m sure that wherever you rest your head come nightfall, there is some sort of effort to make your area friendly to nature. If not, you can still follow the guidelines of the NWF. Go on. Make a bird, a squirrel, or a fox feel at home.
We became certified a year or so after we moved here, received a nice little certificate in the mail, and purchased a weatherproof sign to display. It wasn’t until this spring, however, that we finally displayed the sign in an area of our property we are slowly developing into a grassland/semi-prairie/wildflower/let’s hide the compost and woodpile locale.
Would you like a look-see?
This part of our garden ended where the yuccas, on the left, sit when we first moved here. Over the years, mostly through the generous nature of friends, we have added a few things; the daisies are from Marilyn, some grasses from Phyllis, the Pampas grass from Jan, and bear’s britches, brand new, were a gift from Donna. We’ve added bee balm (no bees, sorry to say) and I have a splendid source for natives; a charming couple who live a few miles away and sell plants right out of their garden. I’ve managed to transplant Joe Pye weed, an Illinois native, as well as hyssop, among other varieties of plants.
I talk too much, don’t I? Here’s the grassy knoll, as I’ve come to call it, in May,
starting to fill in come June,
and on the Fourth of July, with the yuccas in full dress!
Joe Pye weed, in bloom.