Protect a diversity of wildlife by becoming a backyard wildlife sanctuary manager
Hire wildlife guide, Carolyn Wilcox, as a private birdscaping consultant in your Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary. We will brainstorm on ways to attract desireable wildlife to your yard and dissuade nuisance wildlife like rats. Let's turn around the 3 Billion Birds Lost by helping resident and migratory songbirds find adequate food, water, shelter and space.
Mid-October - Mid-March - 3 hour consultations - Port Angeles $100; Sequim $125; Port Townsend $150
Transform your Backyard Today in order to Bring Birds Back!
You have the potential to attract a diversity of pollinators and arthropods, gastropods, worms, snakes, woodpeckers, owls, eagles, falcons, hawks, herons, hummingbirds, swifts, quail, gulls, doves, swallows, chickadees, nuthatches, flycatchers, creepers, finches, sparrows, kinglets, thrushs, wrens, bushtits, waxwings, warblers, bats, mountain beavers, raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, deer, and some less desirable widllife like mice and rats.
If you live closer to a wild place or live near water, you can additionally attract fish, aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, ducks, geese, grouse, shorebirds, kingfishers, vireos, tanagers, blackbirds, dippers, coyotes, hares, bobcats, cougar, fisher, weasel, mink, otter, skunk, elk, and more.
Although ultimately you are the wildlife manager at your home, we are happy to advise you on how to best to enhance the habitat in your yard. What is your vision for your backyard sanctuary and how can we assist you in improving your wildlife habitat?
Our destination is your backyard and neighborhood
Birdscaping experiences are customized, like our guided ecotours. However, instead of visiting sites far from home, we will visit your backyard, neighborhood, and nearby wildlife hotspots. Whether you want to attract winter birds, breeding birds, and/or migrating birds, we are excited to consult with you.
We will also assist you with backyard and neighborhood wildlife and plant identification as well as assistance with birding basics and ways to avoid attracting wildlife you don't want in your sanctuary (mice, rats, deer, racoons, starlings, etc.).
We will encourage you to tear out turf, tackle invasive plants, plant natives, add water features, and avoid pesticides
Turf, grass, and hardscaping provide very little wildlife habitat and removing these features, as well as removing invasive exotic plants, and avoiding pesticides and chemical fertilizer use is a great place to start resource conservation in your backyard.
Native plants are the best food source for wildlife because many insects feed on specific native plants and these insects are the bulk of most small bird diets, especially during breeding. Work to increase native plant species in your yard to 75%.
Wildlife need a clean water source that is safe and shallow for drinking and bathing. Deep fountains are not ideal for small birds. Shallow bird baths can be as simple as a plastic pan of water that is regularly cleaned and refilled.
Dead Standing Trees (also called snags) offer some of the best wildlife habitat
Dead standing trees provide cavities, food, and perches.
Big-Leaf Maples often have dead branches within their complex braching structure providing the same features as a dead standing tree within a living tree.
Red Alders are very short lived trees when compared to longer-lived conifers and are important snag trees.
Dying trees also provide great habitat features. Consider leaving dead wood in your backyard, both standing and in the form of log and brush piles.
Adding Nest Boxes in addition to Dead Standing Trees
Managed forests often do not have the big old snags that are critical habitat features for wildlife. Just like we are experiencing a housing crisis, birds are experiencing a snag crisis.
Avoid buying a decorative birdbox that is advertised as such. Instead build a nestbox according to NestWatch nestbox specifications or purchase a nest box from the Dungenss River Audubon Center in Sequim or Wild Birds Unlimited in Gardiner. Violet-Green Swallows and Chickadees are two of the most common cavity nesting birds that will gladly choose a nestbox placed in the right location at your house.
Each cavity nesting species has their own preferences and sometimes different species all want the same nestbox so give it time and have fun thinking like a bird.
Woodpeckers are keystone species
Woodpeckers like the Red-bellied Sapsucker provide habitat for other wildlife species through the creation of cavities in snags and through the small neat horizontal holes they drill in trees for sap. You can provide habitat in your yard for the red-bellied sapsucker by growing some of their favorite trees: western red cedar, fruit trees, and standing dead trees.
Unlike other woodpeckers, sapsuckers feed on the sap in living or dying trees.
Like other woodpeckers, sapsucker cavities are only used for one year and then are available to a myriad of other wildlife species including owls.
Dry food, clean feeders, catios, and window protection
Who doesn't want to view birds up close like this Pine Siskin pictured eating thistle at a tube feeder.
Keep in mind that different species prefer different types of feeders as well as seed, as well as these important birdfeeder considerations:
1) Does the birdfeeder have a roof to protect food from mold growth?
2) Can birds poop on the food and potentially spread disease?
3) Can Starlings and other invasive species access the food?
4) Can I easily access the feeder to clean and refill it?
Bird feed should be fresh and stored in sealed containers in order to avoid pantry pests.
It is estimated that cats kill more birds than any other threat. Consider creating a catio for your cat, which is essentially a outdoor space for your cat that protects small birds and keeps your cat safe from larger predators.
Suet can attract a diversity of birds in the winter
Not all suet is the same. Consider making your own suet or consider buying suet from Wild Birds Unlimited.
Suet is attractive to starlings and starlings are not a species we want in our sanctuary. Consider feeders like "The Suet Palace" that exludes starlings but allows for smaller birds like Dark-eyed-Junco, Song Sparrow, Bushtit, Black-capped-Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Townsend's Warbler, Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, and Orange-Crowned Warbler to enter and exit the feeder as they choose. Less common feeder birds like the warblers might even stick aroud all winter and feed on your suet.