Attracting Wildlife to Your Own Back
A Guide to Increasing Wildlife Diversity
and Aesthetic Value Around Your Home
In 1948, Aldo Leopold, father of conservation wrote:
"there are some who can live without wild things, and some who
cannot. " Fifty or more years later, many of us agree that wildlife
does play an important part in our lives. National statistics show
that over 60 million Americans feed, photograph or view wildlife.
Much of this activity is conducted by individuals living within
urban areas. In most of the US, one in every four individuals
takes part in feeding, photographing or viewing wildlife. Back yards
are one of the most popular and accessible spots for this
Since more people are moving into urban areas it may
not come as a surprise that landscaping for wildlife and wildlife
viewing are becoming more important to urban homeowners. Folks who
once lived in rural areas, where wildlife is plentiful, have learned
that wildlife viewing in an urban setting can be equally rewarding.
Many city folks have become so busy with day to day life that a back
yard provides some of the only wildlife-associated recreation
available to the family.
Landscaping to attract wildlife does more than
simply bring wildlife closer to you. By using native plants adapted
to living in this climate, you will benefit economically through
decreased watering and reduced maintenance.
In addition, native trees and shrubs provide visual
screens for privacy, help reduce noise and provide windbreaks, all
making your yard a more enjoyable place to spend time. Many native
plants bear fruits which can be eaten fresh, dried or used in
desserts and jellies.
The healthy environment created for wildlife means a
healthy environment for you and your family. Your back yard can
become a classroom to learn how plants and animals interact between
species and with one another. Important lessons such as minimizing
the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals can be learned.
Reduced maintenance allows more time to spend weekends with family
or friends rather than mowing or watering lawns.
Landscaping for wildlife is no solution to reducing
the enormous tracts of habitat such as native prairie or forests
which have been destroyed. However, planned and completed correctly,
small areas like your back yard can provide the essentials for many
wildlife species, particularly birds and small mammals.
Your question about what one person can do to better
the environment is answered in your good faith concern for wildlife
where it may mean the most to you-- in your own back yard.
Presented in the following pages are methods to
attract wildlife to your yard. This material is introductory in
nature and therefore will be supplemented with references for you to
obtain additional information.
Section -- Foreword
Next Section -- Getting