Creating our Backyard Wildlife Habitat: Step Three, Create Cover

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Today was day three of working towards making our backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat, per the guidelines provided by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). So far, we’ve completed step 1 (provide food) and step two (supply water).  Our focus today? Create cover for wildlife.

This step in the certification process requires that a backyard has two types of cover for wildlife, selected from the following list:

  • Brush Pile
  • Log Pile
  • Wooded Area
  • Dense Shrubs / Thicket
  • Meadow / Prairie
  • Evergreens
  • Ground Cover
  • Roosting Box
  • Water Garden / Pond
  • Bramble Patch
  • Burrow
  • Cave
  • Rock Pile / Wall

This one was a bit tough for us, though my son had fun trying to build cover with the many sticks he’s collected over the years (photo below). We definitely already have one major cover for wildlife… our deck. But “deck” isn’t one of the items on the list. Yet it’s definitely a cover. In past years, the deck has provided cover for skunks, mice, lizards, toads, and who knows what else. Perhaps a deck is a kind of man-made cave?


Is a rosemary bush considered to be a thicket?


I have to include a photo of my son’s first attempts at building a “log pile”…


Here’s what we’re working on now to add new wildlife cover to the yard, but will need a little more time…

  • Building a small rock wall around the plant bed (the lizards should love that!)
  • Finding and planting native ground cover
  • Finding and planting native shrubs

Tomorrow, we’re planning to go to the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley (the first Thursday of each month is free to the public).  We’ll be doing some research about native plants we could plant in our backyard.  We want to select plants native to the San Francisco East Bay that are beneficial for butterflies and birds.  We’ll keep you updated…


      1. 🙂 Such wonderful information, so accessible and a wonderful reminder for everyone to provide a wee bit of help to those who need it….!


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