Backyard Wildlife on a Budget

Want to enjoy wildlife in your backyard, but think you can't afford it? It's easy to feel that way when there are so many fancy outdoor items for sale with large price tags. Although those items can be enjoyable, they are not a necessity. You really don't have to spend a lot to enjoy wildlife and the more natural an area is, the more likely wildlife will feel at home. Here are a few ideas that will attract birds, amphibians, insects, reptiles, small mammals and probably a few welcomed surprises.

Cost Saving Ideas:
§ Ask friends if they have any plants, clippings, pots, garden tools, bird feeders or other supplies they would like to get rid of or donate to you
§ Make your own bird feeder, bird house, bat house, or butterfly house
§ Create an in-ground or above-ground water bath from a plant saucer, garbage can lid, snow disc or other saucer-shaped item and line with small rocks or pebbles (using non-toxic glue)
§ Plant trees, shrubs, vines, annuals and perennials that provide natural food so less supplemental bird seed will be needed
§ Black oil sunflower seed supplies high quality food to the majority of backyard bird species
§ Chisel out the top one to three inches of an old stump for a birdbath
§ Make your own suet by re-using the plastic containers from previously purchased suet
§ Create toad abodes from old or broken pots
§ Shop thrift stores, garage sales, and check clearance shelves at name brand stores
§ Create rock gardens from rocks found on your property
§ Use water from downspouts, rainwater, rain barrels, and air-conditioning drips to refill birdbaths
§ Landscape with tree limbs and leave dead trees to provide food and shelter
§ Create brush piles from pruned trees, shrubs and vines
§ Look for ideas in garden and bird magazines
§ Check out field guides and wildlife books from local libraries or borrow some from a friend
§ Search the web for information and images on wildlife, bird, plant and garden topics
§ Decorate an old chair or bench and enjoy watching the wildlife that visit!