Creating Our Backyard Wildlife Habitat: Step One, Provide Food

Today my son and I began working towards making our backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat, per the guidelines provided by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). I figured it would be best for my four-year-old if we only focus on one aspect of certification at at a time. Our focus today? Step one: Provide Food for Wildlife.

Certification requires that the backyard provide three food sources, selected from the following list:

  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Fruits
  • Nectar
  • Sap
  • Foliage / Twigs
  • Pollen
  • Supplemental Feeders
    • Seed
    • Suet
    • Hummingbird
    • Squirrel
    • Butterfly

This was a fun, educational activity to work through with my son. What in our yard is food for wildlife? What could we add that wildlife could eat? What animals might eat each of the items on this list?

We decided our yard provides nuts (acorns from the oak tree), nectar (the rosemary flowers), and seed (supplemental bird feeders). We have some room in the yard for additional plants. I’m researching native species to plant that will provide additional food sources for wildlife, especially birds and butterflies. Whatever we grow will have to like shade, as the oak tree dominates our little yard.

My son is loving this project! We spent almost the entire day in the backyard, sweeping and fixing up the yard for summer.  Here are a few additional photos of our food sources…





  1. Reblogged this on Serenity Spell and commented:
    There have been so many wonderful comments from people explaining how they’re creating natural habitats for their wildlife critters in their personal spaces (usually birds, but not always) — some of whose populations have suffered a decline in recent years. It’s so crucial in our modern culture/society to do so; It doesn’t take much to provide a wee bit of food, water, and shelter for these guys…. Besides, it calms the soul to view nature. ♥

    Here, Nature Mom teaches her son how to create a backyard wildlife habitat, something anyone can do, in any environment — I had a great little set-up in a former apartment. Following guidelines provided by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), she details how she creates food, water, and shelter resources for her local wildlife….


  2. A great thing to do with your son! I just finished the paperwork to certify our school garden as a schoolyard habitat, and I look forward to the educational opportunities that will come when people see the sign.


  3. what great posts…. so easy + fun for everyone to do… and BEST yet, so absolutely wonderful to teach the children how to care for wildlife — and just be out there with nature. so crucial in today’s world, where such activities are really pushed to the sidelines. we have several feeders (and birdbaths, as it can get hot down here), and the wild birds have become quite personable with us, in anticipation of their goodies. 🙂


    1. Yes, I agree. Wildlife and the care of natural environment is “pushed to the sidelines.” Our development is on the edge of town. We live in their territory… have taken territory away from wildlife and native plants in order to live here. We need to do whatever we can to give back, even in little ways. And I love seeing my little naturalist developing his love of nature.


  4. Sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun! I didn’t know that you could turn a yard into a certified habitat, that is really neat. We live in the woods and already have a lot of wildlife, I am going to look into doing the same thing. Thanks for sharing with us!


  5. Great start. Is that a homemade feeder? If it is it’s a great idea. If not then I’ll have to try and make one out of an old Gatorade bottle. 😀 Sounds like you guys have lots of fun ahead of you.


    1. Yes, the feeder in the tree is homemade. It’s a recycled plastic juice bottle. You poke a stick (our is a chop stick) through about an inch or two above the bottom. Above both sides where the stick pokes out, cut holes big enough for a small bird to crawl in. The naturalist who we made these with said birds like to have an exit, so they feel safer if a feeder has two holes. Then pour in wild birdseed.


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