Out beloved cotton state, home of a lot of mammals, insects, birds, and amphibians. Alabama is home to various different species of native animals. Almost anything from armadillos to ungulates. In this article, we will discuss how you can help the animals in Alabama.
How to help insects in Alabama
Alabama is blessed with a lot of insects in many different shapes and forms. Insects are often forgotten and referred to a nuisance. However, insects is vital for both biodiversity and the existence of mankind. If the bees were to go extinct, the human population would disappear within 60 years. Therefore, it’s important to do whatever it takes to help our smaller friends.
There are some ways you can help the insects, and make their lives easier. I will guide you through some of the tips below. The best way to help insects is to choose organic, stop using pesticides and start inviting insects to your yard.
Invite butterflies to your yard or balcony
An easy way to help the butterflies in your area is to provide them with the same thing you require. Food, a place to rest and shelter. By providing them with native plants, a butterfly house, and a shelter you give them a much better chance to survive and pollinate more flowers. The most common butterflies in Alabama are the Monarch Butterfly and the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
Invite butterflies by offering them flowers they like.
Butterflies pollinate plants as their main food source. So why not give them some really good native Alabama flowers to pollinate? There are three great native plants that will attract butterflies and make your garden or balcony more beautiful. You can plant Butterfly bush, Lantana, and Tropical milkweed to help attract butterflies in the summer. However, the tropical milkweed can be planted in the fall.
Invite insects by offering them a place to stay.
Insects need a place to, rest and regain strength after a hard day flying from flower to flower collecting nectar.
A great way to invite and help insects is to install an insect hotel. There are no limitations on how many hotels you can install. There are excellent inexpensive prebuilt hotels you can buy, but there’s also the opportunity to build one yourself. Most prebuilt insect hotels have different spaces for different insects. The bees prefer bamboo straws, ladybugs prefer pinecones, and butterflies narrow crevices.
How to invite cockroaches and earwigs
The cockroach, earwig, honeybee, and mayfly are very common in Alabama and most people have encountered them. However, many people would consider these insects to be disgusting vermins and want to remove them. Both cockroaches and earwigs are excellent workers when it comes down to feed on decaying plant materials and animals. Afterward, they nourish growing plants, helping the circle of life. The best way to invite cockroaches and earwigs is to start composting. If you have your own compost, you provide life to so many animals and they help you back in the form av excellent soil.
How to invite honeybees and mayflies
Honeybees prefer some flowers more than others. Bee balm, white wild indigo, purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan and joe-pye weed are perfect for flowers to grow if you want to increase the number of honeybees in your yard.
In addition to the flowers, you can install an insect hotel. Honeybees prefer to rest n bamboo straws or other narrow holes, like face bricks. Before you start planting flowers and installing your insect hotel, plan out where you put them. It would be best if you put them close to each other, in a sunny place, where there isn’t too much wind.
Mayflies don’t live for long, but when they do they feed on plant-based materials, but also on some insects. An easy way to attract mayflies is to install a light. Mayflies and moths are attracted to light. Birds will see the light as a buffet table.
How to invite lacewing
If you ever had a garden that failed due to insects, I’m pretty sure aphids are to blame. Lacewings are the aphid’s greatest enemy. You, the lacewing, and the environment would benefit from having lacewings in your garden. Lacewings are attracted to nectar and pollen. You can plant coreopsis, cosmos, yarrow, goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace, and marguerite daisies to help to attract lacewings.
How to help birds in Alabama
Alabama is blessed with a large bird population with many different species. Since helping birds don’t require much effort, it’s easy to be helpful. Just like people, birds need the same things. Food, water and a roof over their heads.
It’s much easier to help the birds in Alabama if you know what type of birds there are. The most common birds in Alabama are Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, Northern Mockingbird, Carolina Wren, Blue Jay, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, American Crow, and Eastern Bluebird.
What do the most common birds in Alabama eat?
Now, when you know what the most common birds are, you only need to know what they like to eat.
|Safflower seeds, white milo, and black oil sunflower seeds
|Grass seed and flower seeds
|Seeds, insects, and bugs
|Suet and peanuts
|Suet, bark butter, peanuts, and sunflower seeds
|Sunflower seeds, suet, and peanuts
|Insects, spiders, seeds and berries
|Insects, amphibians, and eggs
|Insects and berries
Most birds in Alabama prefer seeds. A normal wild birdseed bag is fine, as long as you focus on a mix made for the southern region like this one.
What bird feeder works the best?
Most of the common birds in Alabama are in a smaller shape which makes it easier to choose a bird feeder. Before you purchase a bird feeder, you might want to consider if you plan to add a shelter for them as well. Otherwise, a combined feeder and shelter works well.
