Black Hills Spruce
Colorado Blue Spruce
The presence of wildlife can make a backyard or wood lot a special place for your family. As urban and suburban development displaces many birds and animals from their natural habitat, it becomes increasingly important for landowners to provide mini-sanctuaries for wild birds and other wildlife. You can help provide habitat that will attract birds and wildlife to your home.
Provide cover: Birds and small animals need concealed places for nesting and hiding, protected from the eyes of predators.
Good natural habitat features variety -- in plant species, in slopes and terrain, in plant height, and in transition between plant communities.
In a backyard setting, such places can be provided by...
Provide food: Having a wide variety of trees with high food value is the single best way to increase your pleasure from viewing wildlife.
- Planting conifers (evergreens), preferably in a group.
- Growing hedges with low branches.
- Planting ground cover instead of lawn in several areas.
- Planting shrubs and plants with overhanging branches.
- Using prickly or thorny plants in a few areas.
- Build sloping, rock-faced mounds where birds can probe for food in rock crevices or forage on the sheltered slopes.
Provide water: No matter what their individual food preferences may be, all birds and animals need a dependable source of water close by.
This can be supplied in your yard by creating a small pool or bird bath in a protected place. Even a dripping tap will help.
- Summer fruit is provided by cherries, dogwoods, plums, and apricots.
- Seeds are provided by ashes, birches, firs, hemlocks, maples, spruces, and sweet gums.
- Nuts and acorns are provided by butternuts, black walnuts, chestnuts, hazels, hickories, oaks, and pecans.
- Fall and winter fruit are provided by apples, crab apples, dogwoods, hackberries, hawthorns, and mountain ashes.
These are especially important to help wildlife through the worst part of the year and to save early arriving summer birds that get caught in late season snowstorms.