Encouraging wildlife.

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,148
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McBride, BC
Seed heads are good for the seed eating birds.
There are lots of other bird speciess with different niche requirements.
They can't eat seeds, won't eat seeds and may not even recognize seeds as food! (Darwin's Finches).

Maybe what it takes are plantings to attract insects which, in turn, are bird food.
Ravens here are apex scavengers and outright killers.
Nothing we can do here for grouse in the winter, they focus on tree leaf buds for winter forage.

My strategy is to help the birds through the worst of the winter weather in preparation for the 2020 spring breeding season.
That means new feathers and energy & nutrient for egg-making.
Nesting success in my big spruce trees is highly variable.
Even so, the Ravens forage in the trees for eggs and baby birds.

If it weren't for the damn squirrels, I'd have suet & seed blocks out. Lots of birds feed on that for high calorie winter supply.
Everything from the great big Pileated Woodpeckers to the little Mountain Chickadees.
I do not believe that the Ravens go for the suet kinds of things.

In the city (IN THE CITY) the black bears thrashed all the bird feeders.
2m fences mean nothing but they don't want to mix it up with extremely territorial dogs.
The trail cam had caught some magnificent images of a rare Flying Squirrel a few times at approx 2-3 AM.
 
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Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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@slowworm
I think that sounds brilliant :D
If there were sufficient land nearby that could be left to grow pretty much with little interference, where a balance of food and birds, etc., could develop without help, then that would be excellent :) but there isn't and what open land there is is very swiftly colonised by birch, sycamore, willow and oaks. They're all lovely trees, but they do rather smother the understorey of light for most of the year. When a mature tree goes down the open light lets so much grow, and brings in so many more insects and the creatures that live on them too. Truthfully, if I didn't weed out tree seedlings then I wouldn't get out the door in a couple of years.
I feed the birds, and I'm pretty sure more live, and more varieties live, because me and folks like me, do so.
I do think it's area and site dependent, but here, I feed the birds and I encourage the amphibians and mammals that forage on the insect rich soil and plants that my garden produces.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
The primeval forests, the very few left we have in Europe, have a quite patchy wildlife population. Visible wildlife that is.
The only areas where sunlight can penetrate the tree canopy is where old trees have fallen, where the water is to soggy/ water logged or on flood plains.
Old oaks let through a bit of sunlight, but the leaves are not promoting much flower growth.

Lots of insects and ground dwellers in the tree shaded areas, as plenty of food in the fallen branches. Around oaks, the insects seemed quite plenty, with birds to match. Few birds in the shaded areas.
In the lunch open areas, dry ground or wet, lots of grasses, flowers, associated insects, birds, animals.

It is night on impossible to (re) create a natural environment, but I think every effort we can do, however small, is worth it. Even a couple of planters and win$ow boxes outside help.

Btw, the forest I described is the Bialowieza reserve in Poland which I visited years ago.
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
8,148
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McBride, BC
Forest development isn't static. It changes through seral stages until, if nobody messes with it, you see the climax seral stage.
Just how fast that happens depends on energy flow from photosynthesis and nutrient cycling.
Each seral stage is characterized by a predictable plant community and thus a predictable animal community.
Just because you don't live down the street from me does not in any way change that fact.
Where I live, you can see all seral stages at any time and district where you may look.

Apart from that, the land here is used like any other field for growing a crop. Trees. Pulp fiber. Crop with a 50-70 year rotation.
There's so much land, and a lot of it poor crop land, that you can run and jump and mess around to your heart's content
all over the place and never get disoriented in a spruce plantation. Animals don't live there.

What these irregular plots of wood fiber crop land have done is many fold.
Most animal communities thrive during seral stages with a lot of broad-leaf vegetation.
Many animal communities depend on "edges" as an essential niche requirement.

Where does it start? Come and see because the outcomes are quite different.
1. The patch got logged off. The harsh sunlight cooked the understory veg.
2. A forest fire cooked everything to charcoal. Some plants (Fireweed) love that.
3. The patch got burned but the salvage loggers took out as much as they could before it dried and cracked.
4. For whatever reasons, some little patches get scraped right down to the sand and gravel base. Buck naked.

Every lousy stinkin' foot print and vehicle tire compresses the soil and changes the niches forever.
Same as "foot paths" everywhere else on earth. Nobody lives on/in compressed soils.

I believe that you can encourage artificial shifts in seral stage composition.
Something self indulgent to enjoy for some years. Don't expect it to last.
Look forward to what the niche opportunities must be developing to replace what you can see now.
 
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Wander

Nomad
Jan 6, 2017
402
385
Here There & Everywhere
Well, I went for it.
I've thought about it for some time but just never got around to doing anything.
The other day I bought a bag of wild meadow flower seed and today I scattered it over the field.

I read the website kindly linked to above. It's too large an area to go over and de-weed. Although at this time of year the weeds (if they are weeds - aren't weeds just plants that aren't wanted? Well, I want them!) and grass has died back. Both the pack and the website said you can sow in either Spring or Autumn (the pack said Autumn was best) so today that's what I did.

It's done.
It's down to nature now.

I wouldn't expect them all to grow, but if some do that's better than nothing.
We'll see.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Well done, Wander! The grand experiment has begun. Keep notes on a calendar.
Look at both the plant and animal (insect, etc) diversity as time goes on.
Did the package say anything about perennials, self-seeding and so on?
 

