Many people are surprised when I talk about all the activity in my wildlife garden in winter. For them, everything is dead, all the plants are dormant, and there is nothing to see.
How wrong they are! When you plan your wildlife garden, it’s always good to keep winter in mind so that you can provide food and shelter for your local birds and other wildlife to help them survive until the spring renewal in your Ecosystem Garden.
I’ve gathered together some of the best tips for your winter wildlife garden for your planning pleasure. Enjoy!
1. Bread is NOT Bird Food
Despite much popular advice in birding and gardening magazines, making treats for birds out of bread is not advised, and may even harm birds. Plant your garden full of native plants with seeds and berries instead.
2. To Feed or Not to Feed, Birds
The bird seed industry is a many billion dollar a year business, but did you know that much of that seed is smothered in pesticides and other harmful chemicals? Learn how to safely feed birds in your wildlife garden.
3. Oops, I Let my Bird Bath Freeze
Birds need access to clean fresh water year-round, but especially in winter, when natural sources may be frozen or unavailable. Your wildlife garden can make a critical difference for wintering birds when you learn to make water available through this season.
4. Nature’s Winter Wildlife Garden Design
When you plant native plants that produce berries and seeds in your Ecosystem Garden, you don’t have to use bird feeders at all. Here are some tips on choosing the best bird-feeding trees, shrubs, and perennials for your wildlife garden.
5. Winter Shelter for Wildlife in Your Garden
When planning your wildlife garden, make sure to add lots of shelter for birds and other wildlife so that they have a variety of places to stay safe, warm, and dry.
6. Enjoying Your Winter Wildlife Garden
Your Ecosystem Garden in winter can provide hours of wildlife watching even from the warmth of your home. Here are some great ideas for enjoying the wildlife in your garden throughout the cold winter months.
7. A Berry Merry Holiday
Native trees and shrubs that produce fruits and berries in winter are the backbone of any wildlife garden.
8. How to Choose the Best Berrying Shrubs for Your Wildlife Garden
Your wildlife garden can be a real haven in autumn for migratory birds and in winter for those hardy year round residents if you have laid out the welcome mat and planted your garden with lots of berrying shrubs to sustain these birds on their long journeys and through the winter.
9. Provide Shelter for Wildlife
Shelter for wildlife means more than just hanging a few birdhouses. When planning your Ecosystem Garden, make sure to add native evergreen trees and shrubs, leave tree snags standing, and let the leaves be.
Follow all of these tips to make your winter wildlife garden a true haven for birds and other critters. What do you do for wildlife in your winter garden?
Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.
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