Talk to anyone involved in the improvement of      W      hen it comes to wildlife, we                                    ...
Dead trees are only one               Whenever you can create             Discarded Christmas trees are    example of “fre...
The size of the animal isn’t    always the determining factor.    Woodchucks can be found as                              ...
Abundance & Home Range Requirements*        Species                  Abundance                   Range    Beaver          ...
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Cover & Space of a Nature Habitat


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Talk to anyone involved in the improvement of wildlife habitat and you will hear four words – food, water, cover, and space. These are the four essentials for wildlife. Without them you can have the best intentions in the world, but you won’t attract a wide variety of
species to your property.

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Cover & Space of a Nature Habitat

  1. 1. Talk to anyone involved in the improvement of W hen it comes to wildlife, we automatically think about food and water, but cover needs wildlife habitat and you will hear four words – are also critical for species food, water, cover, and space. survival. Usually our involvement with cover for wildlife ends with These are the four essentials for wildlife. putting up a few bird nesting Without them you can have the best intentions in boxes. the world, but you won’t attract a wide variety of These are fine, and have the species to your property. added benefit of being attractive and easy to place in Cover & Space the yard, but other kinds of wildlife require other types of shelter. Wildlife needs protection from both predators Essential Elements and harsh weather, a place to of a Wildlife Habitat stay cool or warm in season, and a well-concealed location to raise a family. For more nature habitat information Visit these helpful websites: Trees are obvious additions to the landscape, particularly pines which retain their A Plants Home A Birds Home sheltering qualities throughout A Homesteaders Home the winter. Letting the branches of evergreens – and deciduous trees during the summer – grow unpruned to the ground is an easy way to increase cover for a variety of small species. While we tend to be quick to remove dead trees, standing “snags" and fallen logs are invaluable for wildlife. They offer both shelter and food to over 40 species of birds and more than 20 kinds of mammals. In addition, by attracting insect- eating wildlife, they indirectly serve to protect the living plants on your property. Leave Dead Trees If they are not threatening people or structures, or if they can be reinforced or moved to a safer location, letting dead trees remain part of your wildlife habitat will be of great benefit.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 1 A Plants Home
  2. 2. Dead trees are only one Whenever you can create Discarded Christmas trees are example of “free" shelter that this kind of environment, it will one source of brush pile we remove when we manicure our sustain the widest variety of material. The foundation should yards. Mowing takes away the wildlife. The same can be said consist of large rocks or big logs tall grasses that protect large of planting in “levels," from which won’t decompose too numbers of birds and small ground covers through shrubs, quickly. mammals. Allowing a corner of on into small trees and finally the yard, or a strip along one tall upper-story trees. edge of your property, to grow tall will help wildlife, while still Reduce Open Areas retaining lawn areas for your While maintaining open areas family. for your family, there are corner-of-the-yard additions Adding a fence, paths, or a that provide protective bench can make this shelter, nesting sites, and environment looked more escape routes for such planned and acceptable in creatures as rabbits, foxes, neighborhoods with strict and woodchucks. Rock piles or walls can be at zoning regulations, as well as the back of your lot, or in the encouraging you to walk inside Hedgerows of dogwood, center of a pond. They attract for a closer look. honeysuckle, redbud, or wild ducks and turtles, so avoid cherry offer both shelter and placing them near the edge of You can let naturally- food, as do thickets of roses the water where those species occurring vegetation grow tall or blackberries. If you have the would be more vulnerable to enough to offer shelter, or you space, field crops such as predators. Providing food and might want to think about corn, grain sorghum, or water sources close to any creating a wildflower meadow soybeans are excellent. shelter feature will naturally for additional color and beauty. make it even more attractive to Brush piles are another wildlife. One of the best places to find possibility, and should be diversity of wildlife is known as placed near the edge of woods, Space to Raise a Family “edge," that area where or at the edge of a pond with As humans, when we think different types of plant part of the brush submerged. about desirable space, we tend communities come together. They should be about 5 ft. high to picture it wide and open. For This might involve an abrupt and at least 12 ft. in diameter. us, it is more of a luxury than a change, such as woods to tilled necessity. While we can continue farmland; or a more gradual to exist, even if more stressfully, transition from woods to a tall within limited space, this isn’t grass and brush-filled field. the case for wildlife. Each species has a minimum area that it requires for food, water, raising a family, and basic survival. This varies from very small habitats to large tracts of unbroken forest. While there can be two to four chipmunks per acre with a range as small as half an acre, ideally there will be only one to four raccoons per 47 acres, and their range can be almost two miles.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 2 A Plants Home
