Why Landscape For Wildlife


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Do you enjoy observing nature... hearing the song of the chickadee... watching hummingbirds fill up on nectar from trumpet vines... listening to the chattering of squirrels... seeing the beauty and grace of a monarch butterfly perched on a milkweed.... experiencing the antics of a Mockingbird... the cooing of the Mourning doves... the swiftness of the Cottontail.. and the brilliance of a Cardinal or Baltimore oriole.

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Why Landscape For Wildlife

  1. 1. Do you enjoy observing nature... hearing the song of the chickadee... watching hummingbirds fill up I f you enjoy some of the activities mentioned above, you’ll probably want to on nectar from trumpet vines... listening to the landscape your property for wildlife so you can experience chattering of squirrels... seeing the beauty and even more from Mother Nature grace of a monarch butterfly perched on a by attracting more wildlife to milkweed.... experiencing the antics of a your property. Mockingbird... the cooing of the Mourning doves... The term "wildlife" means the swiftness of the Cottontail.. and the brilliance different things to different of a Cardinal or Baltimore oriole. people. To a livestock producer, it may mean coyotes. To someone who feeds birds, it may Why Landscape mean Cardinals, Nuthatches, and Hummingbirds. To a birder, it may mean rare species. To a gardener, it may mean For Wildlife butterflies or crows. To a wildlife biologist the For more nature habitat information term wildlife means all living organisms out of the direct Visit these helpful websites: control of man, including A Plants Home undomesticated or cultivated A Birds Home plants and animals. A Homesteaders Home Dr. Thomas Barnes, Extension Wildlife Specialist, University of Kentucky, suggests that the definition also include the habitat of the species. He says that it is impossible to understand the ecology of a species without having a thorough knowledge of an animal’s diet and how this differs during a year, plus how the species relates to its habitat (predators, vegetation, soil, competitors, etc.). Wildlife doesn’t just randomly appear in a given area. It is there because of favorable habitat. To attract more wildlife, you need to apply specific wildlife management practices. To reach your wildlife management goals, you must manipulate the habitat, the animal population, or manage the people (landowners).© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 1 A Plants Home
  2. 2. To many, the term “wildlife s Decrease a population, Adding a pond or bird bath will conservation" is often confused (harvesting deer that are produce results in a hurry. with “wildlife preservation." damaging fruit trees); or Perhaps letting your pond overflow will produce wetlands. Conservation is an effort to s Stabilize a population maintain and use natural (making sure wildlife leaving Cover is important for resources wisely in an attempt is replaced by wildlife coming weather protection as well as to ensure that those resources in). hiding from predators. It’s will be available for future also important for nesting generations. and resting. It can be shrubs, Essential Elements native grasses, trees, rock and Preservation is a component of a Wildlife Habitat brush piles, hollow trees, caves, or part of conservation in which There are four essential nesting boxes, and abandoned natural systems are left alone elements needed for survival in buildings. without human disturbance or a wildlife habitat – food, water, manipulation. But, an cover, and space for wildlife to Space is needed for wildlife undisturbed ecosystem is not raise a family. If you keep these to raise a family. They always stable. Natural changes needs in mind while creating establish territories and they of plants are constantly your wildlife habitat plan, your will defend it. For example, creating different habitats for chances for success are Bluebird nesting boxes must different wildlife species. excellent be 300 ft. apart or the Bluebirds will fight each other. Thus, as conditions in the Food requirements vary for habitat change, some species every species. It changes as Wood ducks and Purple will have to move on and others they age and from one season martins do not defend will move in. Here’s an example: to another. For some, the territories. Loons want 100 berries in your garden are ideal. acres of lake or wetlands and Wildlife managers usually For others, it’s the nectar in Ruffed grouse need 10 acres. want to: flowers, or nuts and acorns, grasses, grain, or seeds. s Increase a population Basic Concepts of a Habitat (adding food and cover Water is as important as Before fully evaluating a plants); food and is critical to survival. wildlife habitat, some basic concepts about habitat and their relationship to different Wildlife Habitat Triangle wildlife species needs to be understood. Within a forest ecosystem, Food how the plants grow in different layers is an important type of arrangement called vertical Space layering. Arrangement This is important because some wildlife species may use the ground layer Cover Water (herbaceous) for food, but also need the tallest layer Each must be of good quality, in ample supply, and (tree canopy) for shelter. The properly situated in relation to each other. middle layer is composed of shrubs.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 2 A Plants Home
