How to Host Wildlife in Your Backyard

You wouldn’t invite friends over for a backyard chill session without offering drinks, food, a safe pool to swim in, and a comfy place to hang out. Whether you invite them or not, birds, butterflies, bees, scurrying wildlife and other nature stop by, too. Here are four simple ways to prepare when you’re playing host to wildlife in your backyard:

Offer a Fresh Beverage

Thirsty insects and animals can easily confuse a swimming pool or hot tub for a fresh water source. Chemical water can make creatures sick, or even worse, kill them. Introducing ‘Bee Cups’, a lesser-known and very effective way to care for thirsty pollinators. Designed as an easy place for bees to grab a drink, Bee Cups are small, colorful, porcelain displays for your garden that collect drops of rain and sprinkler water. Bee Cups are made in a kiln powered by solar energy, contain zero plastics, and will not leach chemicals into the soil of your garden. If you live in a dry climate with little moisture, you can fill the bee cups yourself mid-morning which is when bees are most active!

Be a life saver for larger creatures by installing a fresh, flowing water feature. Water that circulates stays clean longer. Flowing water features can come in many artful forms, but the simplest version for your backyard might just be a birdbath. In addition to being a nice place for creatures to take a dip and quench their thirst, a birdbath can add an architectural element to your space. Keep it clean with non-toxic soaps and replace the shallow water regularly. Choose a bird bath with a rough texture so birds can get a good footing.

Offer Plenty of Healthy Snacks

Stock up a bird feeder with plenty of seed, but know that squirrels and other climbers are notorious for sneaking this tasty snack. Consider buying a squirrel-proof bird feeder if you don’t want them poaching your seeds. Otherwise, enjoy the extra company! Some research may be required to discover what the birds in your local area feed on. The birds will thank you later. There are several hummingbird species native to North America. Hummingbird feeders are a bit different from other typical bird feeders that have seeds. Instead, they often come in bright colors simulating flowers to help attract hummingbirds. The fluid inside often must be refrigerated and frequently replaced if you have some thirsty birds. These beautiful, lively birds are sure to keep you entertained!

Offer Safe Escape from the Swimming Pool

When animals approach a swimming pool as a reprieve from dehydration and heat, they sometimes jump in right in. The steep pool edges can prevent them from escaping. An animal escape ramp will prevent backyard friends from drowning or becoming injured by an automatic pool cleaner. A low cost fix involves securing ropes around the edges of the pool at the surface of the water so that animals can hang on and use them to climb out. Pool covers also help avoid tragedy, and fencing around the pool area will help prevent larger animals from falling in.

Offer a Garden to Hang Out In & Pollinate

Bees and butterflies play a complex role in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of crops, trees, flowers, and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for creatures large and small to co-exist. Bee and butterfly populations have been declining for decades! Plant a pesticide-free pollinator garden to support your local pollinators! We’ve gathered resources so that you can create the most effective pollinator garden no matter your region:

American Southwest: This list features color-coded symbols to let you know which plants will attract pollinators best!

Pacific Northwest: This list features non-invasive, flowers that will bloom at different times of the year. Double benefit: these garden suggestions include herbs for your use in the kitchen!

Northeastern US and Southeastern Canada: In this list, choose from a wide variety of plants that will thrive in your garden!

When your backyard attracts wildlife, make sure that you are prepared to host! There plenty of easy ways to make your backyard living space accommodating to a variety of species. Let us know which method you choose!