Birds, Bees, Butterflies, Bats…and lizards. Ok. So I was hoping I could start with all ‘B’ words, but those darn lizards just wouldn’t cooperate.
Would you like to attract more wildlife to your yard? As promised in my previous post, I am going to help you do just that!
There are a few basics that are the most important when attracting wildlife to your garden. Let’s talk about them, shall we?
Everyone needs to eat! Probably the most important thing you can do for wildlife is to provide food sources with a variety of plants, especially native plants. Our native wildlife has adapted to live and thrive off of our native plant species. Many non-native wildlife like pigeons and starlings have adapted to live off of non-native plant species like Oleanders, Privet, and African Sumac to name a few. But our native wildlife has a much more refined palette. We can help them by choosing plants that are suited for them.
Here are a few examples:
- Hummingbirds: They like plants that have red and pink flowers, long and slender in shape like Flame Honeysuckle (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii) and Parry’s Penstemon (Penstemon parryi).
- Butterflies: They swoon over plants with large flat flowers that give them a place to land while sipping up nectar. Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) and Chaparral Sage (Salvia clevelandii) are a couple of good choices.
Give Them Water
A little goes along way. Something as simple as a single irrigation bubbler for the animals to sip from will be enough to bring them around. Water is scarce in our region, so they will search it out and take what they can get. Butterflies love wet soil which they will gather and sip minerals from (this is called Puddling). Birds do enjoy enough water to splash around and take a bath in, but that is more of a luxury than a necessity. However, it is awfully fun to watch them bathe.[divider_padding]
You can also construct shelter for animals. Birdhouses can be a good solution when created with a certain species needs in mind. And make sure to clean them out at least once a year to prevent mites and other diseases from spreading. Bee houses are wonderful too. Here are some instructions from Sarah Peebles for building your own. The National Wildlife Federation also gives some good instructions for building a Bat House.