How to Make Your Land a Permanent Wildlife Sanctuary
- Grow several types of plants around your property. This can encompass your backyard or any other open-area property you may have. Consider using plants that are native to your area. Some good choices are plants and trees that bear fruit, seeds, nuts, nectar, and pollen. Hazelnut trees, huckleberries, wildflowers, elderberries, and service berries are all great choices, if you live in an area in which these plants are native.
- Refrain from moving any dead trees from your property unless they are a safety hazard. Cavity-nesting birds will use these to nest. If you do not have many dead trees on your property, or even if you feel you do not have enough, you can place bird houses around your property to substitute.
- Place birdbaths around your property. You could also make your own garden pond, but make sure there is an adequate source of water. Place the bowl of one birdbath on the ground for small mammals or birds that feed on the ground. This step can be skipped if you have a garden pond. If your property is quite large, however, you may want to set out a few extra bird baths to prevent competition among the animals.
- Fill a basin with sand and keep it wet to ensure butterflies are able to hydrate. Keep this basin near flowers.
- Set up shelters for the animals. Plant a long row of shrubs native to your area, and make piles of rocks around your property. Leave logs and brush lying around as well. All of these steps will ensure that the animals that come to your sanctuary will have some type of shelter to hide, stay warm, or build nests in.
- Check under the eaves of your house and cover any openings where non-native birds may nest. This is very unhealthy for native birds, and causes undesirable competition.
Things You Will Need
- Gardening tools (spade, rake, shovel, etc.)
- Large rocks
- Several types of flowers, trees, and shrubs
- Bird food (thistle, sunflower seeds)
- Small basin
- Make sure your birdbaths stay clean.
- Make sure that you fill up bird feeders consistently, at least until the plants you put down start to come in to provide a source of food.
- A garden pond or another source of constant water will eventually need to be put in if this sanctuary is to survive without human care.
- Contact your local or state fish and wildlife department for more information on setting up your sanctuary.
- Contact the National Wildlife Federation to register your sanctuary as a refuge.