habitat should have food, water, shelter and space. Enhancing your
yard for wildlife means providing one or all of these basic needs.
Food - Seeds, berries, nuts, flower nectar, insects, and other wildlife
Water - Birdbaths, dripping faucets, ponds, puddles, streams
Shelter - Trees, shrubs, brush piles, rock walls, rock piles, hollow
Space - Corridors, territories, quiet space, open space
A variety of food sources in your yard allows a variety of wildlife
to use it. Provide a good mix of plants that produce seed or fruit
at different times of the year. Insects are a very important part
of the diet of most songbirds, so try to avoid insecticides. After
providing trees and shrubs, you may want to consider bird feeders.
These are described in our publication “Winter Feeding of
Wild Birds Around the Home.”
Animals will walk; fly or crawl a great distance just for a drink
because some form of water is essential. Having a birdbath or other
source of water in your yard will lure many kinds of wildlife.
Wildlife must have safe places where they are free from danger and
bad weather and can raise their offspring. Most animals find shelter
in trees or shrubs. Leaf litter and dead branches provide shelter
for insects and amphibians. Dense vegetation provides buffers between
wildlife habitat and busy areas such as driveways. If possible,
designate a special area of your yard for wildlife.
Is your backyard habitat large enough for wildlife? Most birds and
mammals need more that the average backyard allows, but that doesn’t
mean they won’t visit or nest in your yard. An animal may
need less space if other requirements are abundant.