Creating a Backyard Habitat
Habitat restoration is vital for wild birds and other wildlife due to our commercial and residential infringement on their natural areas. We’re good at building places to live but don’t give much thought to creating habitat – places where we can live in harmony with other living creatures.
It is up to concerned citizens like you to restore and create natural areas for birds and wildlife to thrive. Creating your own backyard habitat is easy. All you need to do is provide the following 4 basic elements:
Consider shrubs and trees that produce seeds, fruits and nuts throughout the year. Provide nectar producing plants for hummingbirds and butterflies. Supplemental feeders should be offered with seed, suet or nectar.
Water is an important part of your backyard habitat. Offer several sources of water. A pedestal bird bath, shallow water dish placed at ground level or a small pond will provide the necessary water for drinking and bathing. These same water sources will offer an aquatic habitat for dragonflies, frogs and other aquatic life.
Shelter will transform your yard from a place where wild creatures visit to a place where they live. Plant evergreen trees and shrubs that provide year round cover from weather and predators. Deciduous trees and shrubs can offer nesting sites and roosting areas. Wild birds need areas where they can feel safe and provide safe havens from predators. Rocks, logs and mulch piles offer effective cover for small mammals like chipmunks, reptiles and insects. Leaving a dead or decaying tree stump in your yard can act as a wonderful source of both food and shelter for many creatures.
PLACES TO RAISE YOUNG
As we have cleared land for development, we have drastically reduced the number of nesting sites for cavity dwelling birds. Bluebirds, purple martins and woodpeckers are struggling for nesting sites. Only we have the power to help them bounce back. Put out functional nesting boxes for wild birds. Evergreens and deciduous trees and shrubs provide additional nesting areas and materials for birds and other mammals and reptiles. Bats, which are wonderful for zapping flying insects need shelter as well. A butterfly or ladybug hibernation box will encourage these beneficial insects to stay in your yard.