Backyard Wildlife Refuge For Winter

With winter coming on, you may want to do a kind deed and prepare your yard and garden for wildlife. Turning your backyard into a wildlife sanctuary and habitat is not necessarily difficult, but it helps to know some key things about the wildlife you want to attract. Here are some easy ways you can prepare your yard for winter wildlife.

Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Research the wildlife in your area. Your regional fauna is going to differ from that of other areas. So find out what animals frequent your area. You might find that there are animals, particularly migrating birds, that only live in or leave your area during the winter.

This step is actually rather important – many a well-meaning person has upset migration patterns by putting food out in the fall for species of bird that should be leaving the area.

Put Out Food

Once you are knowledgeable about the types of wildlife in your region, you can provide the number one thing that winter wildlife needs: food. If you have deer in your area, corn is usually a big hit, as are apple peelings. Here is a list of other common winter wildlife and the foods that attract them:

* Juncos are gray and white birds that enjoy dried fruit, such as raisins and currants.
* Crows, squirrels, and certain woodpeckers enjoy corn.
* Mixed birdseed with peanuts tends to attract titmice and cardinals.
* Sunflower seeds (especially the black oil variety) are enjoyed by cardinals, chickadees, and many other wild birds.
* Suet attracts chickadees and squirrels.
* Peanuts tend to be a big hit with most wildlife, shelled or unshelled. Jays, deer, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and a host of other creatures love peanuts.
* Peanut butter is popular with raccoons.

Hold Off on Pruning

Natural food sources are often cut down by homeowners in the interest of appearance. But try leaving the shrubs and dry plants standing over the winter, and tidy up in early spring instead. The dried remnants of plants and shrubs provide shelter as well as food for winter wildlife.


During the summer, homeowners with an interest in wildlife nearly always think of water for their visitors. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to forget this vital resource in the winter. Providing water and preventing it from freezing will be much appreciated by your local wildlife – no matter what species.

If you have the resources, you might consider investing in a heated birdbath. Although it’s called a birdbath, other creatures enjoy drinking out of this liquid water source. Alternatively, you can pour boiling water over the ice in your birdbath or reservoir periodically.


Birdhouses make great shelters for birds. Make sure you put yours where it is safe from predators and sheltered from wind and rain. Also, piles of logs and rocks make good shelters for chipmunks.

With a little effort, you can make your backyard and garden into a wildlife-friendly area.

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