Many people enjoy observing the wildlife on their property. Of course some animals and birds can be pesky, but most of them are fun to watch, and some of them actually contribute positively to the health of your lawn and garden. If you're interested in ensuring that your local animals and birds survive the winter comfortably, explore some of the ways you can help wildlife during the cold months.
Keep Bird Feeders Well-Stocked
Bird feeders offer your feathered friends a consistent source of food throughout the winter. The key word there is "consistent"—it's important that once you begin providing food for the birds, you continue making it available on a regular basis. If you let feeders go empty, birds who have come to rely on the supply may suffer.
Provide a variety of foods, including regular birdseed, suet balls, berries, chopped fruit, and mealworms. If there's a specific kind of bird you'd like to attract or support, look up the feeding habits of that species.
Check Leaf Piles and Wood Piles
Do you have a stash of firewood? Have you been raking the leaves from your yard into large piles? Firewood stacks and piles of leaves are ideal spots for small animals to take shelter from the cold. Before you dislodge firewood or move a leaf pile, take a look around to ensure that you won't harm or disturb any wildlife that may have nested or found refuge there.
Provide Fresh Water
If you're in an area that's cold but doesn't have much snow or rain at the moment, you may want to provide your local wildlife with some fresh water. You can set it out in pans or dishes for animals like deer, rabbits, and squirrels. For birds, create a simple DIY birdbath or fill an existing birdbath with fresh water regularly.
Add Mulch to Flowerbeds
Before winter sets in, it's a good idea to apply fresh mulch to your flowerbeds and garden beds, and even around trees and shrubs. The mulch protects roots from the cold, providing extra insulation for plants; but it has an added benefit for wildlife and insect life. The mulch offers plenty of nooks, crannies, and burrowing areas for small wildlife like hedgehogs and for beneficial garden insects.
Sometimes it's a good idea to leave bushes and plants un-pruned over the winter, since that extra foliage provides shelter for insects and animals. However, if you prefer to prune anyway, create clumps or bundles out of the trimmed materials and leave those bundles in the corners of your lawn, behind a shed, or beneath bushes. Overwintering insects like beetles will appreciate the shelter, and small mammals may also create burrows there or use the material as insulation against the cold.
If you have questions about the wildlife in your yard, contact us at Kurtz Bros., Inc. and we'll be happy to advise. And if you need any extra supplies to care for your yard during the winter, visit our website to explore our plentiful stock of high-quality lawn care and landscaping options.