One of the main rewards of nurturing a natural habitat, vs. a sterile manicured lawn with a few exotic invasive shrubs, is watching a growing wildlife diversity move in, drawn by their intended native species of plants and prey, as it was meant to be.
Today a large, beautiful hawk perched on the fence right outside my window, probably attracted by small critters that were in turn drawn by scraps I throw out there. (Sorry about the poor photo quality through the screen.) The “craven” gang (crows posing as ravens) circled close by, defending their food territory, which “coincidentally” keeps moving closer to my window! Sometimes at night I hear owls right outside in a tree. I know just out of sight are larger native mammals who feel more at home here now, which makes me happy.
I feed all the birds during the winter, plus maintaining water sources, and compost, so the species diversity keeps growing. I love the large flocks of bluebirds that thrive here all year. It’s a good sign. Allowing native trees and plants to multiply, and leaving dead leaves alone, also provides all these critters with additional cover, nesting materials, insects, seeds, berries, and other foods, as well as organic material for returning nutrients to the soil. In turn, larger native predators are provided with cover and food sources.
This is how we heal and restore biodiversity and the environment, one yard at a time. The more yards people return to a more natural state, the more species are rescued from endangerment and extinction, a very real threat, especially with climate change. All these local native species were intended by nature to interconnect and interact as a complex, healthy network, which in turn directly benefits us in crucial ways. The added bonus is the incredible natural beauty of sustainable, low-maintenance surroundings. The less we interfere, fuss, overwater, or chemicalize, the more nature will restore itself to a healthy balance. It actually improves with a little neglect.
While all this action is going on right outside my window, we’re doing what any sensible mammals do in winter, semi-hibernating. Misu approves of this message. Sometimes we eat a homemade pizza by E. And plan our spring gardens. And dream of a more sane, democratic union.