Since you are dealing with smaller birds, a tube bird feeder would be ideal. Tube feeders have plenty of small poles for the birds to sit on and the same amount of holes to get the feed from. I’ve used Ointo Garden’s bird feeder for a long time and have noticed the best way is to place one feeder on the front of the house and the other in the backyard. I’m using these.
Which are the best bird shelters?
Regardless if you want to add a bird shelter to your existing bird feeders, or purchase a bird shelter that also works as a bird feeder there are some things to consider.
You can either go with a classic wooden birdhouse or with a hanging teardrop-shaped house made from natural fiber simulation. The latter is getting more popular and I can understand why. The small resting huts are both inexpensive and great for shelter. However, not all birds fit in the small huts, where bigger birds require a larger place to rest.
My advice would be to offer a couple of huts for the smaller birds passing by who need a temporary rest. But also, provide the birds who build their own nests with building materials.
Birds who build their own nest use different types of materials. Depending on the type of nest, the material also changes. See the table below what type of nest every bird uses and what you can provide for materials. You can place the material in a bird suet feeder and hang it in a tree. The materials will flutter in the wind and attract the birds.
Alabama birds, their nests and what materials used
|Thin twigs, bark strips. and grasses
|Grasses and thin twigs
|Shrubs and trees
|Weeds, grass, and leaves
|Twigs, leaves, and weeds
|Twigs, grasses, weed, and bark strips,
|Cup inside cavities
|Damp leaves, moss, and grass
|Strips of bark
|Medium-sized twigs, pine needles, weeds, and soft bark
|Grasses and pine needles
Twigs can be placed close to a tree, and smaller chips, barks, and grasses can be put inside a suet feeder.
How to help mammals in Alabama
Alabama is home to 62 native mammals. Anything from small mice, to the big American black bear. A lot of beautiful mammals can call Alabama their home. The fox squirrel, the armadillo, the short-tailed shrews, and eared seals.
If you encounter an animal in the wild in need of help – contact Alabama Wildlife Center on 205-663-7930, ext. 2.
Feeding wildlife isn’t allowed in Alabama, for some exceptions. Baiting deer on private land or feeding birds for example. However, there are ways to help the mammals in Alabama in other ways.
AWC (Alabama Wildlife Center) does a lot for the animals. With their expertise and experience, they are the experts on how to help the most. If you want to help animals, check their wish list and see what they need the most.
How to help the American black bear
Many people would consider black bears to be dangerous if you were approached by one. However, attacks from black bears are rarer than attacks from other bear species. There’s a risk you will encounter a bear, but there are some ways on how to reduce that risk. If you would spot a bear on the side of the road, consider keep moving forward and don’t stop. If you are going on foot, walk in the opposite direction, but always keep an eye on the bear. Do not run. If the bear would approach you, act boldly and shout, and yell. Even throw things at it. Your goal is to intimidate it and make it flee.
Be bear aware when hiking.
Regardless if you are out hiking or camping, there are some things to be aware of and respect.
Bear-proof your campsite and keep it attractant-free. You can do this in four ways.
- Don’t leave food in your tent.
- Always close the tent flaps so bears can’t simply walk in.
- Hang your food pack from a tree, atleast 10 feet of the ground.
- Store your food in bear-proof containers. Check Amazon for some here.
- Clean your camping-site after you’ve used it.
Before you venture on a hike, think about what bears are doing and give them some room. Only use the official trails and leave the wildlife trails to the wildlife.
There may be some seasonal closures that need to be respected.
How to help squirrels in Alabama
Installing a squirrel feeder is a great way to help the squirrels of Alabama. The thought of watching squirrels munching on nuts through your window might be tempting. But I would instead recommend helping the squirrels in their own turf. By inviting squirrels to your yard, you expose them to unnecessary risk. They might need to cross several streets to get to your house and hide from as many cats and dogs.
If you instead make the effort of feeding them in their own habitat, they will benefit more from your help. By installing a squirrel feeder in the woods, you keep them where they belong.
If you have bought a squirrel feeder, it might be tempting to fill it, nail it to a tree and refill it once in a while. Instead of nailing it to a tree, why not bring a plank with you and nail it to the plank? That way, the tree won’t get hurt. Dig the plank into the ground until it’s stable. You can place it close to a tree so the squirrels can jump from the tree to the feeder with ease.
Squirrels prefer to eat various nuts and plant buds. But also pine cones and seeds. You can collect the stuff you find on the ground and fill it. I usually go with this brand which the squirrels in my neighborhood like.
If you are using a squirrel feeder with a window, make sure to face the window in your direction so you can see from a distance if it needs to be refilled.