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How to Attract Wildlife to Your Property


September 1, 2022

Elk eating grass in meadow

Attracting wildlife to your property can connect you closer with the beauty of nature. Adding enticing features such as native plants, birdhouses, and ponds on your land is surprisingly easy to do and can liven up your outdoor space, too.

How to Attract Wildlife

Bringing in desirable species of local wildlife is easier than you think. Wild animals and insects can be lured with food, water, and shelter. Even if you live in the city, you can create a wildlife sanctuary by providing animals with these essential elements of survival.

Food

Understanding what animals eat is key to attracting them to your property. Each species of animal has unique food requirements, which can change throughout the year or depend on its stage of life.

Food sources for wild creatures can include fruits, nuts, pollen, seeds, and vegetables. Insects, attracted by native plants, can also be good sources of food for wildlife. Feeders can supplement natural sources of food.

Planting native plants in your garden is a great way to attract wildlife and provide them with a natural food source. We recommend planting native plants that bloom in different seasons to give local wildlife food throughout the year.

You may be unintentionally attracting wildlife by leaving out compost piles, trash bins, and kitchen scraps. This accessible waste can attract undesirable wildlife species such as skunks, raccoons, opossums, rats, and other wildlife.

Attracting desirable wildlife can have its downsides. Although you may be closer than ever to deer and birds, you can also attract their predators such as bears, cougars, coyotes, and falcons, putting your pets, livestock, and family at risk. For everyone’s safety, implement strategies to attract desirable wildlife while keeping undesirable ones away.

Find out how to protect your property from common predators with our blog post.

Be mindful when using and storing pesticides and insecticides on your property. Eating the chemical-laced foliage or even animal prey that contains pesticide residue can cause negative health effects.

Water

Wild animals need water for more than just quenching their thirst. Wildlife requires clean drinking water for numerous reasons, including drinking, bathing, hunting for food, or living in the water. Wild animals usually get their water from streams or standing water.

On your property, natural water sources such as rivers, springs, creeks, ponds, and wetlands can provide wildlife with suitable water. For landowners without these natural water features, installing birdbaths, fountains, ponds, or garden sprinklers can attract wildlife.

Are Wild Animals Already on Your Property?

If you want to find out if there are animals on your property, there are many ways to identify them. Binoculars and trail cameras allow property owners to get a closer look at nearby wildlife including at night, a prime time for nocturnal animals.

Here are a few ways you can determine if your property is home to a wildlife population.

    • Trails: Look around your property for any animal-made trails. Trails with heavier traffic may be more compact and firm than the surrounding soil.
    • Browse lines: Check your plants if they have been browsed by deer or rabbits. Look for branches and leaves that have been torn or shredded. Rabbits prefer to gnaw on bark, branches, and stems.
    • Eaten pine cones and nuts: Squirrels like to munch on pine cones and nuts. They are known to break open pine cones on a hard surface to eat the seed or a hickory nut for its “meat.”
  • Twigs and tree limbs along a stream: Beavers chew on the bark and cambium, leaving behind the cuttings.
  • Tracks: Look for animal tracks on soft ground. You can also use a light dusting of flour on the ground in an area you think is visited by wildlife.
  • Droppings: You can identify the animals in your area by their scat. Carnivores use their urine and feces to mark their territory.

How to Attract Deer to Your Property

Doe with fawns on nature trail

Setting up the right environment for deer browsing and protection can bring these skittish animals closer than ever before.

Grow food plots

Deer food plots, if you have enough land, can be used to plant their favorite foods such as clover, wheat, soybeans, and more. A food plot can be a great supplement for deer during winter. Providing them with mineral supplements can also help them with antler and bone health.

Practice hinge cutting

Deer may also be looking for bedding areas away from predators or bad weather. If you do not have these areas in your property, you can create some by leaving some parts unkempt.

Hinge cutting is an effective habitat modification that can help preserve more wildlife. This technique involves cutting part way through a tree and pushing it toward the ground to create a cover for a bedding area. Hinge cutting can also be used as a deterrent to prevent deer from wandering through certain areas and to create a pathway to maneuver deer to a different location.

When you hinge cut trees, you bring the tops of the trees down so the deer can reach and eat. Hinge-cut trees produce stump sprouts that deer can feed on.

Use deer attractants

Deer attractants in the form of food, minerals, and scents can attract deer. Feel free to use some of the attractants with other deer food such as corn to create a feeder that will attract hungry deer. Estrus scents are particularly beneficial with rutting bucks. Some states may not allow this option.

Purina Premium Deer Block 20 lb.

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Purina AntlerMax Premium Deer Block 33 lb.

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Purina Primos QuickDraw Deer Block Attractant 20 lb.

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How to Attract Birds to Your Property

Spotted towhee in tree

Creating a bird-friendly habitat is easy with the right natural foods such as nectar, seeds, berries, nuts, and insects. Set up a bird feeder, bird bath, nesting box, and you’re on your way to increasing your bird visitors.

Use natural food sources

Consider planting serviceberry bushes for birds to snack on. However, this can backfire. If you plan to grow any berries in your garden, you’ll need to cover it with netting to prevent bird feeding.

Use bird feeders

Bird feeders can be an excellent supplement to a natural diet. Plus, you can bring out your binoculars to catch a glimpse at the different species that fly by. There are different types of bird feeders for different sizes and species of birds.

For hummingbirds, they prefer to eat four parts water two in one part sugar if you don’t have a commercial seed available and it’s more budget-friendly simply boil the sugar and water to dissolve the sugar allow for it to cool and add it into your feeder just make sure to clean the bird feeders every week.

