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Create a stress-free backyard habitat

Jim and I always welcomed all animals to our property, even when some neighbors probably thought we were making a big mistake. Our plan was to offer food, water, cover, and space, the well-known requirements for a backyard wildlife habitat.

We felt that our four mostly-wooded acres bordering on Cedarbush Creek would provide sufficient room for a variety of native mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Included in this menagerie would be native and honeybees, butterflies, moths, and various other insects.

The plan worked for several years. Birdbaths and feeders were located on different parts of the property. The hummingbird feeder was cleaned and replenished on a regular basis.

Bluebird boxes were strategically placed away from overhanging limbs, although the first spring we lost a clutch of eggs to an Eastern rat snake. We didn’t realize how far a snake can stretch from a tree branch to reach a tasty treat of bluebird eggs.

Every day, Jim placed corn and peanuts on a f...

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