Wildlife Boundaries



“There is something in living close to the great elemental forces of nature that causes people to rise above small annoyances and discomforts.”- Laura Ingalls Wilder



For most of my life, I thought of wildlife as something you saw only in the wild.  I was introduced to wildlife and nature as a Camp Fire Girl and Junior Audubon member.  And from that tender age, I was taught to respect wildlife in their natural habitat.

We rarely saw critters in our yards even in the suburbs as we lived in treeless lots with acres of lawn.  So anytime spent in nature DSCN4005was special and mysterious.  But in our yards and homes, we did everything to get rid of critters.  Insects were feared (bees and hornets) and thought of as pests (mosquitoes and flies).  And birds were a rare sighting, mostly sparrows, that lived in the woods on the fringe of our development.

When I moved to central New York in my early teens, we lived in a new development that was in the “sticks”.  There were only a handful of houses surrounded by woods and wildlife that found their way into our yards all the time.  It was here that I felt a closer bond with nature as birds built nests in our trees and under our windows.  Deer and rabbits browsed the trees and shrubs, and snapping turtles moseyed through.

DSCN4080And even though wildlife was more a part of our surroundings, we still viewed it with boundaries.  We still did not want it too close or too much a part of our lives especially with all its inconveniences.  Bugs stinging and buzzing, birds swooping to defend their young, deer and rabbits eating precious plants and veggies….not to mention voles digging up the lawn.  We were forever keeping the critters off our pristine lawns and out of our gardens.

This feeling of embracing all wildlife, was not fully developed for me until I started my own wildlife garden.  Slowly I began to see the benefits of all creatures.  Each integrally entwined with the other, and with us.  Each important with its own beauty and wonder.  And my garden a place where each was welcomed.  I was finally realizing that we must not try to control nature, but instead be part of it.

Recently I found nature, and particularly wildlife, to be a wonderful escape from my hectic days at work.  Living in an office for 8 DSCN3800hours and driving in the car for 2 hours more were made bearable by the nature I observed and the nature waiting at home for me.

When I talk with neighbors and co-workers they seem to always be hurrying about barely noticing the natural world around them.  I will bet many of those drivers on the road with me missed seeing the hawks in the trees, the fox and deer running in the fields and even the wildflowers growing alongside the roads they traveled.  What a shame.

Sitting on the edge of my pond, I watch the dragonflies and frogs.  I listen to the gentle, peaceful sound of the water cascading over rocks ….and sometimes I quietly talk to the critters that happen by.  Nature is a soft place, an easy place and sometimes a bit of a raucous place when the birds get to fighting over territory.  But it is a world we must learn to navigate carefully.  Understanding how each of our actions can easily upset the delicate balance found in this world that we are part of.

DSCN2156I have come full circle in my views of wildlife, and for me the boundaries of wildlife are arbitrary as wildlife really has no boundaries.  I have enjoyed escaping into this ‘wild’ world that is all around me.  And with my recent retirement, I cannot wait to fully live in the habitat we built continuing to share the special stories made here by nature.


**The pictures in this post are from our wildlife garden.


© 2014, Donna Donabella. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Join the Wren Song Community

Wren Winter Singing crop

Free Exclusive Content and Member's Forum

Sign up for a free membership in the Wren Song Community and you'll have access to a lot more valuable information published exclusively for our members.

Meet other passionate wildlife gardeners from around the country. Share your successes. Learn from your failures. Discover the best resources to help you create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your gardens with native plants so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, native pollinators, and other wildlife to your garden.

Learn more about the Wren Song Community


  1. says

    What a beautiful post Donna. I like that wildness has entangled your life and I do so hope you enjoy it each day. I just tried to shoo away Mr. Rabbit before I let Mojo outside. He was not happy about it. A cold morning. I believe he is living under our new back porch. He looks good – furry and fat. I miss the birds. They have not been frequent and all are Sparrows – no Cardinals, no Titmice this year. Hopefully some new visitors come Spring. I grew up with “wildness” and keeping the “pests” at bay. It is so interesting to me how we consider “nature” to live “out there” and not right beside us where it really is – ready for any opportune moment.

    • says

      Thanks Kathy. I was shocked to see Titmice this winter and the cardinals just on the fringe of the garden. I marvel at my neighbors who love to look at the deer or feed the birds but spray chemicals, fuss over their lawns and exterminate for bees. And then I remembered growing up much the same way. Here’s hoping we can continue to change this way of thinking. Wishing you many new visitors.
      Donna Donabella recently posted..Gardens Eye Journal-March 2014

  2. says

    Lovely post, Donna. I embraced Living with Nature a long time ago, growing up in a rural Midwest area with plenty of prairies to play in. Now when I see wildlife in the canyons, I hope they will accept me in their world and not the other way around.
    kathy vilim recently posted..A Butterfly Kind of Day~

  3. Marilyn says

    Good points, Donna! Funny how we think we are somehow separate. I have always lived in communities where there was some wildlife outdoors, but have noticed it more since I started paying attention to it. I got an inkling of just how close we are to nature when we lost power(and heat) during an ice storm a few years ago and I suddenly realized: We really are part of this, only separated by thin walls that could not even keep out the cold. Another inkling came when I thought I could store peanuts in a rubbermaid container on the back deck–which I had naturally believed to be “my” territory. ;) The squirrels educated me on that misconception. And the birds–mourning doves, juncos, an occasional cardinal, and even a robin—have sometimes reminded this winter me when they take shelter from the cold and snow under the deck roof or steps.

  4. Brenda Clements Jones says

    Beautiful Donna, both words and photographs! I chuckle to myself as I see your, “a bit of a raucous place when the birds get to fighting over territory.” I have just realized how selfish white-breasted nuthatches, and downy woodpeckers are at the suet feeder, reminding me of selfish little hummingbirds!

    Thanks for the post. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  5. says

    Hi Donna, I enjoyed your post. I like to think of whatever critters are around here and us coexisting as best we can. When people insert themselves into an environment, it is no longer on its own to thrive as it will, but we can do our best not to interfere in a detrimental way. We leave seed heads on the flowers over the winter, and put food in feeders, which draws birds in. Today, we saw a hawk in our back yard, less than 8 feet from the back door. It pooped on OUR sidewalk. LOL It didn’t see it as OURs, though. I’m not sure if I”m making sense, but whenever people and critters live in the same area, the critters are affected in some way by our actions. Now, when it comes to the bunnies, I used to try spraying the stinky stuff, but nowadays, use baskets and other physical barricades to keep them from their favorites. I just wish they wouldn’t eat things down to their stubs.
    Corner Garden Sue recently posted..Looking Back to the First Couple Weeks Of June, 2013

    • says

      Sue I love your outlook. We do have to coexist and do no harm. Your hawk story is perfect. The bunnies and deer leave me presents all over the garden. I used to get so mad but then realized that we are sharing and they have no concept of property lines. I hear you about the bunnies and eating things to the nub. I found letting clover grow in patches keeps them happy and they stay away from most other plants. And I do less weeding of the clover that just doesn’t seem to go away.
      Donna Donabella recently posted..Gardens Eye Journal-March 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge