Book Review:: Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife

Attracing Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife

Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife

National Wildlife Federation Attracting Birds, Butterflies & Backyard Wildlife is a great book by David Mizejewski, published by the National Wildlife Federation. It’s aimed at home owners, but has relevant design information for many aspects of habitat. You won’t find any fluff in this book, which I appreciate, it’s short and to the point. Topics that I struggle to summarize are explained here clearly.

The chapters are broken up to the major habitat needs: food, water, cover, place to raise young with a couple other chapters including habitat basics, design and the human dimension. For the home owners, there are family projects such as making bird feeders, an interesting birdbath stump and even how to compost.

The book promotes natives while warning of the dangers of invasive and exotic plants and clearly lays out all of the reasoning. For example, some native wildlife species depend on only native plants such as Monarch butterfly caterpillars and their dependence on milkweed.

Some other key ideas highlighted are providing food year-round, the role of predation and the importance of keeping feeders and birdbaths clean. There are instruction on how to create various water sources such as a stormwater wetland, wildlife pond and even container water gardens.

In the cover chapter he talks about the benefits of native plants as cover, the importance of plant layers and dead vegetation and natural cavities. There are directions on how to create a brush pile, rock walls and an amphibian house.

The raising young chapter highlights nesting for birds, but also out-of-the-norm wildlife such as orchard mason bees and herptiles.

This book will offer a great amount of information to anyone new to designing wildlife habitat and it’s a great introduction.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of NATURE OBSCURA: A City’s Hidden Natural World, coming Spring 2020 from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, ParentMap, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction.

Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.
Kelly Brenner
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