Creating our Backyard Wildlife Habitat: Step Four, Homes for Wildlife

We’re on the final step of creating our backyard wildlife habitat! For those of you who don’t already know, we’re following the guidelines provided by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in their Certified Wildlife Habitat program. So far, we have completed the following steps:

  1. Provide food
  2. Supply water
  3. Create cover

The final step is to give wildlife a place to raise their young. The guidelines require that a backyard gives wildlife two places to raise their young, selected from the following list:

  • Mature Trees
  • Dense Shrubs
  • Meadow / Prairie
  • Host Plants for Caterpillars
  • Dead Trees / Snags
  • Water Garden / Pond
  • Wetland
  • Burrow
  • Cave
  • Nesting Box

We already have a mature tree out back… the oak tree.  We usually have a bird nest in the tree each year, though it’s so well hidden, I have never been able to tell what kind of birds live there. Plus there are spider webs all over the tree, so I know they are enjoying the tree as their home.  I’ve also seen caterpillars hanging from the tree.

Secondly, we decided to add a nesting box.  We’ll find out over time if any birds decided to move in!  I’ve had to refrain my son’s enthusiasm, as he’s been running out to open up the box each morning to see if there are any birds in it.

Within the next week, we plan to plant a few dense shrubs and host plants for caterpillars.

I’ll write a review of the entire process in a week or so, after we’re done with the planting!  My son is so excited about this project.  Every morning when we wake up, he asks, “what are we going to do for the wildlife today?”  We’re already enjoying the birds visiting the new bird feeders and the birdbath.  Probably thirty times a day, my son quietly exclaims, “Sshh, there’s a bird in the bird feeder!”  Fun!!




      1. living in the mountains, we didn’t have to do as much work as you did, but we feel it’s important we “share” Folks all over the country could take a lesson from what you are doing – good job!


    1. That’s so cool! I love the idea of the bat house (I LOVE bats!). However, we have a problem in our complex with bats making homes in attics. We’ve been fortunate to avoid that problem so far, but best not to draw them in closer. Maybe you can educate the new owners that bats aren’t fearful creatures, but are helpful (eat mosquitoes, pollinate flowers…)??


      1. Oh, I ADORE bats too!! So critical to our ecosystem, you’re absolutely right. They (the sanctuary people) actually say that these bat houses, placed strategically on the grounds, will prevent bats from nesting in attics, etc. They also said they prefer a certain direction — that houses should face a certain way, and obviously should be high. Oh my. What direction was that…. Was it east? I’ll have to research to confirm. 🙂


  1. When someone is that excited about wildlife and outdoor activities it’s contagious. It just makes you want to get out the door and start a hike or a project like you guys have embarked on. It would be cool if there was a birdhouse that had one way glass or something that allowed you to see what is inside without actually opening anything to look in. Sounds like you guys are having fun and that’s the most important thing. Take care.


    1. That would be cool to be able to see inside a birdhouse! And I agree that having fun is the most important thing. My son’s enthusiasm, at this age, makes just about anything fun!


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