Want to share your yard with birds and other wildlife?
Bellingham parks, natural areas and greenways are important habitat for birds, deer and other wildlife. Home, school and business landscapes can provide wildlife habitat, too.
Landscaping with native plants provides food and shelter for local songbirds and other wildlife, reduces the need for water and chemical pest control, and increases the biodiversity of the urban environment.
Bellingham has a long history of people landscaping for wildlife beginning in the mid 1980’s. Bellingham was certified as the nation’s 37th certified Community Wildlife Habitat in March of 2010 by the National Wildlife Federation.
Certifying your yard, school or business helps Bellingham keep its certification!
Wildlife Habitat Features
- Food sources – native plants with seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
- Water sources – birdbath, pond, stream, water garden
- Places for cover – thickets, hedge rows, rock piles
- Places to raise young – dense shrubs, different layers of vegetation, nesting box, pond
- Sustainable gardening – using mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizer
Landscaping for Wildlife
- Key Elements when Landscaping for Wildlife (PDF)
- History of Landscaping for Wildlife in Bellingham (PDF)
- Community Wildlife Habitats in Washington (PDF)
Using Native Plants
Why use native plants?
Native plants are adapted to this climate with its late dry summer and wet winter. Maintaining native plants is generally easier as they are naturally most pest resistant. Over time, native plants have evolved features to attract wildlife for pollination and seed-dispersal. In turn, the native flora provide food, shelter and places to raise young. Due to this interdependence, providing native flora means supporting native fauna.
- Native Trees and Shrubs by size and soil type (PDF)
- Wildflowers and Western Washington Prairie Plants (PDF)
- Best Planting Practices for Trees (PDF)
- What is Mulch? (PDF)
- Native Trees and Shrubs providing food for wildlife (PDF)
- Attracting Birds (PDF)
- Attracting Hummingbirds (PDF)
- Creating a Butterfly Garden (PDF)
- Mason Bees – Native North American Pollinators (PDF)
- Keeping Cats Indoors (PDF)
Certifying your Yard
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for information about the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program.
The National Wildlife Federation: Back Yard Basics
The National Wildlife Federation provides plenty of information for creating backyard, school, and community habitats.
- Tent Caterpillars – What should I do? (PDF)
- Park Steward Program
- Stewardship Resources
- Volunteer Newsletter
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Parks and Recreationand Open Space Plan