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:
- Check with your local wildlife rehabilitation centre (such as BC SPCA Wild ARC) to see if there is use for your Christmas tree. 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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