Okay, it’s way too cold! The winter weather that’s gripping most of the country these days has most of us Wildlife Garden lovers snuggled up warmly in our houses instead of outside in our yards. We as humans have the luxury of staying indoors when the weather is less than perfect, and the ability in most cases to somewhat control our environment to make it a more pleasant place to live. But what about our wildlife friends? How do they cope with the cold, the wet and the wind? Does it even bother them? These are questions that I think about frequently when I look outside at the thermometer and notice the lack of activity in my yard.
So, you might be asking “Is there anything we can do to help give shelter from the storm?” Well, I would say that answer is “Yes!” While most of our wildlife friends don’t live in houses like us, they do have their own form of dwellings, even if some of them are temporary. Some types of shelter include:
- Brush, rock and wood piles provide nooks and crannies for birds, reptiles and small mammals to hide in.
- Dead trees or snags provide places for owls to create nesting cavities, while the bases of the trees and their root systems give a nice spot for burrows of foxes, rabbits and other wildlife.
- Dense native shrubs provide temporary shelter from the wind and the snow for larger mammals such as deer, elk, and mountain lions.
- Eaves, porches and overhangs give birds shelter from storms if there are no trees in your yard.
- Leaf piles, compost piles and mulch provide cover for those very small creatures that might need to get out of the cold.
So if it’s cold and snowy where you are today, take a little time to think about the wildlife outside. They might not be visible but taking shelter from the cold. And next time it’s warm, take a walk around your wildlife garden and see if you can’t add a bit of housing for your wildlife friends!
Kathy Green is a Garden Coach and Designer who is looking for wildlife shelter in her Colorado Mountain gardens and thinking it’s a bit too cold here today even for her!
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