Attracting Native Wildlife
Reduce or eliminate the uses of herbicides or pesticides. Plants form the basis of the food webs you are looking to establish (Fig. 1). Using chemicals in the garden on either plants or animals (e.g. snails or insects) not only affects the species you want to remove, but also affects other, non-target species. Therefore, by using chemicals, both plant and animal species will be affected – reducing the available food or potentially accumulating in the food chain to poison the very wildlife species you are looking to attract.
Fig 1. A simplified food web to demonstrate just how complex species interactions can be.
Pets, particularly cats, can have a profound impact on wildlife, from beetles to butterflies and Blue-tongues to gliders. The cat owner may be distressed by an occasional or even regular supply of “presents”. Cats are also renowned for unwanted intrusions into neighbouring properties, fouling yards, digging up the gardens as well as preying on wildlife. Cat owners can be encouraged to attach an elasticised collar with bells on it (often one bell will not do the trick and two or three will be required to prevent the cat from silent stalking). It is also recommended that cats are kept inside at night, from dusk till dawn – this period is when native species are most vulnerable and cats most destructive. A recent survey has shown that the average domestic cat will make over 50 kills a year, with some particularly effective individuals achieving over ten times this number. In addition to pet cats, many feral animals exist which can have a devastating impact on local wildlife. If you are a gardening/wildlife enthusiast looking to avoid unwanted intrusions or a cat owner who would like your cat to avoid certain areas in your own yard (e.g. a bird bath) – ultrasonic deterrents (e.g. CATWatch)may offer a solution. For information on CATWatch refer to our on-line shop.
There is a limited amount of literature available on attracting wildlife to backyards. Fortunately the quality and quantity is on the increase, making it easier for each of us to make informed decisions about out enhancing our Wildlife Gardens.