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Saturday, May 11, 2013

May is Garden for Wildlife Month

Since our backyard received official certification as a Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation in 2011, one of the most rewarding aspects of gardening for me is to sit and watch birds and other wildlife enjoying the habitat we have created.

I didn't know until recently that May is Garden for Wildlife Month. Whether you're a gardening novice with a small balcony or gardening veteran with a few acres, you can provide for local wildlife by creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat®.

And as a special offer for May only, the NWF will plant a tree in your honor for habitats certified during May.

In honor of Garden for Wildlife Month, I thought I'd share some wildlife photos I took in the garden recently.

When we first moved in here, we were surrounded by trees and we had resident fox squirrels that visited daily.  One by one, all the surrounding trees have gone and until recently, so had the squirrels.

Suddenly, the squirrels are back! I'm not sure where they are living, as we are a block or more from the nearest mature tree now, and there's nothing but empty yards in between. But twice in the past week I've seen one helping itself to the bird seed on the fence and wall.

I look forward to seeing squirrels scamper up and down "Junior"s trunk in a few years.

Blue Jays also became more scarce as the habitat around us was lost and houses were built either side.  They now nest in the hedgerow across the road behind our wall (seen in the background of the photo above) and they are daily visitors to our garden and our feeders.

We get so many Northern Mockingbirds around our neighborhood, and the air is filled with their song at the moment.  So much so that I decided to call my home office/art studio "Mockingbird Studio." I can actually sit indoors at my computer, working on artwork or whatever else I'm doing, and be serenaded by a mockingbird sitting on the roof, or in the tree in the front garden.

 As I was sitting on the patio today, I heard a slightly different sound and when I looked up I saw a mother mockingbird feeding suet to her young.  The sound I was hearing was the young one telling mom to hurry up with the suet!

One thing I especially like about the garden now is that the birds don't just flock to the feeders.  I get a kick out of watching them hopping about in the border, through the flower beds and across the lawn.  They do a decent job of picking up seed that has blown off the fence, or out of the feeders and it's nice to see them acting naturally, as they would out "in the wild". (Can you see Mrs. Cardinal in the photo above?)

Back on the 29th April, I showed a photo of our first hummingbird of the year.  I swear we didn't see hummingbirds until August in previous years but for the past week or so, we've had a pair of them zipping about the garden.

Here's the male...

And here's the female...

They keep coming and going in and out of the Southern Wax Myrtle (on the right in the above photo).  Wouldn't it just be too awesome if they nested in there this year?

I saw a young male hummingbird last year.  It would be wonderful to see some baby hummers this year!

If you would like more information about Gardening for Wildlife, visit the National Wildlife Federation website.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Bernie H said...

You do have some fabulous wildlife visitors. Congratulations on creating such a haven for them all.

Dorothy Borders said...

Lovely pictures. I find that every month is "garden for wildlife" month and I think you probably do, too.

The Magical Christmas Wreath Company said...

Oh I wish we had hummingbirds here in the UK, so beautiful!

Designs by Shell said...

Great pictures, love the little squirrel! Fun to watch!