  3. 3. While it is not necessary to Jonathan Kays, Maryland Always be careful not to plant give up entirely on having a lawn, Regional Extension Specialist invasive exotic species, such as limiting its size will not only for Natural Resources, says if Multiflora rose and Japanese benefit wildlife, it will also save there is one single rule to follow honeysuckle, which can you time and money. in attracting wildlife, it is make overwhelm native plants and be your landscape as diverse as nearly impossible to irradicate. Mowing, chemical treatments, possible with many plant weeding, and watering are all species. A term that you will often hear costly – both in terms of what in reference to wildlife habitat is you pay for them and the Then, your habitat is less “niche." This refers to the number of hours that you spend vulnerable to insect damage or concept that each individual doing them. diseases that can wipe out species in a community has its single species. In ecosystems, own role within that community. If you choose wildlife-friendly diversity means stability and ground covers, you won’t have to ability to withstand change. For instance, it is the poison the environment with “occupation" of woodpeckers to chemicals or spend your If you follow nature’s lead, you eat insects under tree bark and weekends mowing. will find that wildlife thrives to excavate holes in tree trunks, when you landscape using a while beavers can be expected to Native plants require less (or wide variety of plants. Some will cut down trees and create no) pruning, less water, and are be evergreen or form thickets dams. Those are examples of more resistant to disease, thus for cover, while others will be species which are fairly lessening the need for valuable because of the flowers specialized. pesticides. and fruits that they bear. Other creatures could be There is even an entire style of Planting in “layers" is called “generalists" and they will gardening known as “xeriscaping" another important concept, tend to be more in competition which emphasizes the use of recognizing the importance of with one another. For example, drought-hardy plants suitable having a descending order of raccoons, foxes, and other for areas with limited rainfall. tall trees, medium shrubs, and medium-size omnivores all seek shorter flowers and bushes. the same fruits and small The place where two or more mammals for food, but the different plant communities or This will allow for the different variety of their food sources lets successional stages meet (such feeding and nesting habits of them compete successfully. as where a forest meets an open many species. Become aware of area) is called edge. the needs of the wildlife species In terms of conservation, this in your area. concept is important because Sometimes there is an abrupt major habitat changes can be change between plant Fancy double-petaled ruffled very destructive to specialized communities. Other times there blossoms are lovely in the species, while having less impact is no sharp or distinct garden, but butterflies can’t on those which depend on a difference, but only a gradual access the nectar in them, so wider choice of elements. change from one plant you should also provide the community to another. The flatter, more open blooms that If there is a single patch of latter attracts the most they prefer. wildflowers upon which wildlife. hummingbirds are dependent for Kousa dogwoods are current nectar and it is eliminated, the The function served by plants favorites of landscapers and hummingbirds will have to and structures is more they are beautiful trees, but relocate. important than their their berries are too large for appearance. Don’t base your most birds to swallow, so Other birds may also be eating planting decisions solely on include some native dogwoods insects attracted by those what a plant looks like. as well. same flowers, but they can find© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 3 A Plants Home
