Nancy, at Gardening Gone Wild has done her summary post on wildlife in the garden. I decided to go ahead and post a review of wildlife we have in our yard, and my thoughts and some questions before reading the posts I haven't read yet. The pics were taken in March 2009 unless stated otherwise.
When I saw this robin tugging on the worm, I ran in and got my camera, and got out in time to catch it eating.
I am so excited to see the robins back, I included this, too. I have already posted pics of cardinals. We also have blue jays and woodpeckers, and an occasional hummingbird.
I was tickled to see the dove pair together on our shed. They are shy, so I took this out of the window. I did some adjustments to it to be able to see the doves a little better.
We have seen some grackles, but I can't remember if they are around a lot in the summer.
I have a few books on gardening with butterflies and other wildlife in mind, but rarely get more than a few pages read at a time, especially now that I'm blogging. I remember reading about having brush piles for shelter. What I'm not sure about, is how much this pile needs to be left alone. This pile, near the compost pile, has either been blown by the wind, or moved by some critter or other. I moved some back, and stepped on it lightly to secure it better, and that made me hope nothing was in it already.
This pile of sticks is in the neighbor's yard where I just started gardening. I plan on moving these to the back of the yard, close to the compost I've started there. Is this better than the smaller sized stems in the other pile? Should I add some smaller stems?
Nancy mentioned that she quit feeding the birds when it got too expensive, but she noticed they were still around eating on the seed heads. In the 10 years we've lived here, we've been inconsistent in putting out bird seeds in the winter. We never feed them in the summer. Since I saw all the great bird pics here, I decided to ask Larry to get our feeders out and fill them. We've had them in different places, trying to discourage the squirrels, or to save the flowers in one of my beds. We gave up on the squirrel battle, and just have most of them in the carport. We are inconsistent in keeping them filled. I'm thinking that's good, so they don't come to depend on it. Like Nancy, and others whose blogs I've read, I leave the flower bed clean up to spring. I grow black eyed Susans, cone flowers, and a large variety of annuals and perennials.
This sparrow was talking to me as I was taking its picture. I think it was telling me I forgot to put water in the bird bath Larry made with a clay pot and saucer. The rocks are in it for butterflies to land on. We try to keep fresh water in it and our two regular sized bird baths once the weather warms up.
This was taken in January. We have sparrows all year here.
I recently bought some safflower seeds because doves are supposed to like them, and the squirrels supposedly don't eat them. Larry layered them with sunflower seeds. I didn't know he was going to do that.
We have some bird houses hanging around, but need to learn where to put them in order for the birds to consider using them.
A sparrow couple has been building their nest and having babies right outside our bedroom window, next to our window air conditioner for several years. Last year, Larry put some clay pots in the space, thinking he was blocking them from the area, but they made the nest right in there. They probably are disappointed the pots aren't there this year. I open the shade, knock on the window, turn a radio on loud, and when it's warm enough, the air conditioner, but they are not dissuaded from nesting there. When the babies are born, they wake us up before we are ready to get up. :o(
Larry likes to set things around to decorate the yard and beds. He puts broken pots here and there. We haven't seen any critters in them, but they would be welcome. (I will be moving the bench when the black eyed Susan needs the room.)
I noticed this today, and asked Larry if it was for critters, and he said it was if they wanted it. Maybe one of our garter snakes would like to curl up in it.
Last summer, I got interested in taking pictures of butterflies and moths and identifying what kind they were. I put some of them in my sidebar. I also learned about the caterpillars on my plants, and asked questions of the people on the butterfly and cottage garden forums on ivillage. I was assured that the caterpillars were not going to kill the plants, so I left them alone. I learned which plants I have that are host plants for the "cats" and decided I should add some more this year. I am planning to plant lots of parsley this year for the swallowtails. I read that it's good to plant host plants in groups rather than scattering them around. I already had planted lots of plants that the butterflies like for nectar, such as lantana, verbena, butterfly bush, which some don't like because it's not native, marigolds, goldenrod, and asters. I saw them on most of the flowers, actually, but these, I remember the most being fed from.
We have lots of bees and wasps, as well. As I mentioned in my first post, we also had an opossum family living under our deck last year, and have an assortment of spiders and other insects, rabbits, and lots of garter snakes. We live a block from a cemetery, where there is a flock of geese we see flying overhead sometimes. They also have swans in their pond. I bet there are other critters that live there, too.
I like what I've read about living and letting live, and am rethinking whether I want to feed the birds and squirrels. I do use Liquid Fence to keep the rabbits at bay. They still eat plants, but it causes them to stay away awhile. I'm glad we don't have deer!
Now, I am excited to find the other posts to see how others coexist with, encourage or discourage wildlife.