Nature's Nuts Premium Suet Basket

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Songbird Essentials Recycled Plastic Hopper Bird Feeder, Small

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Audubon Plastic Sunflower Bird Feeder

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Set up a bird box

Bird boxes are bird-friendly structures that can attract different species. Ensure the box has the right size, dimension, and shape of the openings to provide a resting place for birds.

Set up a bird bath

A basic bird bath can attract a number of species. Water must be replaced every two to three days in the summer and can require a heater in the winter.

Mini Bird Bath, Assorted Colors

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Plant native plants

Plant a new number of native plants to give your birds plenty of berries, nuts, seeds, and nectar throughout the year. Research your local plant ecosystem to replicate it at home. Evergreen trees and shrubs are excellent at giving wildlife cover all year round.

Don’t use insecticides

Avoid using insecticides on your property since bird species may feed on insects. Insects are an especially good source of protein and fat for young birds. Instead, rely on organic practices to support wildlife.

Set up a birdhouse

A safe and comfortable birdhouse with ventilation holes on top and drainage holes on the bottom can attract birds. Do not set one up with a perch, since house sparrows can sit on them and keep away other birds. Regularly check your birdhouse to ensure that no other critter is there taking up space.

Pennington Cedar Bird House

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Songbird Essentials Nest View Bird House

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Create nesting, roosting, and hunting areas

A brush-pile is your best friend. You can set a pile of large logs as a foundation below and layer on small branches above them. These are great places for birds to hunt, nest, or roost.

Watch out for invasive plants

Invasive plants can reduce your aerial visitors by taking the place of native species that birds prefer. Contact your local Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension System office to determine which invasive plant species to watch out for.

How to Attract Pollinators to Your Property

Bee in purple plant

As certain pollinator populations dwindle, you can do your part by either considering adding a beehive or planting specific species to build a pollinator garden. These native plants can attract pollinators to your land.

Pollinators help transport pollen from one plant to the next. They include bees, moths, butterflies, beetles, bats, and birds. Colorful and vibrant flowers and pleasant fragrances can attract animals and provide sweet nectar and pollen for them to feed on.

Plant flowers to bloom throughout the year

There are so many different types of pollinators. Planting a variety of flowers to bloom all year long can be the best way to attract different creatures. Having blooming flowers every season keeps different species coming back. Research which flowers your desired species prefers.

Go for color

Pollinators are attracted to certain shades of color. Planting perennials in patches of 3-5 or a group of similar-colored flowers can attract pollinators to your property.

Unlike humans, bees can see the ultraviolet spectrum. They are drawn to purple, yellow, and blue. Butterflies tend to like flat-topped flowers in clusters of yellow, orange, red, pink, and blue. Hummingbirds prefer flowers with tubular blossoms in shades of orange, red, pink, and violet.

Use aromatic herbs

Aroma is a major factor that attracts pollinators to certain flowers. They’re usually looking for flowers with a strong aroma. Plant herbs like lavender, oregano, sage, or basil, which have strong aromas, can also provide nectar to these creatures.

Know your native plants

We’ve mentioned the importance of planting native plants to attract wildlife. Native pollinators are more drawn to plants that they have evolved alongside. Identifying which plants they encounter in their natural ecosystem can help you attract pollinators and other animals.

Let them rest and nest

A lot of bee species overwinter and nest in the sand, soil, or any concealed cavities under the ground. Brush piles and dead wood can be nesting habitats for bees. Large screening shrubs can provide good shelter for pollinators and, in some cases, nectar, too.

Set up a bee and butterfly bath

All you need is a shallow tray, some sand or pebbles inside, and enough water to cover the sand. Butterflies will do a thing called puddling where they drink the muddy water to get essential minerals.

Practice pest control

Adding beneficial insects to your garden is a sustainable way to control pests without harming wildlife nearby. Some pollinators like ladybugs can even get rid of aphids for you, creating a balance in the ecosystem.

Ladybugs Packet, 500

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How to Attract Wildlife to Your Pond

Newt crawling across wet grass

Adding a pond of any size, whether a small garden pond or a big fishing pond, can not only attract wildlife but provide a contemplative space for you to enjoy nature. Here are a few ways to attract wildlife to your pond.

Ponds can attract frogs, birds, dragonflies, salamanders, and water invertebrates like pond skaters and water snails.

Creating microhabitats for your aquatic friends

Adding plants such as irises, duckweed, arrowhead, cattails, and sedge grasses can be a good food source and provide cover for wildlife.

Creating microhabitats within the pond that are shallow or concealed in some way can attract a lot of wildlife.

For example, digging holes and coves along the edge of the pond can attract frogs, turtles, insects, and other creatures. Similarly, a small island or mound near the shore can increase biodiversity.

If you want to attract frogs, create a shallow, bog-like area separated from the pond, so that the fish cannot swim into it and eat the frogs.

Add rocks, logs, and branches to the edge of the pond to provide wildlife with structures to survive. Use strong logs like cedar or oak and avoid ones that easily decompose like pine. The rocks should be angled toward the water, allowing animals to go in and out of the pond. Keep vegetation around the rocks to provide animal cover.

Turtles prefer to bask on flat rocks or log in a sunny location to regulate their body temperature. Insects, amphibians, and other animals can also rely on these structures for protection, sunning, and breeding.

A note on pond chemicals

Many pond owners use chemicals to clean and clarify pond water. However, these chemicals can harm wildlife if used improperly. Read the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions to determine if they pose a risk to wildlife.

See More Wildlife with Wilco Farm Stores

Ready to start your naturescaping journey? Find everything you need to bring wildlife to your property at Wilco Farm Stores. We help you create a better wildlife habitat with the supplies you need to provide animals with food, water, and shelter. Stop by in-store or shop online today!

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