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Habitat Components
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The Registry of Nature Habitats

The most important decision in creating a nature habitat is to define your goals.  First you must identify your final objectives:

 

  • Wildlife Watching
  • Gardening
  • Photography
  • Preserve

 Once this has been established a budget must be set. 

 

  • How much capital expenses each year
  • How much total capital expenses
  • How much maintenance costs/year

 

Now an overhead map must be drawn to see your property.  This will be used to sketch out designs for developing your habitat plan.  Identify any of the sixteen components of a natural habitat.  Depending on how many you have will determine your starting point. 

 

Structural Components

  1. Feeders
  2. Water
  3. Dust Beds & Grit
  4. Salt
  5. Cut Banks, Cliffs & Caves
  6. Brush & Rock Piles
  7. Snags
  8. Nest Boxes

Plant Components

  1. Conifers
  2. Grasses & Legumes
  3. Butterfly, Bees & Moth Plants
  4. Hummingbird Plants
  5. Summer Plants
  6. Fall Plants
  7. Winter Plants
  8. Nut & Acorn Trees

 

Some of these components are easy to introduce, while others take many years to develop & grow.  Some of us are fortunate to have mature trees that can provide nuts and acorns, brush piles with debris and snags when they die.  If you have mature trees you have the opportunity to create a full habitat within a few short years.  If mature trees are not found on your property, a different type of approach is needed.  The key is provide the components that best suit your environment. 

 

The sixteen components need to supply these four elements for a successful habitat.

 

  1. Water
  2. Food
  3. Cover
  4. Space

 

So where do we start?  Provide Water!  Water is the most important ingredient to a nature habitat.  Birds, mammals and insects will search it out. 

 

Water may be in the form of:

 

  • Bird Baths
  • Pond
  • Stream
  • Marsh
  • Lake

 

Of course the only ones you can introduce are ponds and bird baths.  Bird baths come in all shapes and sizes with misters and heaters for the winter.  Yes, Birds use bird baths in the winter months!  For those with a larger budget, you may chose to put in a small pond.  This may be done with a pre-formed container or with a liner.  These of course will take more work and money.

 

 

Once you have drawn in wildlife by providing water, the next step is to provide a food source.  This could be in the form of natural foods from trees and shrubs or it may be seeds and fruits provided by feeders.    

 

Once the critters are visiting your property for water and food, they will soon look for cover to nest and roost.  Cover will usually be in the form of dense vegetation for birds, rock walls for chipmunks, etc… 

 

The final ingredient is Space.  Space doesn’t mean large property.  It has to with each species need to live and raise young.  If you have a ¼ acre property, do not expect to get more than one nesting pairs of most birds.  Each pair of birds will defend a specific plot of land.

 

With all of this in mind, draw up a current site map.











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