Backyard Wildlife Primer

Backyard wildlife primer for identifying animals in their natural habitat. Includes a wildlife chart with recommended shrubs and trees to plant, and chart with suggested sizes for bird nesting boxes.


| September/October 1986



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Providing quality breeding habitat is the primary objective of wildlife management. Furnishing food and other comforts is important, but your main goal should be to create a stable, secure place in which wildlife can live and propagate.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

MOTHER'S mini-manual backyard wildlife primer with suggested plant landscaping and bird nesting boxes to establish animal habitats. (See the wildlife charts in the image gallery).

A plain, rich in woods and savannahs, swarming with Bisons or buffaloes, Stags, and Virginian Deer, with Bears, and great variety of game, occupies an amazing tract, from the great lakes of Canada, as low as the gulf of Mexico; and eastward to the other great chain of mountains, the Appalachian . . .
— Thomas Pennant (1785)
 

Our landscape has changed since Thomas Pennant observed virgin America's natural abundance two centuries ago. The lands composing most of Pennant's "amazing tract," and those to the east and west as well, have been paved, plowed, subdivided, and otherwise relegated to human use. And, in the process, we have damaged or destroyed many of the ecosystems that once supported such an awesome diversity of native wildlife.

But the good news is that loss of wildlife habitats is one problem the average person can do something about. Regardless of how much or how little space you occupy on this planet, you have the power to help make that space hospitable to wildlife with the help of this backyard wildlife primer. By developing an awareness of the needs of local birds and animals and by taking a few simple steps to help provide for those needs you can help reverse a centuries-long trend of habitat destruction.

And that's only one of the rewards of managing your land for wildlife. In most cases you'll spend less time and money mowing and manicuring your property. The value of your land is likely to increase — according to the National Wildlife Federation, adding vegetation and tree cover can raise property values by 3% to 10%. Of course, there's the sheer enjoyment of watching wild birds and animals benefit from your stewardship. And perhaps most important, the time that you spend learning about and working with wildlife will sharpen your awareness of the ecosystems around you.

And remember: Any piece of land can be managed to support at least some species of wildlife. Generally, the more land you have to work with, the more birds and animals you'll be able to accommodate. But even a quarter-acre suburban lot can serve as a haven for a large variety of backyard wildlife — if the right conditions are present.





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