  4. 4. other insects if the flowers elements with a corridor of can penetrate even tough, disappear. good cover is important. compacted, clay soil. Wildlife population can be Following are even more By loosening the soil defined as the number of compelling reasons to particles, water soaks into individuals of a given species landscape for wildlife: the soil rather than running living within a defined area off. Native legumes will add during a specified time. s Economic nitrogen to the soil, reducing Population density refers to You can increase your the need for artificial the number of these property value. Studies fertilizers. individuals living within a unit show that if you have a of land area. pleasing landscape, you can s Natural Beauty receive up to 20 percent Plants highly regarded for Some creatures, such as more for your property their beauty can also be black bear, require a very low when you sell. This is also excellent for wildlife. For density in order to meet their true if the property backs example, conifers maintain food needs, while others, like up to a park or other “green their color year-round and squirrels, can exist with many space." And, if you have less provide good winter cover and individuals per acre. yard, you’ll save money on nesting places in the mowing, fertilizing, and summer. The “carrying capacity" of an watering. area refers to the maximum A wildflower meadow with number of a given species that s Energy Conservation native grasses is not only the area can sustain over an If your deciduous trees beautiful to the eye, it is a extended period of time. This shade in summer or source of nectar, seeds, carrying capacity can vary due conifors block the winter insects, and cover for a to changes in climate, food winds from your house, it multitude of wildlife. production, and so on. will take less energy and less cost to cool and heat The same is true of fruit Without human interference, it. Plus, you will be providing producing trees and shrubs wildlife populations regulate wildlife with food, cover, and such as Hickory, Crabapple, themselves as the carrying space to raise young. Cherry, and Walnut trees; capacity fluctuates. and shrubs such as Highbush In the fall, after the trees blueberry, Cranberry, and Wildlife needs extend drop their leaves, the sun American elderberry. through all four seasons of will shine through, providing the year so be sure and plant a passive solar heat. s Natural Insect Control variety of trees, shrubs, and Bats feed upon small flying flowers that address their s Soil Conservation insects, such as mosquitoes, needs. For example, Crabapple You don’t have to be a moths, and beetles. A bat trees provide fruits in the farmer to realize the can consume one-half its winter and spring. Cherry trees importance of conserving weight in insects every night. produce fruit in summer. And, the soil. Everything you Hickory trees produce nuts in grow in your habitat Also, birds such as Purple the fall. depends on the soil. The martins and Tree swallows, more fertile it is, the better consume large numbers of Food, water, and cover need your landscape plants will insects that can be harmful to be arranged close together grow. to trees, plants, and people. to produce optimum results. This cuts down on mortality If you landscape with native Even earthworms and from predators when wildlife prairie or meadow plants, rodents help by turning over move from one habitat element you will improve the soil the soil and recycling to another. Connecting because their root systems nutrients.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 4 A Plants Home
  5. 5. s Ecosystem Each species performs a The young and growing minds of children will thrive in your specific role in the wildlife habitat. They will experience the natural world and ecosystem that directly learn from it. benefits other living things, including people. Do your landscaping for wildlife as a family project. Let the children help plant and take care of trees, shrubs, A good example is that and flowers. Show them the eggs and nests of birds and squirrels help forests baby rabbits and let them fill bird feeders. continue to grow. The Think of your landscaping as nature’s classroom and squirrels bury acorns for your kids and their friends as students . food but fail to dig all of them up, so the acorn sprouts and produces a new oak tree. lawns were frequently s Food Production maintained by crews of hired Humans and wildlife would Other birds and animals gardeners, and that their both agree that fresh, scatter seeds throughout lush green color was due in local food is preferred. the landscape. Blue jays are large part to the damp, especially important in long temperate climate. When planting a garden, distance dispersal of plant enough to share acorns and beechnuts. They Lawns in this country are with others, rather than carry them to distant not only non-beneficial for depending on pesticides locations and bury the nuts wildlife, they can even be and other deterrents in soft earth or under harmful. We use huge which make the gardening leaves. quantities of water to keep experience less pleasant grass green – even in areas and less healthful for you, A Virginia study shows where the water supply is too. that 50 blue jays limited – and we spray it transported 150,000 with all sorts of chemicals For instance, bronze fennel acorns in one month. Some which are toxic to wildlife. looks lovely in the herb of the acorns were retrieved garden, and also provides by the jays and eaten later These poisons gradually a host plant for in the year. But, many were enter the water table and swallowtail caterpillars. left to regenerate the wash into the watershed, so forest! that all wildlife, including If you plant fruiting shrubs humans, is