Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Wildlife to The Garden

by Rachel Laurendeau on June 7, 2013

water pump Bergen CountyMy son and I were watching the birds darting around our backyard this morning at breakfast when I realized my almost two-year-old was able to name off a number of different bird species. (Insert happy, proud, nerdy mama moment here.) With all of these birds around, I realized we’ve definitely done a number of things right when it comes to our landscaping. It also got me thinking of what more we can do for our feathered friends and what types of features we need to include in order to attract more wildlife to our garden.

Water for wildlife
While butterflies tend to gravitate towards mud puddles to replenish their minerals, frogs, birds and other critters tend to prefer larger pools and gently moving water. Ways to add water features to your home garden include:
• Birdbaths
• Small water fountains
• Backyard waterfalls
• Natural pools

If your pond or pool has stagnant water, adding pond plants and fish along with a submersible pump and filter can be help solve your problems. Water pumps vary in size and capacity so be sure to source the right one for your needs.

Planting for butterflies and other pollinators
When selecting plants to entice hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators into your garden, you need to include a variety of flowering plants that are rich in nectar for the adults but also host plants where the eggs can develop and the larva can munch on the leaves. The plants you choose will depend on the planting zone you live in the species you are trying to attract but here are a few to consider:
• Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
• Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
• Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
• Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)
• Bergamot (Monarda didyma)
• Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
• Plants, shrubs and trees from the citrus family

Other considerations when attracting wildlife to the garden
• Provide sources of food for birds and other animals by planting native fruiting trees and shrubs.
• Include good nesting and resting sites when planning your landscaping. Recreating natural habitat and providing large rocks, trees and shrubs where they can safely hide from predators is essential.
• Be sure you keep your garden and lawn care treatments chemical-free for the health of the creatures you are attracting to your yard.

Green Tip: As a backyard home improvement, creating a bird and insect-friendly garden is more important now than ever, considering the continual fragmentation and loss of habitat that wildlife face in our country.

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