Back to Back Issues Page
Gardening For Wildlife #41 October Reflections, Lawns and habitats
November 05, 2007

November shows up with little fan fare.

In fact the days have been very pleasant so far.

Yes, that is about to end this week.

Still, October was a big bonus weather wise, it allowed for things we haven't done in the past.

We enjoyed or flowers and some veggies much longer than in past years.

Lake Michigan offered up a late season swim.

The Sandhill crane festival is still fresh in my mind.

Much of Autumn's clean up is taken care of.

Even my last tomato plant has given up. At least I was able to say I picked a tomato in November.

Now I suffer from a bare yard (plant wise) and shorter days.

Yes, It is difficult for me to adjust to instant darkness an hour earlier.

You too?

Oh well,

Keet and I saw a Great horned owl fly over the other night.

It was toward dusk and cloudy and this fantastic bird flew right over us and landed on a nearby oak tree.

We have a reader that is blessed with a nesting pair of these wonderful birds right in or near her yard.

How about it Larkie?

More juncos have arrived this past week or so.

They keep the grounds gleaned quite well thank you.

six to 12 goldfinches are busy at all times and cardinals are more noticeable especially in the morning and toward dusk.

A few chickadees and red breasted nuthatches keep busy throughout the day.

I haven't had the chance to get my friend to eat from my hand this past week.

Mourning doves are always welcome here.

Did you know that the spots on Mourning doves wings differ from bird to bird?

Yep, the spots vary just as our finger prints do.

Take some time to watch your doves and notice the difference.

Sometimes it is a huge difference in markings.

And yes, the is the ever present House sparrow.

The Great blue heron stands motionless at the pond (sometimes we startle each other).

Robins fill the fields and wood's edge with movement and noise.

Blue-jay visits are more often....................

Food will attract all sorts of visitors, even food provided by "Nature"

We only need to take some time to observe and learn.

Do you like a lush green yard?

Big expanses of manicured lawn?

Now I admit, I enjoy some well maintained green,grass.

Walking bare foot in soft green grass pleases my feet.

I like the smell of a fresh mowed lawn.

To some degree I even like cutting and edging my lawn.

A well maintained lawn looks nice.

My lawn has shrunk quite a bit over the years. Gardening for wildlife has become more and more important to me.

Here are some other reasons to think about shrinking your expanse of well maintained lawn.

Lawns are the biggest waste of time and money in our landscapes.

We spend time mowing, edging, weeding, moving sprinklers etc.

There is money that goes into lawn-mowers, fertilizers, weed killers, water bills.

Not to mention the cost of gas to run our machines.

In the natural world, lawns are about the most useless source for wildlife and habitats.

True, spring and early summer our lawns can offer juicy worms for robins and ant mounds may attract Northern flickers and starlings.

If you live in the right location, lawns may attract bluebirds.

A well watered lawn with lots of worms may attract moles (worms are a mole's main food source, not grubs).

Late summer and fall your yard may attract skunks as they dig for grubs. Skunk diggings look like mini bomb explosions all over the place.

Other than that, a lawn has very little value. Lawns don't attract Cardinals or Varied Thrushes. Finches, Chickadees, Bushtits and most birds need trees and shrubs for protection.

You need trees, shrubs, flowers and some natural settings to attract birds.

As late fall and winter approaches, it gives me time to study my yard.

How did things grow this past year.

Do I want to plant or try something else next year?

What can I do to make my yard more appealing for wildlife?

Make sure I keep things appealing for my family and me.

Neighbors................. they always have a better view than we do.

If neighbors and certain associations aren't an issue, then have fun!

Your wildlife garden may be for birds and a few butterflies, but expect a few additional guests.

Toads welcome a shaded moist area.

Maybe a snake will visit too.

There are chipmunks, and squirrels seem to be a given.

Where there are flowers, you will find all sorts of pollinating insects.

If you have a water garden or live near water, expect your habitats to attract dragon-flies.

Not to mention that frogs will adopt your water garden and maybe a turtle will visit.

All sorts of birds love insects.

Nature's balance comes into play.

Stay away from insecticides.

Depending where you live, gardening for wildlife may be a meadow or desert.

You may have woodlands and woods edge to work with.

Sometimes we can do some selective cutting and clean up to make a wooded area a healthier habitat.

Cities and suburbia can have rows of trees lining streets, parks and other natural areas that thrive.

You can attract what lives near you.

Start by knowing and understanding the wildlife around you.

Think like a bird.

No, I didn't call you a bird brain, I said to think like a bird or the wildlife around you.

Observe there settings.

Where do they prefer to hang out.

Know what they like to eat.

Offer water.

Place feeders near protection yet where you can enjoy them.

Use special feeders for certain birds and certain feed.

What about nest boxes?

As we head into winter (longer for some of us) take some time to revise your plans.

Write and draw things out.

Be sure to draw plans with your plants as mature plantings.

This will save you time later on from having to work things over again.

Gardening for wildlife?

Look a nature where you live and copy it.

Pretty simple huh?

Now add some special plants you want.

Don't forget a special place for you to enjoy your wildlife habitats.

A garden bench or maybe a table with a couple of chairs.


It's time to fly for now.

Attitude is a key to your future.

You chose what to think and believe.

Start the day with a "Thank You God" and a huge smile.

Smiles are so easy, yet they are FREE.

FREE is good, yet it can be PRICELESS.

Share a free, priceless smile today.

You'll feel good too.

Until next time

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS: Feel free to forward this to friends and family or send them to so they can register to recieve their free copies.

Gardening For Wildlife.

Back to Back Issues Page