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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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california native plants are poppies for wildflowers and native plant ecosystem

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Habitat for wildlife is all the rage...

Have you heard about "habitat"? It's the rage these days in some circles. Wildlife loves it. You can build it or preserve it or enrich it or let nature take its course...but no question about it -- when you have "habitat" in your backyard, life takes on a whole different meaning!

The following message from Karen expresses beautifully the heart's pathway when your backyard gradually becomes home to nature's little wonders.


"Everytime I open the door I am rewarded with the birds singing and the sight of them at the feeders...on the ground, bathing in the stream & waterfall, scratching about in the underbrush and flitting between shrubs and trees....then they are startled into silence when the door shuts. As soon as they realize it's just the 'keeper' of the garden and her two little poodles, they take up where they left off.

canna, border planting, border flower garden, tall flower, perennial, canna, new variety
Cannas and wildlife friendly plantings will not only make this a respite for butterflies, birds and bees, but for the avid reader and thinker when a gazebo or garden shed is tucked into the lush display garden. Canna Tropicanna by Tesselaar
If the Mallards are in the upper pond, they sometimes come 'waddling' across the yard in hopes of a handful of corn or bread. We have never had so many different species of birds as we have this year.

And the number of 'regulars' has increased greatly. There is another difference this year...a difference that I don't know if I can even explain....it's almost like the birds feel 'comfortable' here....that this piece of land we have worked to make into a safe habitat is now 'theirs', and we are the visitors...we are just the 'keepers' of the garden now.

Five years ago we would never have dreamed we would be 'into' chemical-free gardening, making a compost pile, shredding our own mulch, digging a pond, making a stream, digging up the lawn for more space to plant herbs, flowers, trees, shrubs, and vines...for the wildlife!!! But, then again...little did we know about the pure joy we would experience as we stepped out into 'their' Habitat!

The past four days we have had an influx of warblers...so far I have identified the yellow warbler...yellow-rumped warbler and the orange- crowned warbler(thanks to Jocie B.)...but there are three others I have not been able to identify...I am pretty sure they are warblers, but they are so fast, I can't tell for sure what they are....we also have a lot of the white-crowned sparrows, a few white-throated sparrows..chipping sparrows, the 'spotted' towhee (I still want to call it the rufous- sided), the cedar waxwings, which love to bathe in the stream, the goldfinch, chickadees, the hairy and downy woodpeckers, the flicker, lots of robins, the blue jays, grackles, starlings, and other sparrows that are here year round. The house finch are back in large numbers this morning at the feeders.

It seems I am becoming obsessed by trying to identify the birds this year!! My neck is getting sore from madly going from the binoculars to the bird guides!!!! It's hard getting things done inside when I am constantly drawn to the outside!!!

So, for those of you just starting to 'build' your Habitat....don't get discouraged....they will come!!! Have a great day! " Karen
Habitat#16794,Western SD, zone 4


Habitat development tips and techniques are provided by the following programs: World Wildlife Federation sponsors the following programs:

  • Backyard Wildlife Habitats
  • Schoolyard Habitats
  • Workplace Habitats
  • Wildlife Habitats
  • Citizen Naturalists

    WindStar Wildlife Institute

    For more articles about WILDLIFE GARDENING

    Garden Decor: Aquascaping for Beauty and Purpose
    Butterfly & Caterpillar Gardening and the Environment
    Water Gardening is the New Frontier
    Rocky Sloped for Habitat
    Mailorder Gardening for Wildlife Friendly seeds and plants
    Butterflies are Flowers of the Air