Fall is nature’s time to provide the food that will sustain wild animals through the winter. The summer growing season has produced a virtual cornucopia of delectible wild foods like poke, persimmon, and sumac that will provide a bounty of food for deer, wild turkeys, birds, and other wildlife.
Want to know how you can help feed wildlife this winter? Let your garden go wild.
Leave undisturbed wild areas in your garden – piles of leaves or brushwood can make the perfect nest in which animals can hide, rest, and hibernate.
By leaving the task of tidying your garden borders and shrubs until early spring, shelter can be provided for insects throughout winter.
The seeds of summer’s flowers can provide extra food for birds, mice, and opossums.
If you have a compost heap, this will become a welcome habitat for toads, salamanders, and skinks to overwinter.
For the last few decades, box turtle numbers have been declining. Althought they’re not endangered, their populations have been plummeting throughout their range and they can’t continue at this pace.
An Eastern box turtle may have just one to three surviving babies in their entire lifetime. Individual turtles have a small range, just a few acres in size, so if just a few are picked up and taken home as pets, the local population may not recover for several decades.
Box turtles don’t do well in captivity except with expert care, so bringing one home won’t likely go very well. Captive turtles succumb prematurely to infection and malnutrition-related disease, often within just a few months of captive life.
So, please, the next time you see a box turtle in the wild, leave it alone, other than to help it cross the road (in the direction it’s going). Keep our native wildlife safe!
I just learned something that I never knew about raccoons. Those cute, little masks that make them look like four-pawed bandits actually serve a purpose. By absorbing moonlight, starlight, and artificial light around the raccoon’s eyes, the masks reduce glare, allowing them to see more clearly at night.
Photo by Maureen Seibert
Some raccoons are “palefaces,” and have white masks. This is a genetic mutation, more common with raccoons in coastal areas.
Animals have an amazing ability to evolve so they can be better equipped to survive in their environment. It is survival of the fittest, after all!