Creating habitat is important for animals as well as plants for the overall ecosystem. Many smaller creatures such as: birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, squirrels, and insects are fun to watch up close and personal in our yards.
But sometimes critters can cause damage to an ornamental residential landscape, particularly a small one. Creating good habitat can invite damaging elements to your yard such as coyotes, moles, and voles. Wildlife we enjoy watching like deer and rabbits can cause damage to our plants too. Whenever possible, please avoid using chemicals to remove unwanted wildlife.
Bats are great at controlling insect populations. They can also be good pollinators and dispersers of seeds. But they are choosy about where they live and what they will live in. Check out some resources below before creating habitat for bats. And take note, if you don’t have enough insects for them to eat, they will move on or starve. This is the best reason we can think of to create good habitat for all critters. It’s an ecosystem. All parts work together. If you want bats, by definition, you want insects. Birds need insects as food, too.
All about bats.
Living with bats - Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Basic bat information including the types of bats in Washington, what they eat, habitat, management, and public health concerns related to bats.
Build a Bat House — National Wildlife Federation.
Strategies for Successful Bat Houses — Wildlife Damage Control.
More good info about supporting bats.
Since we talk about creating habitat mostly for birds and pollinators elsewhere on this website, what you will find here is some solutions for when birds become a problem.
Bully Birds, Management — National Wildlife Fund.
Crows at Feeders — Wild Birds Unlimited, E Lansing, MI.
Crows at Feeders — Humane Society.
Canada Geese, Management — Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Canada Geese, Management — Humane Society.
Injured Birds — Vancouver Audubon Society.
Unwanted Birds — WildBirds.com.
Coyotes can be found in Clark County. Though they rarely attack or approach humans, it’s smart to be cautious.
Coexisting with Coyotes — Clark County, WA.
Living with Wildlife: Coyotes - Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Preventing Coyote Conflicts — The Humane Society.
What to Do About Coyotes — The Humane Society.
Deer can be really fun to watch, but they can cause a lot of damage to both ornamental and veggie gardens.
Basic deer-management strategy is to observe the most prominent 'thoroughfare' the deer take through your property. On the house side of that thoroughfare, plant a 10’ wide swath of plants deer generally dislike. On the opposite side, plant a 10’ wide swath of things the deer really love to eat. The theory is that as a deer moves along their thoroughfare, they will browse on what they like, and sort of ‘bounce off’ what they find distasteful. The goal is to keep them moving through, and not stopping to wonder if there might be some other yummy treat closer to the house.
This will only work after you are sure the deer can’t find anything they like on the house side of their thoroughfare. Establishing plants for a deer throughfare is easier with new construction, but it can be discouraging to remove well established vegetation. There are alternatives.
You could also install an 8’ tall fence, but below are some other suggestions.
Living with Wildlife-Deer — WA Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Pretty much everything you wanted to know about deer. Includes a list of plants deer like!
Managing Deer on Small Woodlands — USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Reduce Deer Damage in Your Yard — Oregon State University Extension.
Deer Repellant, Recipe — Camas/Washougal Garden Club.
A simple recipe using eggs and water that seems to keep deer from eating your plants.
Deer-resistant Plants — WSU Spokane County Extension.
Deer-resistant Plants — Oregon State Univ Extension.
Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance — Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
Searchable online database available through Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
Rabbit Resistant Plants — Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Voles — Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.
Voles prefer loose soil, longer grass and more clutter. We also prefer longer grass and more clutter because it usually creates good habitat. We prefer untilled farming methods. But if you are gardening on land that was tilled over past decades, and you are trying to create earth-friendly habitat, you will likely attract voles. While you're creating habitat, consider attracting snakes, hawks, and owls if you have a problem with voles. Natural preditors are a better option for control than poison.
As for keeping your veggie gardens vole-free, voles are poor climbers. Use raised beds with hardware cloth on the bottom that drains well, but keeps the critters out.
Cover Crops Influence Meadow Vole Presence — HortTechnology.
One way to manage voles is to plant more of what they do not like near areas where you don't want the voles. This study suggests that legume cover crops may attract voles more than non-legume plants. Sweet Woodruff was particularly effective at detracting voles. Wood chips also seem to work well.