Create a Wildlife Condominium in Your Own Backyard

| 3/16/2016 10:28:00 AM

branch litter

The greenery is finally springing back to life around our house. This means that many of my chores will begin their shift outdoors. One such task is picking up all the branches and ephemera that our river birch has shed over the winter. Other trees have also dropped appendages, but anyone having intimate knowledge of the river birch will understand how it can resemble a long-haired animal come warmer weather in its shedding practices.

Interesting side note: One of my best friends, who is well-versed in her knowledge of all things landscaped and gardened, told me that the reason my river birch sheds so much during the winter months is due to the brittleness of the branches. While the ends are always thin and wispy, once the sap retreats during the cold they become drier and more brittle so that even the lightest winds can break them.

Anyway, along with the above mentioned litter, many of my pruned bits and other garden clippings end up in my brush pile. Generally, anything that is on the larger side or that I feel will take too long to break down in the compost goes on top of our brushy wildlife domicile.

Creating Wildlife Habitat in Your Yard

Brush piles can become home for many critters — make it large enough and it will provide natural cover for a variety of them to nestle in. They can attract birds, especially juncos, wrens, and cardinals. Our numbers of these birds have definitely grown since we reestablished our mound a few years ago. Toads and tree frogs also take refuge in brush piles since there is an area sheltered from the drying summer sun underneath that densely layered litter. Each of these species is not only attracted to the shelter provided but also to the insects who appear to break down the woody material.

Bunnies, chipmunks, mice, and cats will also help keep the balance of your wildlife common dominion. Whether they use your brush as temporary resting place or longer term home, they can help with upkeep and stave off any over-population of those smaller than themselves.

1/29/2020 7:46:32 AM

Opossums are our friends! They eat ticks....but how to disinvite the Norway rats in our area....

1/29/2020 7:45:54 AM

Opossums are our friends! They eat all the ticks...but I am leery of the Norway rats in our neck of the woods.

4/6/2016 3:38:19 PM

Radmat I agree with you on the undesirable listing. Some people find opossum frightening.I had someone call it a big rat one time, I corrected them on the classification. I keep a large brush pile near my chicken coop they spend time on and around it all the time scratching for bugs. Each year I have hatches of bunnies and the pile keeps the foxes at bay.

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