eventually and provide a water s Lawn Maintenance affected. source, you will attract One unfortunate carry-over birds and toads which will from our European In addition, lawns displace thank you by eating many ancestors is our love-affair plants which could otherwise of the non-beneficial bugs with lawns. provide food and cover for a in your garden. variety of wildlife. England, in particular, has s Pollution Control and marvelous expanses of Songbirds don’t even like to Climate Moderation green grass which we in this fly over large expanses of When planning your country have tried, with short grass because they landscape, think about all varying degrees of success, are so vulnerable to the ways (including shade to copy. predators, and instead will and windbreak mentioned make shorter flights from earlier) in which your Unfortunately, we neglected trees to shrubs or other choices can help you to take into account the plants around the perimeter moderate your own fact that those English of a large lawn. microclimate.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 5 A Plants Home
  6. 6. Hedgerows can change wind A wildflower meadow will feature to make it look like an patterns and make it possible attract many kinds of birds intentional part of your garden to plant in otherwise and butterflies, while even a rather than just an oversight. unsuitable areas, or you might small pond or wetland area use a row of evergreens to will bring in many creatures, As your neighbors show some block the noise from a nearby from frogs to raccoons. interest in the many species of road. Variety in your landscaping will wildlife that your yard is mean variety in your photos, attracting, give them tips on Plants of all kinds will purify sketches, or what you see how to get the same results on the air by removing carbon through your binoculars. their own property. dioxide and other pollutants and releasing oxygen. Certain Involving children in your plans Eventually you might be able plants (legumes) can also will make them more aware of to get enough people interested enrich and aerate the soil, nature and will educate them to create a “wildlife corridor" helping other things to grow about the needs and where each yard provides cover without the need for fertilizer preferences of different and perhaps other elements or soil enhancers. species. If there is someone in necessary for wildife. your family with a disability, s Biodiversity landscape plans can ensure You may have a hedgerow Thoughtful landscaping can that nature is close enough that provides cover and great help to maintain the to see without being able to flowers for nectar, another yard biodiversity of a given area. walk, or to hear, smell and may include a pond, and still This applies to genetics, to touch without needing sight. another neighbor may be species, to communities, and interested in growing fruiting to ecosystems. shrubs for food. Communication With By offering many kinds of Neighbors Is Key To Success In summary, there are many plants, you are ensuring that You need to have realistic reasons why you should a wide range of wildlife can expectations when landscaping landscape for wildlife. Only you thrive. for wildlife. This type of can decide which reasons fit landscaping is not entirely your situation. If the plants you choose are without problems. The first that native species, you are also you may encounter is resistance protecting genetic diversity by from your neighbors. This article was written by making sure that these Thomas D. Patrick, President, plants continue to reproduce It is often helpful if you let WindStar Wildlife Institute, and despite the encroachment of them know in advance what you Maryland Master Wildlife Habitat Naturalist Cathy Gilleland. many alien species. are planning to do, and why you feel that it is important. Be For more information or for the s Photography and informed about the plants you name of a Master Wildlife Habitat Wildlife Watching want to grow and the wildlife you Naturalist in your area, please Anyone who enjoys hope to attract. contact: photography will be delighted WindStar Wildlife Institute with the variety of wildlife Sometimes you will have to that will be attracted when politely educate them. For you landscape naturally. instance, it is a common belief that tall grasses bring in rats, E-mail: wildlife@windstar.org With careful planning, you can while in reality rodents are http://www.windstar.org bring many species within attracted by food that is left WindStar Wildlife Institute is a easy reach of your lens. Bird open and unattended, perhaps national, non-profit, conservation nesting boxes, fruiting plants, for household pets. organization whose mission is to nectar flowers, and water help individuals and families sources can all be placed If you want to leave a portion establish or improve the wildlife where they are easily seen of your yard unmowed, add a habitat on their properties. from a favorite window. bench, bird bath, fence, or other© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 6 A Plants Home