Learn how your backyard can be a wildlife refuge.
Want a bird-friendly yard so you can attract an exciting variety of feathered friends? Maybe you’re thinking you can’t, because your space is small. Maybe you’re thinking you need acres of land, fields of grass, and towering trees. If so, think again.
My nephew, Luke Springer and I visited Judy Switzer of Middletown, Pennsylvania whose backyard is small…very small. Yet, it’s been declared a wildlife refuge!
How could that be? First thing you notice about Judy’s backyard is that on her fence is an impressive sign from the National Wildlife Federation stating that you are entering a wildlife refuge. The second thing is how small her yard is, at most 50 square feet.
Initially, you ask yourself…this is a wildlife refuge? But then you begin to notice all the specific details…the very deliberate and loving way Judy has planned it all.
Hanging from the trees, there are many feeders for the birds Judy loves to attract. Under other trees are birdbaths where they can come to bath and drink. "The birds give such pleasure…they’re like friends," she says smiling.
That’s not all. Judy is helping the return of native plants of hundreds of years ago. She has replaced exotic plants with species that grow naturally in her locale. Her flower garden shows a variety of beautiful colors…pink and blue hydrangeas, yellow goldstorms, auburn coral bells, and echinacea. Judy is lucky to have a sister, Carol Schroding who owns a store in Quakertown, called Northeast Natives and Perennials, specializing in native species who I’ve asked to add info on native species to this blog.
Judy is passionate about not adding any poisons to the planet, so she uses no pesticides or herbicides. Her clothesline shows she saves electricity by hanging out her laundry.
She’s also passionate about people having a right to breathe clean air. To help make this happen, she has drastically cut back grass, as mowers are much more wasteful than cars in the fuel they burn and much dirtier in the toxins they add to the air. She has replaced most of her grass with a variety of cool, green ground covers, attractive river gravel, and a large, woodsy deck that made me want to sit right down to listen to the birds calling.
“My yard may be small, but it’s a healthy place…not only for the birds, but for me, too!”
More than 125,000 backyards and public areas have already been certified, and the National Wildlife Federation is aiming for 25,000 more. Learn how you can participate by checking out their website. I’ve checked it out, and am hoping my backyard will qualify!
Enjoy your backyard birds and bunnies this summer!