Skip to main content
King County logo

Episode 9: "Backyard Wildlife"

Synopsis: Join Doug and Greg as they tour the beautiful Vashon Island garden of the Van Fleet residence. This amazing garden is packed with wildlife and features two ponds, a vegetable garden and more than 370 different species of plants. As a result, the Van Fleets have seen more than 68 different species of birds visiting their yard.

Wildlife Needs

  • Food - Change bird feeders frequently, leave seed heads for the birds, and avoid using pesticides. Remember most insects are beneficial and provide a free food source for birds.
  • Water - Birdbaths should have gently sloping sides and should be cleaned daily. Make sure your pond has a recirculating pump system to discourage mosquitoes.
  • Shelter - Brush piles, rock piles, snags and birdhouses all provide places for wildlife to hide, breed, and look for food.
  • Space - Create more usable space for animals by shrinking your lawn and replacing with native plants. Learn more about Naturescaping.

Doug’s Design Tips

  • A layered plant landscape not only looks fantastic but it also attracts the widest variety of wildlife.
  • If you have space, include large conifers, deciduous trees, large and small shrubs and perennials.
  • Native plants do the best job of attracting native wildlife.

Greg's Tips & Tricks

  1. To avoid unwanted conflicts with wildlife, keep wildlife out by constructing barriers as part of your landscape.
  2. Put fencing around individual trees or around certain areas of your garden (vegetable or flower garden) to take these plants off the menu for deer, rabbits or beavers.
  3. Keeping your cat indoors is one of the best and easiest ways to help wildlife. Outdoor cats can be trained to enjoy the indoors and they will live longer, healthier lives as well.

Show resources:

WDFW: Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program - (External link)

Landscape Planning for Washington's Wildlife: Managing for Biodiversity in Developing Areas - A Priority Habitats and Species Guidance Document - (External link)

American Bird Conservancy: Birds and Cats - (External link)

Northwest Native Plant Landscape Guide

*External link.

Please Note: This list of resources is provided by King County as a courtesy to the public and does not endorse or guarantee the quality of the service offered or provided.

Check schedule for air times.

Yard Talk is brought to you by KCTV and the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

For questions about this web page, please contact Greg Rabourn, Community Stewardship Specialist, Water and Land Resources Division.