I had mentioned once before that, through the National Wildlife Federation, you can certify your outdoor space as a Wildlife Habitat.
For the past month or so, we’ve been studying our local ecology including the river, its connection to the great lakes, native plants and wildlife. Creating our own little backyard refuge seemed like the perfect complement to all this!
NWF requires that your habitat have multiple food sources, a water source, some form of shelter for the animals and a place for them to raise their young. These requirements can be met through natural means, like trees and grass, shrubs, vines, a stream or river, etc as well as through supplemental means, such as a feeder or bird house.
Our yard pretty much met the standards just because we have mature trees, lots of ivy everywhere and we live in a place rainy enough to create frequent puddles.
However, we thought it would be fun to add a few supplements to what’s already there and see if we could create a wildlife “show” right outside our window.
We started with water, since that’s so important and the one thing our yard can’t offer 100% of the time. We found an old, bent cookie sheet in the recycling bin and a wire shelf collecting cobwebs in a corner of the garage. We added a rock to keep it from blowing away and also, as Sweet Hippie Daughter says, to give the birds a little island to rest on. In time, we plan to add a few plants to the bottom shelves and maybe some fake ivy or something to make it all a little prettier.
Next we made a bird feeder. It was simple enough to create by poking a few sticks through the sides of an old juice bottle that SHD had decorated with pretty fall leaves she’d found. Then we cut some holes and filled it up and hung it with a piece of twine.
Finally (by far my favorite!) we made a squirrel feeder. I’m sorry to those of you who truly hate squirrels. I think they’re sort of cute. Plus my dog’s reaction to them makes me laugh. We started with two old sneakers that no longer fit the girl and were far too grubby to donate to anyone else. Then we cut the tops (including lids) off the tops of some 16.9oz water bottles and stuffed them into the toe to help the shoe keep it’s shape. We nailed them to the tree and filled them with peanuts. Voila! Squirrel feeders!
Handsome Hippie Hubby tells me that he saw two blue jays and two sparrows eating at our bird feeder this morning and a squirrel with his head stuffed so far into one of the shoes only his bum and tail were showing. I wish he’d caught a picture of that, but no doubt the little guy will be back when we refill.
So now we are official. Though we have to wait 6-8 weeks for the signage to prove it.
Sweet Hippie Daughter learned about some different types of animals in our area, what they eat and how they nest. I learned (once again) that it is not so hard to make a difference. To me it was 20 minutes of digging through the recycling, cutting holes and pounding nails. To a hungry little critter, it may mean a great deal. That bird doesn’t know that my little yard isn’t a national park or grand aviary. To him it’s a place to rest and be refreshed.
How easy it is to use that lesson in my life every day! What little effort can I make today? Making the tiny effort to give a single dollar, take an old coat to the homeless shelter, drop off some ratty towels at the humane society, say a kind word, send a thoughtful text…. these things that seem so little may be a very big deal to someone else. Don’t put it off because you’re waiting for the grand gesture!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If everyone did a “little” bit, it would add up to something very big, indeed!
Have a wonderful weekend, dear readers! Go get your hippie on!