Anoles, Quails, and Maybe Cattails

Protecting Biodiversity

Biodiversity, the number of different species in a habitat, is important for any habitat in any biome.

Niche Habitats

Many people have heard of plastic in the oceans, extreme deforestation in the tropics, and poaching all over the world. While these issues are very important, there are also smaller, very specific habitats that also deserve attention. These are habitats that many people have likely seen, places that are given little thought. These habitats include hedgerows, farmland, transitional zones between forest and meadow land, and even roadsides.


Hedgrerows are common, divinding fields, yards, or other places like commercial zones. These narrow strips of vegetation are home to a large array of creatures. Unfortunately, hedgerows are becoming less hospitible to wildlife due to the following factors:


Farming has evolved and changed throughout the decades. Like hedgerows, a few factors have been causing farmlands to become less appealing to wildlife because of:

Transitional Zones

Transitional Zones look like a cross between a forest and meadow, with young trees and sometimes wetlands. Transitional zones are being threatened by:


While uninteresting at first glance, many roadsides are actually home to many species. Many country roads where I live are full of goldenrod, cornflowers, Queen Anne's lace, milkweed, and a variety of other plants. These plants look their best in September.

How to make your property more welcoming to wildlife

No matter where you live, whether you live in an apartment flat, a suburban home, or on a large farm, you can attract wildlife to your property and turn your lawn or unused patch of ground into a haven for plants and animals. Here is a table showing how to utilize different types of space:

How to improve your space for wildlife
Planting Native Plants
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You can look up what types of plants are native to your area, and then purchase them online or at a store. Audubon Society has a great database of native plants. It is a good idea to get a plant that will grow well in the space you have. Get sun-loving plants if you have a clear yard or sunny porch, and get shade plants for darker areas. Also consider the amount of moisture the plant needs. All of this information can usually be found on the back of the seed packet, or on a tag or label attatched to the plant. Depending on what you decide to get, you can attract different creatures. For example, planting milkweed will attract monarch butterflies and caterpillars. You can put native plants in an existing garden, find a good place in your lawn or field, or you can even keep one in a pot on a porch or balcony if you don't have a lawn.
Making a Brushpile
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If you have a lot of trees on your property, you can make a brushpile quickly and easily. It is essentially a pile of large sticks. Make sure you build the brushpile in an area where it won't be disturbed by lawnmowers, dogs, etc. Chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, and a variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians and bugs enjoy brush piles. Your visiters will vary depending on where you live and how much moisture and sun the brushpile gets. Brushpiles are best for an average yard or bigger.
Putting out a bird feeder
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Birdfeeders are easy to find and cheap to purchase. You will need to pick the right birdfeeder for your area. If you have a lot of "bully birds", like pidgons or starlings, you will want to buy one of the feeders with a cage around it, which will let the smaller birds through. Different food items attract different species. To attract hummingbirds, you can purchase a special hummingbird feeder. Never put food dye, honey, maple syrup, or corn syrup out for birds. These are bad for them. Instead, mix 2 parts warm/hot water to 1 part sugar. Depending on your choise of seed and the type of feeder, different birds will visit. Black oil sunflower seeds are the best for attracting a wide variety of birds. Orioles love oranges and berries. Safflower attracts mourning doves, finches, and cardinals, and squirrels don't like eating it. In addition to hummingbirds, other animals may sometimes visit a hummingbird feeder. Woodpecker species, some fruit loving birds like orioles, and even some species of lizards, like anoles, will enjoy visiting the hummingbird feeder. You can put feeders out on your porch or in your yard. You can also put them out on a balcony. There are many different styles and types of birdfeeders, so find the one that fits your space.
Providing a Clean Water Source
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Providing a water source can be done in a number of ways. Make sure to clean out water dishes and birdbaths reguraly to prevent the spread of disease.
This is an easy way to attract more birds. Birdbaths are easy to find and purchase, and some even come with water heaters to provide liquid water in colder climates. Make sure to change the water and clean the birdbath to prevent the water from becoming stagnent and bacteria-filled. In addition to birds, birdbaths may attract other creatures. If lyme disease is a concern, you can change water more frequently and add an air-bubbler to discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs in your birdbath. An added benefit to the bubbler is that birds are attracted to the sound of running water.
Puddling Dishes
These are fairly simple to make and in addition to native flowers and hostplants, can make your outdoor areas a wonderful place for butterflies and moths. A puddling dish is a shallow dish used to provide butterflies with hydration and minerals. You can watch a video about making a butterfly puddle here. If you want to raise your own butterflies, read my page here.
Making A Porch Pond
If you have only a balcony or a small yard, you can still have your very own little pond. You will need a largish pot with no drainage, and also some gravel. You can also place large stones and pieces of wood.
All living things need water, so provinding clean, safe water is a great way to make your yard more wildlife-friendly. Depending on what types of water sources you choose to have, different creatures will visit. Water sources work well anywhere outdoors in a yard, on a porch, or on a balcony.
Old Boards / Wooden Logs
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If you have some old boards or logs, you can put them in different places in your yard to attract cratures and encourage moss, fungi, and lichen growth. As the old wood decomposes, it delivers nutrients back to the ground. Remove old nails from your wooden boards, and also make sure to use boards without paint or varnish. During the summer or 2022, we took down our old wooden porch. The wooden planks sat in the yard for a while, and ended up attracting a surprising amount of garter snakes and redbellied snakes. I also found crickets, beetles, and isopods, which were likely what the snakes were after. Old boards and logs are a welcoming place to animals escaping from heat, but these will likely attract creatures no matter where you put them, as long as they are on the ground. Snakes, lizards, and various invertabrates love hiding underneath logs. Placing old logs or boards is a great way to attract invertabrates and smaller reptiles and amphibians if you don't have space for a brushpile. These attract the most creatures placed on the ground, ideally near lots of vegetation and leaf litter.
Composting To Improve Biodiversity
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Compost bins can be bought at garden stores or online. Compost piles work better if you will be composting a lot of organic matter. For both bins and piles, choose a space outside, preferably a space that gets some shade and doesn't already have a little microbiome living there. You will want to avoid crushing any native plants. Move any stones or other large objects from where you will start your pile or bin. Old dead leaves are a great way to start a compost pile, and are also a great way to mark where you wil put your compost. Bins are a bit easier, you can put one near your animals or your garden.
Refer below if you don't have much experience composting. While composted vegetables, herbavore feces, and dead leaves smell lovely, composting the wrong things will make a mess, and attract unwanted pests.

