We are blessed with a tremendous number of neighbours in all shapes and sizes here at the Cape Cottage. Many of them have wings.
Several species of seagulls soar past the windows and ride the air currents throughout the day. Bees and goldfinch feast on Canada Thistle seeds in late summer. Chickadees, sparrows, swallows, ducks, Great Blue herons, turkey vultures, crows, robins, hawks… the list goes on and on. Deer roam the lawn and berm at dawn and dusk. Coyotes may wake you in early-morning darkness with their yelping and yammering.
These creatures that enrich our lives are important to us. Last year we applied for and received certification from the Canadian Wildlife Federation for our wildlife friendly habitat.
By joining other Canadians who make their gardens wildlife-friendly, we are helping to increase suitable habitat for local and migratory wildlife, some of which may be species at risk. As more land is developed for human activities, each wildlife-friendly garden is a haven that can act as a stepping stone between larger areas of habitat, essential for many species’ survival.
By recognizing and protecting food sources, in addition to planting more in the landscape, wildlife will continue to flourish on this land. This spring, small spruce and fir seedlings were transplanted from the roadside to our slope above the salt marsh. As they grow they will create more shelter and food for songbirds.
Last year, multiflora rosebushes were dug from the wild and planted along the path to the beach. Although considered by many as an invasive nuisance, this plant has a lot going for nature-lovers. An article on Audubon sings its praises, including the fact that it has a sensational fragrance in bloom.
“Grouse, wild turkeys, cedar waxwings and robins are especially fond of the hips. Leaves and hips are consumed by chipmunks, white-tailed deer, opossums, coyotes, black bears, beavers, snowshoe hares, skunks and mice. Cottontails gnaw on twigs and bark. “The hips are especially important as winter wildlife food when other high-nutrition foods are unavailable.”
Another factor is its apparent tolerance of being planted next to the ocean – judging by how slips survived their first winter, followed by impressive new growth.