In many parts of the country, winter temperatures will soon drop to dangerous levels. Wind chills of less than 30 below zero are not uncommon in the north. The importance of wildlife cannot be forgotten, especially in the winter months. Many animals that are vital to our ecosystems have fewer places to take refuge during the bitter winter months due to loss of habitat from urban sprawl. So, to the extent that we are able, why not compensate for that habitat loss by building makeshift shelters and providing food and water that will attract wildlife and help preserve nature’s balance? It’s easier than you may think.
The Importance of Wildlife – Helping with Winter Food, Water and Shelter
Importance of Wildlife Shelter in Winter
As winter approaches, many of us will be doing yard clean-up and tree trimming to prepare for next spring’s growing season. But instead of hauling off those branches, you can make a great shelter for rabbits and other small mammals by constructing a brush pile in a corner of your backyard. Start with the larger branches and crisscross them to form a base. Then, begin adding progressively smaller branches, weaving them in to add stability. It doesn’t have to be a large monstrosity that your neighbors will complain about; three feet by three feet by two feet is plenty big to be useful. Real Christmas trees also make excellent shelters for wildlife. You might be surprised to see all the different kinds of wildlife that make use of your handmade brush shelter.
Importance of Wildlife Food in Winter
There continues to be some controversy over whether or not feeding animals during winter is the right thing to do. Opponents believe it makes wildlife dependent on people so they lose their ability to survive on their own. There is also concern that feeding wildlife in winter intereferes with the process of natural selection and can result in unnaturally high populations of some secies. But one solution that both sides of the argument can agree on, however, is that adding availability of natural food sources is acceptable.
Planting bushes and shrubs in your yard that produce berries and fruits that remain into the winter months is a great way to naturally provide food for winter wildlife. When heavy snows blanket the area, it also helps to clear patches of ground and shake the snow from bushes to help wildlife access what little natural food may still be available.
Importance of Wildlife Water in Winter
Water is the most important element for survival for almost all living beings. But even in areas where small lakes and streams are plentiful, they often freeze over during the harshest winter months. Providing a water source that is low to the ground and contains an inexpensive birdbath heater can provide water for a variety of birds and mammals. If you enjoy watching wildlife, be sure to place your water source in an area where it is visible from your house. Having an unfrozen water source in the dead of winter will almost certainly result in a plethora of wildlife.
Whether you simply throw a few branches onto a pile or go all out and build a state-of-the-art weather-proof water source, your efforts will go far in acknowledging the importance of wildlife and restoring the balance of our ecosystems.
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