What You Can Compost

Old Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables that have gone bad can be composted. To avoid attracting any animals that can leave a mess or prey on your livestock, spread the decaying plant matter throughought your compost pile, and rake compost over it. With a bin, make sure animals can't get in at all.
Grass Clippings & Weeds
Clippings left over from mowing your lawn can be composted, as can weeds from your garden.
Cardboard & Dead Leaves
Both are easy to compost. Make sure to remove anything like packing tape or anything plasic from boxes. Ripping cardboard will help it to compost faster.
Droppings From Livestock
Droppings from livestock are great for your garden, but must be composted first so that your plants don't get burnt from the high levels of ammonia. An exception from this rule is alpacas.

What You Must Never Compost

Dog & Cat Feces
Any animal that eats meat has feces that are much more putrid than that of livestock or birds. Avoid composting this.
Anything Treated With Pesticide, Herbicide, or Fungicide
Anything with these chemicals will kill off the decomposers. Decomposers like fungi and bugs will avoid your compost if it contains any of these.
Meat, Processed Foods, and Cat & Dog Food
Just don't. Rotten meat ond processed foods have a smell like nothing else. These will attract pests. Fermenting cat and dog food are even worse than rotting meat.
A healthy compost pile will be home to a variety of fungi, earthworms, microbiota, isopods, and springtails. Deer might visit your compost pile to eat discarded vegetables. This is usually harmless. If you live in an apartment or subdivision, a compost bin is the best choice. Compost piles work well for large yards or farms.
Making a Toad Abode
How Attracts Works for
This is a wonderful way to recycle cracked terracotta pots, although other pots can also work. However, terracotta is the best choice as it is porous and absorbs water. Bury an old pot about halfway into the ground, somewhere the toad abode won't be disturbed. You can also plant moss near the toad aboad, and place a shallow dish nearby. Adding moss and a dish is a great way to provide moisture, which is extremely important for amphibians. In addition to toads, these little homes may attract news, salamanders, small reptiles, or invertabrates. These can be placed in little out-of-the-way places around a yard, or in a flower garden.
Container Gardens
How Attracts Works for
Container gardens are a wonderful way to attract wildlife, even if you live in a story-high building. Containers in a variety of shapes, colors, materials and sizes can be found online or in gardening stores. Just like large gardens, you can choose to grow native plants, shade plants, succulents, butterfly plants, or vegetables. Depending on what you plant, you can attract different creatures. Try planting amaranth for bumblebees, or agastache flowers for hummingbirds. A succulent garden may attract pollinators, and planting dill in a vegetable garden will attract swallowtail butterflies and larvae. Container gardens are a great way to add life to a porch or balcony.
Installing a Bat House or a Birdhouse
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These can be purchased, or you can find instructions to make your own. Depending on where you live, your bathouses may attract a variety of bat species, and somebirds will also build nests on the roof of the bat house. Different types of birdhouses attract different species of birds. These can be installed to a house or a tree, or mounted on a stand. Bathouses usually do better when they are attatched to a wall of some sort.

Other Ways To Help

Involve your friends and family

Whether it is by building toad shelters with your kids, or sharing clippings and seeds of native plants with others, involving others is a great way to spread appreciation for nature. See if you can involve your neighborhood. This neighborhood planted native plants in their yards and were able to save 15 million gallons of water in just one year. By reaching out to others, you can make new friends while helping cultivate a love and interest in wildlife and in keeping your local habitats healthy and beautiful.

Involving Kids With Nature

Anoles Quails and Maybe Cattails Anoles Quails and Maybe Cattails

Further Information

Under Construction

This is organized by region, so you can find information on species near you.

The United Kingdom





The United States



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