The Sonoran Desert offers year-round opportunities to relax in the backyard while watching the birds come and go, butterflies fluttering in the wind, and bees pollinating the flowers. Many people want to know how to attract more of these desirable species.
We talked with Ranger Amy who works with the Arizona Game & Fish and Liberty Wildlife. She shared some valuable tips for doing it the right way.
What is the best way to feed birds and butterflies?
People think they need birdseed to attract birds. Birds are messy and scatter the seed which attracts rodents. Rodents attract predators, including snakes. Instead, the best food source is native shrubs. They are healthier for wildlife and easily recognized as a food source.
Should I add a birdbath?
Birdbaths are difficult to maintain and harbor harmful parasites. Birds are usually a short flight from a healthy water source, but you can add a pond or fountain if you want to watch them play in the water. If you choose a birdbath, clean it every other day with a 1:4 solution of bleach water.
Do you recommend hummingbird feeders?
Hummingbird feeders are a good source of food when there are not many blooms available. Hummingbird food spoils quickly in the heat, so be sure to clean it and replace it with fresh food every other day.
How can I help declining Monarch butterfly populations?
Butterflies like many of the same foods as hummingbirds, but the most important way to attract them is with milkweed, a necessity for Monarchs. You can plant it in pots if you do not have much space.
Can I bring a desert tortoise into my yard?
Arizona Game & Fish has a free tortoise adoption program for people with a secure backyard and no pool. They love to eat natural plants and grasses. They have great personalities love to interact with you. A tortoise is a lifetime commitment, living 75 years old or more.