Welcoming Winter Wildlife
Updated: Mar 17, 2022
Wildlife can be a welcome companion during the winter months, but need an extra hand to thrive and survive. As with any time of year, access to food, water and shelter are key to their success!
Use these tips to attract overwintering wildlife to your yard!
With climate change disrupting the typical hibernation periods, many overwintering animals are struggling to adapt, leaving hibernation early forcing them to use stored fats too early. Some Bears have been found sleep deprived as they are not getting the necessary sleep! Heating and cooling cycles trigger the wrong behaviors at the wrong times such as early bird migrations, causing them to miss critical food sources and breeding cycles. How can you help?
Flourishing Feathered Friends
Food For Thought | Overwintering birds need plenty of fatty food to keep warm. Providing them with suet filled with seeds, especially oily seeds like sunflowers, is a great help! Scatter seeds on the ground or provide a suet feeder. You can make your own suet with left over bacon grease packed with seeds!
Safe and Sound | Shelter is critically important to keeping warm. Birds generally don't use nests during winter, but will seek shelter in grasses, bushes and dense tree branches. Don't trim back tall grasses or bushes until just before spring to give them needed shelter. Many of these plants also provide needed seeds and fruits critical for overwintering.
Drink it Down| Don't forget the access to clean and non-frozen water. Buy an outdoor heated pet bowl for your feathered friend. Make sure to choose Youth Environmental Alliance as your charity whenever you shop on smile.amazon.com.
Plentiful Provisions | Our furry friends also need helping hand, especially in finding food. With climate change, hibernation periods are disrupted, making it even more important than ever to have food available throughout the winter. Deer, squirrels, opossums and other mammals will appreciate corn and nuts being available through feeders. You can also leave food scraps, such as vegetable cuttings and watermelon rinds, to provide fresh vegetables for them.
Sheltering the Storm | Mammals will often shelter in the ground usually under bushes or in large holes in trees or in wood and brush piles. If you have a yard, leave a pile of sticks and wood for shelter in a corner. Don't cut down dead trees if they have a hole in them for sheltering. As with birds, make sure to leave grasses and bushes full until spring so animals can hibernate underneath their sheltering branches.
Youth Environmental Alliance works to restore habitat for native wildlife for all seasons. You can help by Donating-A-Dune, Gifting-A-Garden or take an Eco-Adventure to learn more about helping wildlife.