Thursday, April 3, 2008
By Miss Voodoo at 7:09 PM
Five Ways to Attract Nocturnal Animals to Your Garden
(This Guide is from the National Wildlife Federation mag's spring issue, and YES you know you want to attract the creatures of the night because they rock as much as creatures of the light ;) )
Like their daytime kin, nocturnal animals have a few basic requirements: food, water and places to rest and raise young. Here are some tips to help you attract species large and small:
*Grow the nectar plants that pollinators on the night shift prefer. Good candidates for moths include native night bloomers such as evening primroses, yuccas, phlox, sacred datura and evening snow. If you live in the southwestern United States, plant agaves and columnar cacti, including the saguaro, cardon and organpipe, for pollinating bats. To attract giant silk moths, grow the host plants of their caterpillars. Oak, sassafras, maple, birch, ash, willow and cherry are a few favored larval plants.
*Avoid pesticides, which can harm insect pollinators and other beneficial bugs.
*Keep your bird feeders filled—they’re likely to attract more than just avian visitors.Flying squirrels, opossums and mice are among the mammals that might stop by for a seed snack. Nectar-feeding bats in the Southwest are known to sip sugar water from hummingbird feeders.
*Offer a drink. Like many other animals, bats everywhere are drawn to garden ponds and other water features.
*Supplement nature’s offerings with man-made habitat elements. Buy or build a bat house (plans are available at Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org). Or construct a nest box for screech-owls (see the website of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, www.birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse, for proper dimensions).
NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program offers the information you need to make your yard inviting to animals during all times of the day. Once you create the haven, you can have your yard declared an official NWF wildlife habitat. To begin the certification process, visit www.nwf.org/backyard.