A Department of Fish and Wildlife program
to help you help wildlife around your home.

A bald eagle soars over a high bluff surveying the waters below. Red-tailed hawks with outstretched wings drift effortlessly over forests and open fields. Hummingbirds zip by your window on their way to the family garden. The morning dew highlights fragile spider webs at the forest edge. This is Washington State - a great place to live.

A land we all love, yet one we may be smothering with our numbers. Over 35,000 acres of wildlife habitat is lost each year here in Washington, a large majority due to housing and development. If we continue at this rate our wildlife will have few places to live and visit. So the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife instituted the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program to help offset some of this habitat loss. While many of us may not realize it, a property owner is also a habitat manager. The things we do, or do not do, in the vicinity of our home have an effect on the quality of habitat for dozens of wildlife species.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to help you understand and appreciate the wildlife around your home. You can make your property a better place for songbirds and other wildlife species that have lived in your area long before people began to settle.

Ordering the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Packet

Write to the Department of Fish and Wildlife and order the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Packet. It contains information that will help you become a wildlife habitat manager on your own property. You will also have the opportunity to register your yard as an official backyard wildlife sanctuary. The address to write is:

(Remember to include your address with the request)

 Westside (West of Cascades Ridge)(Herron Island)

         Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
         Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program
          16018 Mill Creek Blvd.
          Mill Creek, WA 98012

Please include a $5.00 check payable to WDFW for printing and postage. Good environmental stewardship begins in our own backyards.

The Backyard Sanctuary Packet contains:
Want to make your property better for wildlife?

Consider these suggestions:

  1. Plant more trees and shrubs. Remember, vegetation is the key to attracting a variety of wildlife. Dead trees (snags) are especially valuable to wildlife; try to keep them on your property if they pose no safety hazard.
  2. Add a birdbath or other source of water. A safe place to bathe and drink will act as a magnet to many animals.
  3. Add bird feeders. A feeder for millet, one for sunflower seeds, and one for suet will appeal to a wide variety of birds.
  4. Add bird houses, or better yet, try to leave snags on your property. Cavity-nesting birds have been especially hurt by urban development. A bird house of the proper dimensions can substitute for snags where these birds used to nest.
  5. Cover any openings under the eaves or other places around your house where house sparrows and starlings may nest. These non-native birds are undesirable competitors for food and nesting cavities and many native birds have suffered because of their presence. Bird houses and feeders should be designed and managed to reduce use by sparrows and starlings.
  6. Control cats that may be prowling around your sanctuary; they can be especially harmful to birds that feed or nest on the ground. Try putting a small bell around your cat's neck.
  7. Get your neighbors interested in backyard wildlife. Several adjacent yards with good wildlife resources are even more effective. Most wildlife species need areas larger than a single lot can provide. Remember, every homeowner is a habitat manager, and the collective actions of conscientious homeowners will benefit the wildlife that shares your living space.

© 1997-99 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, used with permission.

"This is a reproduction of a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife document and is not the official document or regulations of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The accuracy of the reproduction cannot be guaranteed by WDFW."

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