Do you assist any wildlife (including insects) with anything such as food or shelter?

We spend a lot of time and energy every year helping our wild little friends. With the seasons changing I was wondering how many here help out the wild world. I will list some of ours below.

Songbirds - black oil sunflower seeds late fall through early summer

Songbirds - peanut butter, fall through summer

Songbirds - bluebird houses but are used by different species sometimes

Songbirds - birdbath

Orioles and hummingbirds - sugar water spring through Labor Day and occasionally an orange

Woodpeckers - peanut butter all year long and sometimes suet

Wild turkey - corn from an automatic deer feeder twice a day and another 2-4 times a day manually feed them from fall until the flocks break up in the spring. We go out an call "Turkey, Turkey, Turkey" and usually they come running and this year they started flying in. They will come 25-30 feet from us. They come point blank to the house and they are fun to watch.

Bats - built house but so far no residents.


Bass, blue gill, Koi (6 of them with names), triploid carp (sterile grass carp hybrid - 42 inches x 35 lbs.) - floating fish food 3-5 times a day in summer.

Painted turtles - built dedicated basking areas, check many times a day during egg laying season to find where nest are so they can be covered and protected from raccoons who will find them the first night. Then 3 months later we take off the covers and dig them up releasing them along the edge of the pond. I love watching them on sunny days line up on the floating poles. There can be as many as 40 at a time. They are my friends. They eat the floating fish food too.

Tadpoles/bullfrogs - build a smaller pond with just the tadpoles and no fish. Have to watch out for predators there - mainly water snakes.

Deer - mainly apples. We have about 100 wild trees that produce tons for them most years. We will gather some to save for them later in the fall or early winter.

Some creatures are not welcome and are promptly moved along.


Blue Herons


Two are not welcome and get moved to a nice new home.


Snapping Turtles

Two are dealt with by extreme prejudice.



Many other creatures pass by but we let them do their own thing. Skunks, woodchucks, ducks, opossums, squirrels, chipmunks and bunnies. Probably a few I forgot.

It is fun and a way of life I grew up with.

We feed the birds. Other animals also help themselves to what ends up on the ground. Squirrels, rabbits, voles, raccoons, skunks, chipmunks, deer, bears, possums etc. During winters with a lot of snow pack, turkeys will also show up. And of course hawks and eagles will feed on the critters causing the birds to hit the windows and then cats get the spoils. So many fricken bears lately we have to stop feeding the birds in the warm months.

I just leave a portion of the terrain free from human impact. When I occasionally visit the area, I see a lot of animals living there and they do not seem to be suffering from starvation.
Deer and roe are naturally active during the day, if they do not have to fear humans any more, so do hamsters and other animals.
And still, wolf, lynx, fox and other predators are there, but they do not seem to have any negative impact on the daily habits of other animals.

So the best humans can do to support wildlife is just to disappear.

songbirds yes there are some feeders in my yard.

Other wildlife no because it is
A. illegal in most areas
B. creates a dependency and they won’t forage on their own (hence A)
C. I don’t want wildlife coming on my farm and start looking for the other sources of food I raise

Turkeys are a federally protected species and I’m willing to bet if your state game resources heard you were feeding them to the point they have tamed like you bragging about they would have some nice pieces of paper for you that you won’t like.

I do have a 1 acre food plot on my back 40 but thats to hunt deer and hogs over not to feed them.

Feeding wildlife attracts more wildlife of all shapes and sizes. With the wildlife comes all the crap you need to clean up.

Sure I do.
Hegedogs have place to sleep in winter.
We feed squirrels, different songbirds, woodpeckers and so on.
Homeless cats are fed too.

I let nature take its course. What’s left of the wildlife around my place (after all the development in the last 8 years) doesn’t need any help from me. My wife puts out hummingbird feeders every year, and we have plenty of cultivated and wild growing attractants for them (bee balm, trumpet vine, etc), oh…and a bird bath. That’s about the extent of our wildlife charity. I am at war with red squirrels….red squirrel > dead squirrel.

