Wildlife
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A Lush Yard and Healthy Birds

Tip #4 in a series: Go easy on the chemicals
Published: May 1, 2006
There is a strange irony in many yards, gardens and private grounds today. On one hand, yard and garden enthusiasts love their grass to be green, their gardens to be lush and their flowers to be beautiful. On the other hand, people love their bird feeders to be crowded with colorful, musical songbirds.
   
The problem is that yard care today often calls for chemicals to
control weeds, insects and other pests. Unfortunately, many chemicals can be toxic for animals, especially birds. The last thing anyone wants to do is harm the birds they’ve worked so hard to invite!
   
So, can you have a thriving bird population and a great yard and garden? It may not be as difficult as you think. Just follow a few simple guidelines:

•  Try to care for your yard and garden without using chemicals. Try compost and/or manure instead of fertilizer. And try utilizing natural insecticides such as garlic or soap spray. You can even purchase and disperse helpful insects, like ladybugs, to control harmful insects, like aphids.

•  If you do need to use pesticides, herbicides or fungicides in your yard, always be sure to closely follow the directions provided by the manufacturer. The packaging often will give you tips on making the application as eco-friendly as possible. It’s especially important to keep any lawn application from washing into rivers or lakes. Consider whether a perfect lawn is really necessary at the cabin.

•  The golden rule: Don’t use chemicals in areas where birds and outdoor pets feed, bathe or rest.
    
In other words, you can still have a green yard and fill it with birds and other wildlife. l

For more information:
“6 Steps To Turn Your Yard Into A Sanctuary For Birds,” www.backyardbirdcare.org. A philosophy created and endorsed by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry, www.wbfi.org.
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