Savannah is a place with a plethora of beautiful wildlife. Given its proximity to the ocean, mountains, and deep-growth forests alike, the Hostess City and its surrounding areas are a sort of haven in the Southeast. We recently talked about all of the lovely birds you can spot from your Savannah home. And today, we’re going to talk about how you can help them (and other creatures and critters). Here are five small ways to support nature from your Savannah yard!
#1 Place Feeders and Houses in Your Savannah Yard
You might be surprised to learn how many different things fall under this tip! We’ve broken four top recommendations into two sections.
Provide a variety of seed, suet and nectar feeders for the birds. Winter is a good time to keep seed and suet stocked, as birds have a harder time finding other food sources during those barren, colder months. For nectar feeders, keep in mind that hummingbirds are most active in Savannah during the late summer months, because this is when they are loading up on calories to make their migrations!
Peanut and corn dispensers for squirrels and chipmunks can offer cute photo opportunities and prevent the ruination of your bird feeders. When these critters are able to fill up on the foods they prefer, they are less likely to destroy seed and suet feeders in your Savannah yard.
Bat houses are an incredible way to support nature! You might not be the biggest fan of these nighttime flyers, but they are a highly important part of nature’s ecosystem. And luckily for us, they will keep pest insects, like mosquitoes, moths, and beetles, in check. Sadly, they also reproduce very slowly—one baby a year in most cases. This is why providing bat houses, where female bats can safely raise young in warmth, can be a game changer.
Did you know that eastern bluebirds have been on watch lists in Georgia for some time? Unfortunately, these beauties are too gentle for their own good. Other bird species that are brood parasites leave their young to be raised by bluebirds, and the sweet darlings do it, leaving fewer resources for their own young. Additionally, invasive species like house sparrows and European starlings use the same nest cavities bluebirds need, but they are more aggressive and often outcompete them. What can you do? Provide bluebird houses! Many companies now make them to uniquely accommodate only bluebirds. You could also DIY one for your Savannah yard!
#2 Offer Sources of Water
It might seem like wildlife should have ample opportunity to find the water they need via rivers, lakes, rainfall, and more. And indeed, their populations do certainly survive this way. But if you want to support nature and have the chance to view it up close as a result, providing water sources is a good idea!
First Light Wildlife Habitats has a wonderful article with all of the best advice on doing this, but here are a few of our favorite water features.
- Bird baths (be sure to read the above mentioned article to learn about the ideal bird bath)
- Stones or corks in a shallow tray of water or in part of a bird bath for butterflies and honeybees to drink (a bird bath alone is too deep for them)
- A frog pond or, depending on the size of your Savannah yard, one big enough for ducks
#3 Imbue Your Savannah Yard with Native Plantings
When it comes to supporting nature, installing native plants might be the ultimate win. Not only does this tend to reduce water consumption and maintenance. It also gives pollinators who visit your Savannah yard the perfect food sources. Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation has a fantastic article to guide your plant selection: Five Plants Georgia Pollinators Love.
#4 Avoid Pesticides
This one can be tricky, we know. Sometimes a problem gets out of control and you have to resort to using these highly effective, yet harsh products. But when possible, avoiding the use of pesticides in your Savannah yard can be a great boon to local wildlife! Here are two resources to help you do it:
Organic Gardening Alternatives to Pesticides by Steven Spence of Science Connected Magazine
8 Natural & Homemade Insecticides: Save Your Garden Without Killing the Earth by Derek Markham of Treehugger
#5 Contribute to the Cycle of Life, With Compost in Your Savannah Yard
We know some people are rather horrified by the idea of composting, but when done right, it isn’t as gross as you think. There are only certain things you should throw on a compost pile. If you stick to that list (the EPA has a super helpful article), you can have a compost heap that isn’t stinky or attracting raccoons and the like.
But why, you might be thinking, should I bother anyway? Well, composting has a wealth of benefits for nature. First of all, it reduces landfill contributions. Second, it provides a wonderland for minibeasts. We know it’s a bit of a funny name, but minibeasts are small animals without internal skeletons, like millipedes, centipedes, ants, beetles, and more. And this brings us to our third reason to love composting—those minibeasts are a great food source for plenty of other wildlife.
As you consider each of these five small ways to support nature from your Savannah yard, remember that even the tiniest changes—a single wintertime seed feeder for the birds—are a vital contribution. When we take steps like these, we help wildlife to survive and thrive in our modern world. And we get to view their beauty through the kitchen window … it’s a win for all!