Attracting Wildlife to Your Backyard

Tree Sparrow West Royalty

Publication

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Attracting Wildlife to Your Backyard

Native plants are usually very reliable – they have adapted to the climatic conditions of the area and serve a variety of functions within the ecosystem. More important they are proven performers – hardy, fitting into a wide variety of habitats, valuable to wildlife, useful for stabilizing stream-banks and/or controlling soil erosion.

Native plants are also useful if you are reducing the size of your lawn. Naturalizing areas around your home will lead to lower maintenance costs, pesticide reduction and improved biodiversity in the area. Planting rare species of native trees and shrubs on your property can have far reaching impacts, since birds, small mammals or the wind can transport seeds to nearby woodlands.

Many native plants are also excellent choices as specimen plants in more formal landscapes. Look at the beauty of plants all year long, not just for showy blooms. Since most plants in this climate are leafless for more than six months a year, textured bark, colorful twigs, exotic structure and fruit that hangs on over the winter will greatly add to the attractiveness of a landscape. We offer the following planting maps as we would seeds from our nursery – they will grow differently in every area. Feel free to make the actual plantings larger, change plants, add different plants in the years to come. Or throw the plans away and come up with something totally different. Please make use of our other publications (listed on back cover) to help you choose the proper plants for your site. When planning your plantings, keep the following in mind:

  • Variety will increase the number of wildlife species that find your yard attractive. A mixture of tall trees and low to medium shrubs provides a diversity of heights that improves the value of your yard as wildlife habitat.
  • In addition to a variety of species and heights, provide: a diversity in flowering and fruiting times (early blossoms for pollinators, fruit that stays on into winter for year-round residents); food production (seeds, nuts, fruit, twigs and buds); nesting sites (tall conifers and young hardwoods); and protection (dense conifers for shelter and hawthorns to escape predators).
  • Aim for a variety of appropriate species – plants that like to grow in full sun generally do poorly in dense shade, and plants that can’t take excessive water will drown in a low spot.
  • If you plan a large planting, a walking path will allow access through the area.
  • Supplemental feeding and watering can attract large numbers of birds to your property, especially during the winter months.
  • Large trees in nearby forests or on your property are valuable assets to wildlife habitat, whether dead or alive. Leave them standing as long as they pose no danger to people or property.They will attract cavity-nesting birds such as chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches.
  • Native plants respond to pruning and tender care just as much as introduced garden varieties. It depends on the look you want and how much time you invest in your landscaping.

Upcoming Events

Jul
24
Mon
9:00 am Becoming a Naturalist Week 2
Becoming a Naturalist Week 2
Jul 24 @ 9:00 am – Jul 28 @ 3:00 pm
This camp builds on the camper’s ability to encounter and describe the natural world. They will use journals, collecting equipment, and take part in many fun activities that will expand their understanding of how to
Jul
29
Sat
10:00 am Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Tracking the Mammals of PEI
Jul 29 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
A walk and talk looking at the native and introduced mammals still found on PEI, as well as a brief look at some of the mammals we’ve lost. After a brief presentation, we’ll head off
Jul
31
Mon
9:00 am Young Ecologists Week 2
Young Ecologists Week 2
Jul 31 @ 9:00 am – Aug 4 @ 3:00 pm
This camp will begin to introduce the campers to the amazing complexity of our native Acadian forests. They will dissect owl pellets, take part in forest restoration planning and plantings and develop their understanding of