How to Help Wintering Wildlife

A happy holiday season to everyone from Rain Control Gutters!

The winter season is coming closer every day, and officially, it will hit on December 22nd. Although historically, snowfall is a rare occurrence here in Florida, it can still get pretty cold. As you winterize your backyard and get ready for the longer nights and shorter days, don’t forget to put in a little effort towards migrating butterflies and birds that have come to live for the season.

Provide Water

Finding fresh water is a challenge for a lot of birds, small animals and insects. Whether it’s spring, summer, autumn or winter, you can give your backyard visitors a helping hand by providing them with a fresh drink. Consider installing a small pond if you have the time, space and resources. Smaller ponds offer moisture to amphibians and reptiles, as well as to birds and small mammals, who need these sources in order to survive.

For smaller yards or smaller budgets, a bird bath is a great alternative. Just be sure to go out and refill it occasionally, especially if temperatures drop below freezing.

Plan to Have Native Plants

There are a lot of plants native to the state of Florida that will attract wildlife by providing cover and a habitat. These species have best adapted to Florida’s climate and soil conditions, growing in harmony with the animals around them. Many of the flowers and fruits of our natural plants provide food for species of animals, which is always a better alternative than providing human food for them.

It’s also a good idea to plan some shrubs or trees near to where you have your feeders. During the winter months, small animals and birds are susceptible to predation. By providing them cover, not only will they have shelter from the cold, but they’ll also be given some places to hide from predators.

Build a Brush Pile and Provide Snags

If at all possible, consider building a brush pile for birds and other small mammals who come into your yard. Trimmed tree limbs, bushes, and piles of leaves provide homes for animals seeking shelter from wind and storms.

A snag is nothing more than a dead tree. If you have one on your property, consider leaving it. These are often wonderful homes for all sorts of animals, including small birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects.

Provide Houses and Feeders

The loss of habitat is the greatest threat to wildlife. You can help mitigate some of this damage by providing birdhouses, bat houses and nesting boxes for them. Depending on how big you build the box and where you put it, you’ll attract different specimens.

There’s some great information for building a bat house at the Bat Conservation International website.

If you’re interested in getting the right kind of bird house built or made, be sure to visit the Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology.

Even if you can only implement a few of these suggestions, you’ll be doing wonders to help over the coming winter months.

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