Wander

Nomad
Jan 6, 2017
402
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Here There & Everywhere
The pack said all kinds of things.
It said something about mowing twice, and not collecting the cuttings so they self-seed.
And lots of other things.
But the area is about 2 acres and, quite frankly, that's too big an area for me to bottom about with all the instructions - de-weeding, loosening soil, cutting back, etc.
They've been scattered. Mother Nature will have to take care of it now - no one goes in and does all that to the seeds she sows (and yes - I know that very few of them actually grow because of that).
It's a true wild experiment. The only thing I've done is introduce the seeds to the land. I'm happy to leave it to fate from hereon in.
 
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Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
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W.Sussex
We might like it, but small scale rewilding is causing property prices to drop according to a news article I read today. I’m all for it personally, but as always there may be negative effects. And lots of trendies jumping aboard like it’s a new yoga position or bio yoghurt.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/27/rewilding-trend-mini-meadows-damaging-property-prices-neighbours/

There’s also this.

https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/growing-fears-rural-land-is-becoming-magnet-for-the-rewilding-dream-86925
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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@Nice65

That's really two different things though.

Re-wilding rather takes humanity out of the equation, and we belong in nature too.
I am not a fan of the block booking of huge straths of land being developed as some kind of rural idyll by people who don't live there, have no connections there, but simply feel that the area is suitable for their interpretation of how nature ought to be.

Encouraging nature simply helps it co-exist.

M
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
The Small Tortoiseshell think our house is an overwinter bug hotel at the moment - they've started looking for hibernation spots already!
 
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Nomad64

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Nov 21, 2015
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Just out of range
I've been showing folks how to make "covert" bug hotels, because the fancy "think dolls house" ones keep on getting vandalised.
Cool!

Would be interested in some plans/ideas - I have a load of old blocks of slightly woodwormy oak lying around that I was going to drill holes in but ran out of time for this year - what is best diameter and depth.

Also have loads of leftover canes which I was going to cut to (say?) 6-8” and put in a triangular frame.

Vandalism not an issue - just prefer natural looking to “twee”. :)
 

Deekin

Full Member
Feb 10, 2019
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Scotland
Cool!

Would be interested in some plans/ideas - I have a load of old blocks of slightly woodwormy oak lying around that I was going to drill holes in but ran out of time for this year - what is best diameter and depth.

Also have loads of leftover canes which I was going to cut to (say?) 6-8” and put in a triangular frame.

Vandalism not an issue - just prefer natural looking to “twee”. :)
We've done "log piles" and wired them with fence wire and staples to hold everything together as a unit. We've tried various sizes of holes and bored them in diagonally from the side rather than the ends. This is an attempt to make it not too obvious the log pile has a purpose. Here's a picture of something similar.

It's good to leave some space for small animals to gain some shelter as well. In my previous home, I always had a log pile for the same reason (bugs) and I didn't bother boring any holes, as the "guests" always found their own way in.
 
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Wander

Nomad
Jan 6, 2017
402
385
Here There & Everywhere
I went to the field today and whilst there I thought I'd take a peak beneath the iron sheets I laid.
There was nothing under two of them, but under the third was...



In fairness, I knew there was plenty of wildlife around already - mainly because of the numbers of buzzards, kestrels, and owls.
So I don't think I've 'encouraged' the wildlife so much as augmented the habitat.
Nice to see though.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,166
188
-------------
We might like it, but small scale rewilding is causing property prices to drop according to a news article I read today. I’m all for it personally, but as always there may be negative effects. And lots of trendies jumping aboard like it’s a new yoga position or bio yoghurt.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/27/rewilding-trend-mini-meadows-damaging-property-prices-neighbours/

There’s also this.

https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/growing-fears-rural-land-is-becoming-magnet-for-the-rewilding-dream-86925

Awsome, so by doing a bit of rewilding we also discourage property price obsessives from moving into an area?

Win win.
 

Deekin

Full Member
Feb 10, 2019
1,445
685
60
Scotland
We might like it, but small scale rewilding is causing property prices to drop according to a news article I read today. I’m all for it personally, but as always there may be negative effects. And lots of trendies jumping aboard like it’s a new yoga position or bio yoghurt.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/10/27/rewilding-trend-mini-meadows-damaging-property-prices-neighbours/

There’s also this.

https://www.fginsight.com/news/news/growing-fears-rural-land-is-becoming-magnet-for-the-rewilding-dream-86925
Interesting read.

There is a beautiful wooded/wildlife area on the edge of the town where I now live. The council have been approached by home owners who stay near this area requiring trees to be cut down, because the birds that nest in them make too much noise, and they don't want anymore bat boxes out up either, because they're scared of them.
 
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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,003
110
Devon
Speaking of bat boxes. I'm nervous about putting some up I gather I would have to get a licenced handler in if I needed to move the boxes in future. Anyone had to do this?
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,166
188
-------------
Speaking of bat boxes. I'm nervous about putting some up I gather I would have to get a licenced handler in if I needed to move the boxes in future. Anyone had to do this?
I've knocked up a few batboxes when I've had some spare time on a building site, put em up in the nearby trees.

Never even thought it might cause problems but I suspect I'd do the same again now I do know.