Sunday, June 12, 2005

If You Build It, They Will Come. Are You Ready?

There's a lot of little things you can do to attract wildlife to your home. Something as normal and simple as a birdfeeder will almost immediately increase your visiting bird population. Throw in a nest box or two, and you might help increase a species population.
The first thing we probably should think about, before doing the enhancement, is what are the possible effects on you and the wildlife. You aren't helping the birds if you set up a feeder where your cat can ambush the birds it attracts. Also setting a feeder near your car parking area can result in bird droppings all over your car. Not a good thing.
I really don't recommend feeding non-bird wildlife with feeders. It breeds familiarity that can be dangerous for you and the wildlife you attracted. In Florida this can be disastrous when people feed alligators. That reptile brain loses it's normal fear of humans and insteads associates them with food. Incredibly dangerous.
I do believe in planting native plants that all kinds of wildlife feed on. This helps them out without causing "feeder dependence" and human familiarity . I also believe in providing shelter, both natural and "created". A simple brush pile can provide an indigo snake or covey of quail a safe place to hide from our dogs or the local hawks and owls.
The thing is, "If you build it, they will come". So think before you act. Do you really want to attract wild cottontail rabbits by making snug brush piles here and there? Are they still going to be "cute little bunnies" after they've eaten your prize daisies down to the roots?
Lets break this essay up with a photo. Coming up: a photo of a simple critter shelter.

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