Winter is a time of hibernation in the colder climates of the United States. What we think of as peaceful, soft, and as gentle as the snow falling, is ironically a season for increased wildlife foraging. Our green spaces are a source of both food and shelter for wildlife critters living nearby.
Although it’s important to be conscientious of nature and careful not to harm it, it’s also within our best interest to protect our land, and the green spaces that we spend so much time during the milder months cultivating and nurturing.
Diverse Plant Life is Key
Even though most of the population prefers not to venture out in the chilly weather, wildlife has no choice on the matter. They must find their food and make their shelter somewhere; it’s simply a matter of survival. Regardless of the size of your garden, it’s a benefit to the animals trying to live through the winter to offer a variety of plants.
This way, you will be able to watch nature unfold around you by peering out your window while boosting their winter survival odds.
Install Quality Deer Fencing
Purchasing and installing the highest quality and nearly invisible (to deer) fences from trust sites like deerfencing.com protects your cherished green space from the irrevocable damage that critters can do to survive, without harming them or the environment.
Wondrous Winter Birds
While some birds fly south to warmer climes for the winter, others do not. By adding fruit-bearing plants to your garden you’ll be providing birds such as robins, blackbirds, blue tits, goldcrests, and chaffinches, with a food source that will keep them happily tweeting and chirping outside your window all season long.
Depending on the length and intensity of your season, there are a number of plants you can consider to boost bird sightings over the winter.
- Holly bushes
- Festuca Gautieri (tuft-forming grasses)
- Common Teasel
- Malus Golden Hornet
- Silver Birch
Consider putting out a bird feeder (and keeping it well stocked) as the snow and cold in winter months can cover berry bushes and make it exceptionally difficult for birds to feed.
Resist cutting down bushes and trees that are still carrying berries, as they will continue to be a valuable source of food for birds.
Put out birdhouses. It will take a while for birds to become familiar with them being in your garden, but eventually, they will feel comfortable with their presence and use them.
Ground squirrels hibernate through the winter, but all of the other varieties do not. Squirrels such as the Eastern Gray Squirrel, American Red Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, and the Western Gray Squirrel make their homes in sheltered dens or nests in trees and mostly rely on their own fat reserves to get them through the winter. They are clever rodents and will make every attempt to make bird feeder food their own.
Rabbits also do not hibernate, and can often be seen foraging for food in the wintertime. They dig burrows (which are also sometimes called warrens) as their homes, and they feed on bulbs, grass, and bark. If their feasting is of concern to you and the bushes and trees in your green space, consider deer fencing around a particular area to help guide them toward other paths.
Although badgers prefer to occupy the countryside and woodlands, if necessary they will venture into urban environments to hunt for food. Being nocturnal, you might not notice their presence without a little “digging.” They will leave claw marks and paw prints in the soil.
Fox do not hibernate and are most active at dusk and dawn. They have a varied diet which includes insects, birds, rabbits, rodents, and won’t pass up tasty morsels in the garbage can if they are able to get to it. They also feast on winter berries, and mate in the wintertime, so although you might not see them foraging for food, if they are around, you will hear their howls and barks.
These prickly little animals prefer a pile of logs to shelter in, or some other overgrown area. If you would like to help see them through the winter, they like to eat sunflower hearts and dried mealworms. Always be sure to check leaf and log piles before setting them alight, as they could be hedgehog shelters.
Now that winter is nearly upon us, remember that we share our space with a diverse number of wildlife critters who are now, and will be for several months, foraging for food. Protect your garden and green space with the proper fencing, while also nurturing a symbiotic relationship between you and the environment.