How to Build a Wildlife Habitat in Your Yard

First off, you need to care about wildlife.

My latest column for The Barrow Journal was about how the kiddo and I built a wildlife habitat in our yard.  It’s very easy to do, and you can do it too.  Be sure to click here to read my column and learn how you can do it.  Then scroll down and take a look at our wildlife habitat for yourself.

Besides the fact that I love wildlife, I wanted to do it because I thought it would be a good project for the four-year-old.  In order to teach him and help him remember the elements needed in a natural habitat, we created the poster you can see below.  I fully admit this was not completely child-led.  I made him do it!  But he loves animals and wants to learn about them, so I thought this would be important for him to learn.

He used his camera to go around the yard and take photos of our habitat.  Then I used my camera to go around get photos of our habitat that would be in focus.  (ahem.)  We made the poster.  He traced the title at the top (I have blotted out our address for the web).  I wrote the elements needed for a wildlife habitat on the side.  Then I printed out the photos, and he cut them out.  Then I helped him glue the photos in their appropriate places.

There’s white space beside “water” because we still have not purchased a bird bath, and I wanted to save room in case we do.  However, we have put an additional dish of water on the back deck beside the bird feeders, and the birds are using it!

So the elements you need for a wildlife habitat are:

1. FOOD ~ Natural food like berries, nectar, acorns and other nuts.  You can also provide food like bird seed.

2. WATER ~ This was the one thing we didn’t have.  We don’t have any water source on our property, so we have to provide water in dishes, a bird bath or fountain.

3. SHELTER ~ Dense shrubs, vine tangles, dead trees, underbrush, wood piles, bird houses, gourds, shelves….you get the picture.

Our butterfly bush attracts a lot of butterflies and bees. We also have many other flowers on the property.

We have wild blackberries and other berries growing on our property.  I’m sure there’s plenty left over after my four-year-old picks his lot.

  

We have also begun to feed the birds using bird feeders and pine cones.  For the pine cones, we mix peanut butter and corn flour and then press it into the pinecone.  You can then roll it in birdseed if you want.  Wrap thin wire around it and create a hook to hang.  (I thank my sister-in-law for giving us our first pinecone bird feeder!)

This little terra cotta dish quenches the thirst of a little frog that lives under our porch and hopefully some lizards and birds too!

We have woods that we keep wild.  In doing this project, I learned that it’s good to not be so neat!  Don’t clean up the underbrush because it’s home to many wild critters.   This old wood pile is also a great home for critters.

 We’ve had this birdhouse for a few years, and it’s been home to several families of bluebirds. 

                        This is a our new birdhouse…..

Not a pretty picture, but I’m including our water barrel here to illustrate that conservation, mulching and eliminating nasty chemicals in your yard is important to the environment too.  If you create a healthy habitat, you’ll attract beneficial critters too!  We still have more work to do on our habitat, but it’ll be a fun project to work on during the next several years…

As I mentioned above, be sure to read my column for more information.  You can also go to

www.gwf.org or

http://www.oconeeriversaudubon.org/.

3 thoughts on “How to Build a Wildlife Habitat in Your Yard

  1. I have yard envy! LOL. This is so cool on so many levels and you all look like you enjoyed it so. We live in an apartment so we don’t have the space to do this but I want to do a bird feeder with my 5 year old. I think it would be fun to observe.

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    1. Thanks, Kristina! I feel very fortunate to have our yard. But if you have a deck, I’m sure you could put out some plants (maybe a small potted tree?), a bird feeder and a heavy dish with water! Watch the birds enjoy!

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