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Create A Wildlife Garden
April 18, 2016

Snow last week, temperatures in the 70's this weekend.

I love Michigan, it offer so much and nothing seems routine.

Below is a picture of two crows feeding on a roadkill robin.

Like them or not, crows are a part of God's clean up crew.

Yolanda spent a couple of partial days at 'Hope Network' last week.

We plan on a full schedule for her this week.

For new readers, 'Hope Network' is many things for many people.

For Yolanda, they have a neuroscience facility that is specialized for Brain Injured people.

They do wonders for special needs people and for the families (like us).

From a work shop, therapy and a real life class,

Many special needs people get chances to live active lives.

This past week, a small flock of Cedar Waxwings came to visit.

They cleaned up the rest of the fermented berries on the Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum Trilobum).

This was nice, on a rainy and gloomy day, these birds came right up to the house and blessed us with their presence.

Oh Yeah, Happy Birthday to me (April 18, 1954)

Creating your own Wildlife Garden.


How to Create a Wildlife Garden:

When building Your backyard wildlife garden, you don’t have to tear up the entire yard.

Even if you live in an apartment with a tiny balcony or small city lot, you can still participate in wildlife gardening.

In fact, you really don’t need a great deal of space to create a wildlife garden.

A larger space only increases the diversity of creatures you attract.

Still, most of us simply want to attract birds and butterflies.

Use what you have and build from there.

Make replacements when needed and new purchases focused on the surrounding wildlife.

A successful wildlife garden is built on four provisions:

Shelter and protection, food sources, water sources, and nesting areas.

It isn’t difficult to incorporate any of these things into an aesthetically pleasing plan.

Plan your work, and work your plan.

Shelter and Protection:

Almost all wild creatures use shrubs, trees, grasses and other tall plants and not only for protection from predators.

They use them for safe places to sleep and rest; as.

Cover against rain, wind, and snow; and for cooling shade in summer.

As you create your wildlife garden, keep this in mind.

Your goal should be a pleasing mix of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs.

Remove invasive plants from your wildlife habitat.

Many invasive plants out-compete the native species favored by birds, insects and other wildlife.

Remember, plants that will give ‘form and structure’ to your winter garden will also provide shelter and protection.

Some plants look best when allowed to grow naturally, while others work best in your design when trimmed to form.

Don't forget ground cover.

Ground cover is an important form of protection for fledged birds, baby bunnies and other small critters.

The birds and beasts don’t care, but appearance can be important for you.

Don’t discount your hardscape or focal points when building a backyard wildlife garden either.

Artwork, birdbaths, fountains, and other structures.

Brush piles, rock piles and fallen trees all provide shelter and protection, and with a little creativity.

You can hide some of these behind other plants or structures or you can find alternative arrangements that are more pleasing to the eye.


Bird feeders are a must for any garden for wildlife.

With prices ranging from a few dollars to hundreds, the variety available is astounding.

Birds aren’t fussy, but look for function over cute.

A big part of function is a feeder you can clean.

Also, take into account that different birds feed at different levels and eat different kinds of seed, fruit and fats.

Research the birds in your area and tailor your feeding to their needs.

One of the villains of wildlife gardening is the wily squirrel.

If you live in an area where these little acrobats abound, spend a few dollars more to purchase squirrel-resistant feeders.

You’ll make up the additional cost in savings on feed.

If you must feed the squirrels, as I do, try setting up a feeding station just for them in another area of the yard.

It won’t cure the problem, but it helps.

Your choice of flowers should be another food source to consider when building your backyard wildlife garden.

Try to choose as many local (native) varieties as possible.

'The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center', has lists of recommended native plants by region and state at

Plants that offer seed, fruits, and even feed the insects, that feed your birds.

Seeds, nectar and the insects they attract are all possible food sources for some little creature.

Even the salamanders and toads need to eat and drink.

Bats do a better job of clearing out those pesky mosquitoes than any spray on the market.

Also, look for plants that produce berries to serve as a food source in fall and winter.

Don't forget to offer (often red in color), nectar flowers for your hummingbirds too.

That leaf litter you just raked up, from now on, keep it down.

I am replenishing leaf litter from bags I kept over winter.

Not only does leaf litter provide food and hiding for insects that feed birds, leaf litter is one of Nature's near perfect fertilizers.

Trees feed from the deep where micro-nutrients are found.

Leaves decompose, feed worms and in return feed surface plants, Nature's way.

Leaf litter also slows down weeds from germinating and retains moisture.

Leaf litter actually saves you time and money, as well as caring for nature.

One last thing.............

Eliminate insecticides in your yard.

Insects are the primary source of food for many bird species and are an important source of protein and fats for growing juvenile birds.


All animals need water to survive and one of the easiest ways to ensure the arrival of wildlife in the garden is to provide a clean water source.

The traditional raised birdbath is fine, but how about placing that shallow bowl at ground level to give some other creatures a chance.

A shallow depression in a decorative rock can be a place for butterflies to sip.

This is especially convenient if you place that rock in a place where you frequently water and safe for birds and such.

Are you feeling ambitious?

How about installing a pond.

That low, boggy spot in the yard may be the perfect spot to dig out a hole for a lined pond for fish, frogs and birds.

Even the smallest preformed pool can add wildlife interest to your yard.

A bird creek can also serve you well.

A recirculating pump on a slight incline and you can make your own little creek.

The sight and sound of moving water will attract all kinds of birds.

Be sure to place water where your birds can drink and bathe in safety.

A wet bird is a slow bird.

Nesting Areas:

As you create your wildlife garden, plan for nesting areas.

A few bird boxes (nest boxes), around the yard can be an invitation to the surrounding bird population.

Unless you’re providing space for birds like martins that prefer to nest in colonies, don’t put those boxes too close together.

Nesting birds are territorial and won’t build too close to their neighbors, especially the same species.

Discourage foreign birds by removing perches, and buy or make nest boxes measured specifically for birds in your area.

Plant trees and shrubs that offer protection from predators and the weather.

Think like a bird.

If you copy nature in building your habitats, you can't go wrong.

There is organization in what may appear to be a mess.

If you can't let go of the straight lines and tidy beds, you can still offer something.

Gradually you will learn to let go and let natures be your guide.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the day.

God Bless.

Die when I may, I want it said of me that I plucked a weed

and planted a flower wherever I thought a flower would grow."

Abraham Lincoln

Well said Mr. President.

"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you,

not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

"But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today

and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace,

how much more will He clothe you?

You men of little faith!

Luke 12: 27-28

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued,

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy,
generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you –
and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute
and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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