About

Monarch caterpillar on common milkweed in the Ottawa Valley Aug. 2011
Monarch caterpillar on common milkweed in the Ottawa Valley Aug. 2011

This site is dedicated to supporting local wildlife in residential and business areas in Canada. It documents the ongoing and ever-changing web of life in our yard near Ottawa, Ontario, and other wildlife-friendly yards across Canada. The aim of this website is to demonstrate how all Canadians can attract, support and enjoy wildlife, even in the smallest spaces, taking in the beauty and mystery of nature in our own backyards. All photos were taken on our property except the showcased galleries of other Canadian yards.

Water is critically important to wildlife. This is the first step to attracting birds, butterflies, toads and other local animals to our yards. It must be fresh, clean accessible and not too deep. Pedestal birdbaths and fountains add architectural structure and curb appeal to your property. Ground level birdbaths and shallow ponds with easy access, cover and escape routes (logs and/or rocks) will attract a wide variety of wildlife, adding to the enjoyment and appreciation of your outdoor world.

Common milkweed blossom (Asclepias syriaca) East Border Garden 2015
Common milkweed blossom (Asclepias syriaca) East Border Garden 2015

We can help recreate habitat by reintroducing native plants and trees to yards in neighborhoods where natural habitats have been destroyed. This might mean planting native plants on your property, or allowing wild asters, goldenrods, common milkweed, fungi, and native shrubs and trees to take hold in designated areas in your yard. Native plants provide food, cover and shelter for the wildlife, enabling them to survive and thrive in a given area, supporting insects, small amphibians and reptiles all the way across the food web to birds and larger mammals. This can be accomplished without compromising the design aspect of your yard and gardens – in fact, it can actually enhance it.

Providing for wildlife might also mean allowing a snag (dead tree) to remain standing for the woodpeckers who use these as a source of food, or other birds who will use them as a place to nest and raise young. It could mean building a brush pile for cover, or leaving fallen logs as nurse logs. It could also include raking your leaves into your gardens as mulch, and into “out-of-the-way” areas under evergreens and hedges to protect butterflies and moths in whatever life stage they are in as they wait for spring.

We encourage you to share the experiences you are having or creating for local wildlife in your area.