The Foundational Four …
In order to create a wildlife habitat in your backyard, there are 4 things that every habitat needs and those are Food, Water, Cover, and Space to Raise Young.
- Food: There are various ways to provide food for wildlife in your backyard. Generally, natural food sources of Seeds, Berries, Fruits, Nectar, Nuts, Pollen, Leaves, Twigs, and Sap provide approximately 80% of wildlife’s diet. Humans can provide the additional 20% through various types of Bird Feeders, Squirrel Feeders, Hummingbird Feeders, etc.
- Water: Food alone is not sufficient to attract and retain wildlife to your yard. A habitat needs water in order for wildlife to remain. Natural sources of water include lakes, ponds, puddles, rivers, and creeks, while you can establish artificial water sources such as birdbaths, fountains, and Koi or regular ponds. Wildlife will first be attracted to the water source and then begin to look for food sources.
- Cover: All wildlife need places to hide or call home. The natural world can be very severe on your backyard wildlife. Many animals need places to hide from the extreme heat of the hot summer or the freezing chill of the cold winter, as well as places to hide from would-be predators. Many predators, too, need cover in order to hunt their prey. Natural sources of cover include trees (live or dead), shrubs, thickets, brush or rock piles, and evergreens, while we can provide roosting boxes and plant more native plants for cover and create brush or rock piles, etc.
- Space to Raise Young: Every wildlife habitat can support a fixed amount of wildlife. To have them persist in your yard and community, they require space to raise their young, such as cover plants or nesting or roosting boxes, along with a homemade pond can also keep them in your yard.