Creating a Myrtle Beach Wildlife Habitat at Home
It doesn’t matter if you live in a coastal condo unit or a suburban subdivision, you can turn your Myrtle Beach yard, patio, or garden into a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation.
Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas are home to all kinds of wildlife. A recent walk in nearby Huntington Beach State Park allowed me to view habitats of alligators, butterflies, snakes, anoles, crabs, and all kinds of songbirds, shorebirds, and more.
In our backyard, we have nesting bluebirds and mockingbirds, visiting hummingbirds, and daily visits from a warren of rabbits. The joy of seeing and observing wildlife is immeasurable. It also allows children to learn about nature and earth science.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the ways you can turn your garden or yard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
Provide Multiple Food Sources
The more food sources available in your yard or garden, the better. The NWF requires at least 3 food sources for certification. Food source can include:
- Bird feeders, thistle socks, suet
- Trees and bushes with flowering blossoms, fruit, or seeds
- Pollen and nectar-producing plants and flowers
- Sap-producing trees or bushes
Research popular native plants for the species you plan to target. For example, in our post on butterflies and hummingbirds, we provide a long list of native South Carolina plants and flowers that hummingbirds visit for nectar. Plants may also create subsequent food sources for birds by attracting insects or caterpillars.
Use the NWF website for food source recommendations that will work best in your yard.
Provide a Water Source
Any wildlife habitat needs a water source for drinking, bathing, and depending on the species, living. Luckily, in Myrtle Beach neighborhoods, retention ponds and drainage ditches are common, and these can easily serve as a water source for wading birds, turtles, alligators, and more.
Even simpler? Set a small dish of water outside with pebbles for bees and birds. They’ll find it and be just as happy as they would with an expensive sculpted bird bath. Just be sure to regularly change the water!
For those wanting something more, add a natural, circulating waterscape to your yard, as long as it’s free of harmful chemicals and chlorine.
Learn more about water sources on the NWF website.
Provide Places for Cover
No animal wants to be exposed to the elements, whether it’s extreme sun and heat or torrential rain. Cover can take many forms, and you may already have some in your yard.
Coverage can be:
- Trees or bushes
- Large hedges or shrubs
- Log or rock piles
These are places where animals can also hide from predators. The NWF even provides some good family projects if you’d like to build a bird box or bee house.
Provide Places to Raise Young
Places that provide cover can also serve as places to raise young. A tree or bush can house a nest of birds, a shrub can cover a rabbit den, and the plants in a native garden can provide the site and food source for caterpillars and butterflies.
When wildlife chooses your yard or garden to raise young, you’ll get to observe their lifecycle.
Development is Destroying Habitats
To say that Myrtle Beach is developing quickly is an understatement. Sadly, large developers find it far more cost effective to clear cut large tracts of land and plant new trees than to clear around trees and preserve some wildlife habitats.
This approach endangers wildlife and hurts the environment. By taking some steps to create a wildlife habitat in your yard or patio, you are ensure that wild species have easy access to food, water, and shelter, some of which has been removed by our own doing.
Get Your Habitat Certified
If you want to show your neighbors your efforts, you can show the NWF how your yard meets their criteria and purchase a $20 Certification Sign for your yard.
Of course, you don’t need to pay for the sign to share your work. Post photos on social media, share your project with a school or group, and get others interested.
Let us know if you make your Myrtle Beach yard or patio a Certified Wildlife Habitat!