great spangled fritillary butterly

Places to Raise Young – Creating Your Backyard Habitat

 

tree_sparrow_chicks_nest_fws.gov
Tree Sparrow Chicks in a nest. Photo courtesy of Fish and Wildlife Service, US government.

A place to raise young is a final feature to finish a backyard habitat. This feature serves many purposes.

  • a safe place to give birth
  • a safe haven to rear offspring
  • nesting sites to incubate eggs
  • den sites to rear babies
  • undisturbed courtship and mating areas

To decide what you can provide take note of the animals that visit your habitat or live in your local area. Take note of the resources are already around you. It is just a matter of what fits in best with your habitat.

With the destruction of natural areas, animals have fewer and fewer places to reproduce and rear offspring. We can provide several features to help them out.

Eastern garter snakes frequent my backyard. They like the dark moist
areas under tree stumps, stones and other crevices. I know they patrol
my garden at night, eating slugs, grasshoppers, and dead animals. One
evening I spotted a baby Eastern Garter snake slithering through the grass. They are in my backyard reproducing. They hide underneath rock piles and flat stones. I leave the places they like to den undisturbed.

cabbage white butterfly larva
A cabbage White Butterfly caterpillar munches on a rose leaf in my garden. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Butterflies and moths use plants in my backyard habitat to lay their eggs. Their larva or caterpillar, feed on the leaves. These plants are called butterfly host plants.

Numerous insects, beetles other invertebrate use the fallen leaf litter and soil to lay eggs.

Here are some examples of the places you can provide for animals to
reproduce.

  • log piles
  • leaf litter
  • snags
  • brush piles
  • nooks, crannies and crevices
  • backyard-pond (pdf)
  • backyard-wetland (pdf)
  • rocky walls and piles
  • bird nest boxes and platforms
  • bat houses
  • bee houses
  • butterfly host plants
  • trees and shrubs

Bat houses, bird houses and other structures can be either hand-made or bought ready-made. This pdf on building-nest-structures from the North Dakota State Fish and Game Department is extensive. It has structures to build for a variety of animals.

barn swallow and nest box
Barn Swallow nest box at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum in Philadelphia. Photo by Donna L. Long.

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