City Wildlife in the Backyard Habitat

City Wildlife in the Backyard Habitat

how to get a certified wildlife sign
The plaque displaying that our yard is a certified wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation before it is was mounted in the backyard in 2010

I have often enjoyed watching a show called “Backyard Habitat” on Animal Planet which partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to demonstrate how homeowners can create habitats in their own yards for local wildlife. For many years, we have been implementing a number of the strategies they suggest for attracting wildlife in to a backyard, including bird baths, nesting sites, shelter, seeds and berries, larval food for butterflies, flowers to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and more.  It has been very educational for the kids and, in general, beneficial for the yard and gardens, too.  We decided to become contributing members of the Nat. Wildlife Fed. when we ordered subscriptions to “Ranger Rick” and “My Big Backyard” magazines.  Through our membership, we learned how to get our own yard certified by the Nat. Wildlife Federation.  Apparently the wildlife knows too, because it seems this year we have had more than our normal amount.

Wildlife Visitors to Our Yard


  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Red Tailed Hawk
  • American Kestral
  • Black Phoebes
  • Sparrows
  • Scrub Jays
  • Mocking Birds
  • Crows
  • Mallard Ducks
  • European Starlings
  • Finches
what kind of bird looks like a mini falcon - American kestrel
A tiny American Kestral peering downing from the telephone wires into my yard. It is about the size of a pigeon.


  • Alligator Lizards
  • Box Turtle (found in the street and brought  to our yard after being unable to locate his owner)
  • California Desert Tortoise (hatched in captivity by a friend in 2004)
what kind of lizard in southern california backyard - aligator lizard
Alligator Lizard was caught briefly before being released back into the yard

Butterflies (the ones we see the most)

  • Monarch
  • Red Admiral
  • Common Hairstreak
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Buckeye
  • Painted Lady
  • Fiery Skipper
  • Mourning Cloak
what do butterflies like in the garden - butterflie bush and monarch

Beneficial Insects we have been happy to find around the yard

  • Valley Carpenter Bees (and even an occasional honey yellow colored male)
  • Honey Bees
  • Black Soldier Flies
  • Green Lacewings
  • Bold Jumper Spiders
  • Green Lynx Spiders
  • Orb Weaver Spiders (just look out for their webs early in the morning)
  • Crab Spiders (misumenoides formosipes)
  • Assassin bugs
  • Convergent Ladybird Beetle/ Lady bugs
  • Two-Stabbed Ladybird Beetles / Lady Bugs
  • Two-Spotted Ladybird Beetles / Lady Bugs
  • Ashy Gray Ladybird Beetles / Lady Bugs
  • Lady bug larva
  • Mealy Bug Destroyer Larva
  • Ichneumon wasps
  • dragon flies visit from the pond across the street
soldier fly: what is the gross maggots in compost
Black Solier Fly


  • Opossums
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons (They moved into the neighborhood somewhere about 5 years ago, however, since we have a dog they are only seen out front.)
  • Coyote (A duck was killed on our front lawn last summer, and animal control confirmed it was probably a coyote due to many recent sightings on the Eastside of L.B.)
squirrel in the front yard tree

I would love to know what you think about this.

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