Living in a Certified Wildlife Habitat

By |2018-05-01T15:46:18-05:00October 2nd, 2017|Writer's Life|3 Comments

We tell people we bought the massive hundreds-of-years-old live oak tree in our front yard and the house came with it.

So far, all who see the tree agree we made a wise decision.

But the wonderful tree is not the only thing that attracted us to our lovely little cabin house in a wooded development.

There was this sign.

The real estate agent explained the owners had landscaped the yard to provide a sustainable habitat for wildlife then submitted their yard design elements to the National Wildlife Federation and received the certification.

I loved that!

Coming from the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado, I didn’t expect to see bears, moose, or fox like we had there, but a mama whitetail deer and her twin fawns can be seen in our backyard. Several other does, their fawns, and a couple of bucks are usually around on our early morning walks.Sitting on our back porch glider, songbirds serenade us, toads croak, colorful butterflies dart among the flowers while squirrels scamper in the grass. We constantly dodge hummingbirds zooming to feeders.

We recently spotted a blue jay in the front birdbath with a chickadee patiently waiting his turn on the ground below and a cardinal at the bird feeder hanging nearby—all at the same time.

And there are always birds and butterflies in the waterfall the previous owners created as a water feature for wildlife.

It’s so relaxing. It almost makes the heat and humidity of the Texas Gulf Coast bearable. Almost. I’m a native Texan, but I don’t think I’ll ever fully adjust to Texas weather.

Curious about how to invite wildlife back to your own yard and neighborhood? It’s not as hard as you might think. Your landscape must include:

Food: Native plants to provide nectar, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, foliage, pollen and insects for wildlife. Feeders can supplement natural food sources.

Water: All animals need water to survive and some need it for bathing or breeding as well.

Cover: Wildlife needs places to find shelter from bad weather and places to hide from predators or stalk prey.

Places to Raise Young: Wildlife needs resources to reproduce and keep their species going. Some species have totally different habitat needs in their juvenile phase than they do as adults.

Sustainable Practices: How you manage your garden can have an effect on the health of the soil, air, water and habitat for native wildlife as well as the human community.

Already have those things? You might be eligible to have certified wildlife habitat status too. Check out the National Wildlife Foundation website for all the details.