  3. 3. The size of the animal isn’t always the determining factor. Woodchucks can be found as Feeders densely populated as ten per acre, with a range of only a quarter of a mile, but opossums, which are similar in size, are only found two per mile, with a range of 12 acres. Needs within one species also vary. Adult turkeys need mature trees to roost in and to provide food such as acorns, but their young require clearings with short grass where they can find insects to eat. Some species, such as bluebirds, will defend a Structural Plant territorial area, while others like Components Components purple martins enjoy living in close communities. Sixteen Components of Wildlife Habitat While we can adapt fairly easily – Landscaping for Wildlife to cramped quarters, the wildlife need for space refers to more If photography is your aim, be family contributing something – than actual distance between sure that there is some shelter water, feeders, shrubs with individuals. It means the total to hide behind while watching winter berries – to the environment within that area. animals drink and bathe. While combined landscape. Squeezing species into ever- improving habitat certainly shrinking space can mean the benefits wildlife, it should also In other situations, death of individuals and, in the bring you pleasure and, if well- communities are working to worst case, extinction. designed and built around enhance common areas, such native plants, be relatively self- as public parks or retirement Variety Attracts Variety sustaining. home properties. By increasing the variety of foods, types of vegetation, and It is very important to By improving one’s own heights of habitat, as well as landscape our own properties property, others notice the offering plentiful nourishment to be more supportive of wildlife, increased beauty and pleasure, and water, you will be able to but it is equally important to and they are inspired to follow attract the widest variety of encourage others to do the that example. In this way, small wildlife to your property. same. By linking a number of changes can add up to major yards, farms, and small tracts benefits to wildlife and the When designing your landscape of trees through the efforts of overall environment. to increase available space for individual owners, we are giving different species, also think creatures a much greater Start today to think about about your own plans for chance to thrive by creating ways to provide the four interacting with wildlife. “wildlife corridors." essentials for wildlife, and soon you will be an integral part of If you are trying to attract a Neighbors as a Team the growing movement to lot of birds, place feeders and In some parts of the country, restore habitat and increase natural food sources in clear whole neighborhoods are the survival of our country’s view from your window. starting to work together, each wildlife species.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 3 A Plants Home
  4. 4. Abundance & Home Range Requirements* Species Abundance Range Beaver .5/acre, 5-8 per colony 450 ft. from water Big Brown Bat 12 to 200 per colony 30 mi. from birthplace Black Bear 1 to 1.3 per mile Females 1 to 10 miles Males 30 to 40 miles Bobcat 1 per 2 to 4 miles .4 to 16 miles Coyote 1 per 2 miles Females 10 to 30 miles Males 40 miles Eastern Chipmunk 2 to 4 per acre .5 to 1 acre Eastern Mole 1 per 3 to 5 acres .3 acre Gray Fox .01 per acre 1 to 5 miles Gray Squirrel N/A 2 to 7 acres Long-tailed Weasel 1 per 16 to 18 miles 30 to 40 acres Mink N/A 2 to 3 miles Meadow Vole 35 per acre .1 to .23 acres Muskrat 10 per acre (fall) 200 yards from den Opossum 2 per mile 12 acres Raccoon 1 per 4 to 47 acres .6 to 1.8 miles Red Squirrel .8 to 3.8 per acre 3 to 6 acres This article was written by Maryland Master Wildlife Habitat Red Fox .01 acres 1 to 2 miles Naturalist Cathy Gilleland. Short-tailed For more information or for the Shrew Max: 48 per acre .5 to 1.25 acres name of a Master Wildlife Habitat Naturalist in your area, please Striped Skunk 31 per mile .25 to .5 miles contact: Southern Flying WindStar Wildlife Institute Squirrel Max: 5 per acre .5 acre E-mail: White-footed Mouse Max: 15 per acre .1 to .5 acre White-tailed Deer Max: 100 per mile 150 to 500 acres WindStar Wildlife Institute is a national, non-profit, conservation Woodchuck 1.3 to 10 per acre .25 to .5 mile organization whose mission is to help individuals and families establish or improve the wildlife * Compiled by J.S. Barclay and C. Grambartolomer Green habitat on their properties.© WindStar Wildlife Institute Page 4 A Plants Home