The larger wildlife we have in San Francisco aren’t your typical rural wildlife so rather than assisting them I’d rather get rid of them. The raccoons, skunks, etc are a royal pain and extremely prolific. Hopefully the coyotes that live in SF can do something to keep their numbers down but they become accustomed to people so that has issues too.

Pigeons and seagulls are a plague of biblical proportion :rage: . Having a seagull swoop down onto your picnic table and stealing a hotdog out of your kid’s hands is something to see, and not in a good way. Far too many people here think it’s rewarding to feed flying rats pigeons which always irks me :person_facepalming:

some standard stuff:
hummingbird feeders, bluebird boxes, etc.

we tried bat boxes, but they prefer the eaves better.
a wren has built a nest on our deck the last four years.
a squirrel has a nesting spot in the roof corner of the deck.
rabbits nest under the deck.

the weirdest one: we leave small “shiny” things
on a stump in the woods so the crows can add
to their collection, which our trail camera verifies.

I added the "including insects" to the title line in case anybody is a beekeeper, aids butterflies or other things.

Bees and bats are on such a decline that it is a real concern.

There is a neighbor here that spends hours and hours saving monarch eggs then takes them home to raise. She releases hundreds of monarchs every year.

Last year there was a state request to remove all bird feeders because of some new disease. The request was later rescinded. So it is hard to say how serious it is or was.

My mom has a bird seed feeder.

She put it outside her bedroom window so that my mom and her cat can watch the birds eat bird seed.

It's entertainment, mostly for her cat, who is mesmerized by the birds.

Stray cats, I like them hanging around the property because they kill anything that moves, scorpions, mice, burrowing creatures. Rattle snakes don’t like them and prefer to avoid places where they are because the cats will kill and/or harass them, plus the cats are already eating all the little lizards, etc. that a snake would be searching for.

“”Cats, foxes, raccoons, turkeys, pigs, and guinea hens are natural predators of snakes. Having these animals on or around your property is an effective natural way to keep snakes at bay.“”

The wife has only fed one deer whom was orphaned as a fawn. The other deer chased it and would not allow it to feed with them at our apple trees. It was skinny, had a bedraggled, moth-eaten coat and limped. She would throw a few apples to it and fend off the others who tried to get them. We named it “Scruffy”

Well, last season Scruffy showed up with her own fawn both looking fine. She was the only deer who would approach to less than 30 feet from us. Her fawn observed that distance butt Scruffy would come to within 10-15 feet when she saw my wife.

We have a bat house butt the majority(~50) of them live in the vertical overhang at the peak of our metal roof. Hummingbird/oriole feeders are the only other assists we provide. Nature does it pretty well on her own.

We feed the birds very well all winter, and they eat bugs for us all summer. Our fruit trees are much cleaner!
The deer can take a flying leap - they have no respect for our fruit, flowers or gardens. I end up having to put electric fences around everything to keep them out.

Yeah, I’m like Doctor F’n Doolittle over here.

Usually get 2-3 loaves of bread per week for the birbs and sqirrels. The baldy one will come maybe 1’ away and “grab” with his arm to get the bread, but the furry one might come around later after I’m gone to abscond with bread I leave for the birbs.

As for them, mostly “chippies”, ’though pain-in-the-ass starlings will descend like locusts to inhale whatever they can find, and even fly off with the bread, usually just dropping it where no one can then get to it. Dumbasses.

Got a pair of mourning doves always making out and having sex on my patio-railing.

Also got a mockingbird that sits’n’waits for food about half the time. Saw 2 together when probably nesting, but only 1 close by either on the patio or off in the evergreen like 5’ away.

Occasional screeching bluejays like t’other day, raising a ruckus. Robins in spring, cardinals sporadically, like the bluejays. The occasional woodpecker and other weirdo birds like warblers and whatnot.

Made a little water-park for the beasties. Solar fountain thingy I picked up offa vipon/amazon, corner-cracked lid from a huuuuuuuge tupperware coffin that’s like an olympic-size pool for the birbs, with the fountain in the middle. Always gotta clean/flush it every day, ’cause they use it as a toilet as well as a fountain or pool. Nasty. Naaaaasty. Every now and again, gotta bleach it to get the greenery out, especially in summer. But they splash around in it like ducks, drink from it, stomp around in it for fun, so it’s well worth it.

