Some people consider squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits to be a nuisance to their back yard or outdoor space, as these critters tend to eat your bird seed or cause problems in your yard. However, if you are reading this article, odds are you are not one of those people!
One really good thing to know is that, generally, when bird feeders are present, squirrels and chipmunks will naturally find their way to your yard and eat any bird food under the feeder that has been knocked to the ground. There are several other things you can do, though, to encourage small mammals to visit and entertain you on summer evenings. Food is not the only thing to bring these small mammals to your yard. Water is sometimes even more of a draw, if it is kept clean and the container is kept full. Using a shallow tray or pan at ground level will allow squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits all to drink, in addition to birds.
Squirrels do travel on the ground at times. Typically, they would prefer to be on the ground only long enough to travel from one tree to the next or to get some food before returning to the safety of trees. The common theme you will notice is trees. Squirrels use them for safety and travel, so if you want to bring squirrels to your yard and have them show up regularly at the outdoor buffet you are providing, you should have trees in your yard, ideally near your feeding areas. Squirrels would like to have seed, grain, nuts and fruit to eat, with their favorite food being nuts. If a squirrel can not find the food it normally eats, it will adapt and eat just about anything to survive.
Chipmunks are small members of the squirrel family that travels on the ground and lives under it in burrows. When a chipmunk is storing up food, a single one of these busy little creatures can store up to 7 or 8 pounds of food in a single burrow. Considering that chipmunks typically only weigh between 1.5 and 4.5 ounces, that is a heck of a lot of food for such a little animal to store. Chipmunks would really like to have some tall grass, wildflowers, or brush to burrow under or seek shelter in. If you are going to provide such cover for chipmunks, be certain you keep it at least 10 - 15 feet away from your feeding areas so cats do not take advantage of the hiding places to hide in and attack from. Chipmunks eat fruit, nuts, berries, seeds, insects, worms, bird eggs, and sometimes other smaller animals.
Rabbits tend to eat leafy greens they find in most yards. They will look for dandelions and clover if they can find it, or they may ravage a vegetable garden, so be careful about trying to attract bunnies to your yard. Rabbits will also eat many of the things squirrels and chipmunks will eat if they can not find leafy greens.
Now that you know how to attract these little furry creatures to your yard, you should enjoy many days watching the natural wildlife.
View more articles written by Kristen Sydelko.