Winter is a tough season for wild animals. Deep snow and freezing temperatures make finding food and shelter a daily struggle. While wildlife has adapted to the changes brought on by the season, survival is still a challenge.
So before you bundle up and head outside for that last mow and rake of the season, take a moment to consider the wild animals you could be helping just by putting off your usual fall yard work. Lend a helping hand in your own backyard by doing the following:
- To mow or not to mow. Long grass can shelter overwintering insects. Come spring, the bugs will be protein-rich food for baby birds.
- Just a litter bit. Piles of leaf litter can provide a place for animals such as frogs to hibernate.
- The need for seed. Allowing plants to go to seed can feed hungry birds spending the winter here. Seed heads can also house overwintering insects.
- Let it bee. Old plant stems make great homes for a variety of overwintering insects, including bees. The dead stalks can also serve as construction materials for birds beginning to build their nests in the spring.
- Brush up. Brush piles can give dense cover to animals such as chipmunks, marmots and hares, as well as protection to overwintering insects.
- Break the ice. Keeping a hole open in your pond can provide birds and mammals with a source of drinking water. Instead of breaking the ice, place a container of hot water on the surface to melt it through. Remember to remove any fallen leaves from your pond, too: decaying leaves can harm fish.
- Rock it. Rock piles, especially when positioned near water, can provide habitat for snakes, frogs and other reptiles and amphibians.
+ Winter Wildlife Resources:
Extra season tips:
- Donate your Christmas tree to your local wildlife rehabilitation centre (such as BC SPCA Wild ARC). The tree can serve as natural enrichment for the wild patients in their care.
- Creative ways you can help local wildlife this winter.
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