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Habitat Components
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Water - It is the most important factor to attracting wildlife to a habitat.  Without it birds insects and animals can not survive.  Water can be provided by many sources.  They may be natural or can be provided by as little as bird baths or a man made pond.  Wildlife prefers a well balanced source of water.  If you use bird baths, it is very important to keep them clean as the water will become dirty.  If you put in a pond, it is very important to develop a balance.  This will keep the water clean and healthy.  Details on building and maintaing ponds is found in Building a Pond.  Moving water is always preferable to standing water and shallow water is better than deep water.

The use of chemicals in water will affect the balance and in return reduce the wildlife using it.  Avoid at all costs the use of any chemicals in your water source.

There is always a concern about mosquitos.  A well balance pond will hatch very few mosquitos.  Most of the larvae will be eaten well before they have a change to emerge from the water.  Most mosquitos hatch in water that is not in balance.  These are pockets of water they contain little or no predators.  The best way to control mosquitos is too locate these sources and eliminate them.  Most wildlife do not use these sources for water anyway.  These can be planters, an old tire, clogged gutters ( the most common), etc...  It is always better to eliminate the source than spray chemicals that will affect other wildlife.

Birds - Bird baths and shallow areas in ponds are very good sources.  Bird baths should be placed in areas that are shaded.  This will keep the water cool on hot days.  It is a good practice to use your bird bath year round.  In cold areas birds may find it difficult to find water.

Small Mammals - Ponds or small containers work well.  These should also be in a shaded area.

Butterflies, Moths & Bees - If you have a pond it is good practice to provide an area that is muddy with little or no surface water at one or more edges.  These critters will flock to these locations for a drink.  If you do not have a pond, a tray with mud is a good substitute.

Frogs, Salamanders, Dragonflies - These guys need more water.  A small pond is a minimum requirement.  They like deeper water for protection, food and hibrination.  No need to bring them in when you build a pond, they will soon populate any new pond that is built.  Again chemicals are no good and will affect these critters also.

Large Mammals - Only attempt to attract large mammals if you have a large enough property to enjoy them without having any interaction with them.  If a squirrel becomes a nuisence, that is all it is.  If Deer or a Bear becomes a nuisence, you have a problem.  These animals will require a large pond and many acres.  They may destroy the habitat of a smaller water source, knock over bird baths and do damage to other structures.  For most people these large mammals are best discouraged from using your property.


 










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