In front, dry catfood for the cats, ideally. Sometimes leftover wetfood if these two inside don’t finish it. The oppossums and/or raccoons will gorge themselves on it if they get to it first. Rarely, a skunk, too.

Spring through fall is a pain in the ass with food up front, ’cause of ants and those “cockaroaches” (not, but some kind of ugly-ass brown beetles), so food only goes out at set times then pulled back in if no takers. One night I lit up the backyard and saw multiple dozens of those cockaroaches scattered around the backyard like something out of “Damnation Alley”.

Cats come and go. They’ll start coming around, but likely get smooshed the way these douchebags around here drive. So very few last beyond a season.

One of my inside cats was an outside cat for a few years ’til he got mangled in a catfight. Vet, Cone Of Shame, Penrose drain, dozens of stitches, yeah, he ain’t going out anytime soon, so nuh-uh, from now on he’s my inside cat (second).

My first just showed up one day out of nowhere, emaciated as in literally skin and bones, tried feeding him the second day, third day I took him to the vet and he actually became my first inside cat by a few weeks.

Wish more of them would or could stick around long enough to become subsequent inside cats. Two “twins” that came around were only around a few months, before disappearing one after the other. A new Red Cat came around sporadically only a few weeks before disappearing, too. Sad.

Wife helps them out.

Birdseed, suet and such for the birds.

Corn now and then for the deer.

Disappearing waterfall/creek for habitat - birds love it.

That’s actually big harm for them, not help. Bread contain salt, which is very bad for bird organism. Also is hygroscopic and molds quickly.

It never lasts long enough to get moldy.

But given how much they waste, I’m not about to splurge on seeds or nuts for ’em.

Did that. No more.

I tried to look up cheap ways to feed wild birds but didn’t really see anything useful, but I was surprised to see that someone can influence which birds they attract or discourage by which seeds they feed them, didn’t know birds were so particular but I guess it makes sense.

Before the feral cats started hanging out here I was thinking of feeding the roadrunners that like my yard, because they also kill rattlers.

I’m not a bird fan but roadrunners have always amused me and I was pleased to learn they eat much of what the cats eat in the way of pests.

We actively encourage snakes around the property as long as they are non-venomous. Copperheads are terminated with extreme prejudice because of our dog, but anything else that wants to hang out is welcome. I share my (detached) garage with a rather sizeable Eastern rat snake (every bit of 4 feet long) that I occasionally have to manually remove from the seat of the mower, and there are many others around. We have poultry so the feed attracts mice, and the snakes help keep them managed.

I have 2 food plots with wild plum and persimmon trees at the edge of our field for the deer and turkeys. Adding more every year, as my wife tends to eat all the persimmons…

Currently have a skunk in the garage as well, but once she’s weaned her litter, they are getting an all expenses paid relo. She’s friendly, but not something we need around the house.

We keep a flock of semi-free range guineas for pest control. They’re loud and dumb, but they have made a huge difference in the number of ticks since we got them. It’s also funny as all hell to have a small flock of birds following you around everywhere screaming what sounds like “buttcrack!” over and over.

Several bird feeders and suet blocks, and hummingbird feeders all spring/summer.

Two mature black walnut trees on the property keep the 3-4 giant fox squirrels we have well fed. Small in number, but they are so stuffed with walnuts that they look like furry weiner dogs.

We also planted a bunch of fodder trees - mulberry and willow mostly - to help cut feed costs for our meat rabbits. The local wildlife enjoys those a bit too.

Edited because I left out the insects…

We have 2 hives of bees to help with pollination, since I have planted well over 100 fruit trees, bushes, and vines over the last 4 years. Plan to split them every spring and add a couple more hives with the splits and then possibly sell them after I have what we want/need.

Lots of homemade mason bee nests made with bamboo tubes, etc. to help bolster the population of the native bees. I have them hanging from fence posts, old trees, etc. In the spring when the apple and pear trees are blooming, there are clouds of small bees working the blooms. I do everything I can to help those critters out.