The Registry of Nature
Attracting Wildlife to Your Back
A Guide to Increasing Wildlife Diversity
and Aesthetic Value Around Your Home
3. Developing a
Planting and Component Plan
3. DEVELOPING A PLANTING AND COMPONENT
Begin by sketching on the drawing of your backyard
where you want to put plantings and other features for wildlife
based upon the availability of space. This can be drawn directly on
the original map or on an overlay. The overlay method is
particularly useful if you plan to work in increments over a period
of a few years. Separate overlays can be made for each year of
development or one overlay can be color-coded to represent
successive years of development.
A yard will be in one of three "stages" as you begin
adding plans for wildlife components.
If you start from scratch in a bare or sodded yard,
you will be in Stage I. The potential to attract wildlife will be
minimal and you will need to provide artificial food, water and nest
boxes to attract wildlife. Remember, even nest boxes and feeders are
not as attractive without surrounding vegetation and only time will
remedy this situation through implementation of a planting plan as
soon as possible. Bringing in larger transplants will expedite the
process if that option is within your budget.
It takes somewhere between five and ten years to
progress from the plantings of the first stage to the fairly mature
condition of Stage II. In this stage, there will be enough flowers,
grasses, and fruit to attract a variety of birds, small mammals,
insects and amphibians. A small pond can replace the bird bath and a
variety of shrubs and grasses will allow some songbirds to nest.
Young fruit-bearing trees will provide some food for wildlife.
|Use the following list to get you thinking about
the possibilities for your own yard.|
THAT ATTRACT WILDLIFE TO YOUR BACK YARD
- NEST BOXES
- NUT AND FRUIT PRODUCING
- BRUSH PILES
- DECIDUOUS TREES
Starting from scratch, it will take 30-40 years to reach
this stage. If your yard already has a reasonable number of large
trees that produce fruits and nuts, shrubs and medium-sized plants
can be added to enhance the understory and achieve this stage in 5-
10 years. Stage III attracts the maximum number of wildlife species
because it exhibits the largest amount of "edge." Edge, as you
remember, is defined as a habitat with the greatest variety of
vegetation types, heights, and arrangements, along with the addition
of other wildlife components to make homes for wildlife.
In this stage, birds such as the oriole will nest in
the highest branches of the mature trees; warblers will feed in the
tree tops; chipping sparrows will nest in the dense branches of the
conifers. Rabbits will live in a brush pile, feed on low shrubs and
raise their young in dense underbrush. Squirrels, kestrels, and bats
will take advantage of hollow cavities in the dead and dying trees
or nest boxes. Insects will attract insect eating birds like the
nighthawk. Frogs living in, and near, a wetland will provide food
for wading birds such as the heron or land mammals like the raccoon.
Once you have decided what stage your yard is in,
you are now ready to begin planning the addition of components which
will attract wildlife to your back yard.
Section -- Landscape Planning: 2. Producing
a Drawing of the Property
Next Section -- Landscape
Planning: 4. Choosing and Planting Components