If you are interested in enhancing your backyard habitat for wildlife, focus on food, water, and cover. To attract wildlife, consider adding evergreens; grasses and legumes; plants for butterflies, bees and moths; plants for hummingbirds and orioles; summer fruit, berry and cover plants; winter fruit, seed and cover plants; plants that produce nuts and acorns; nest boxes, dead trees, fallen trees and perches; brush pies and rock piles; dust and grit; water; and feeders.
Landscape to Provide Food and Cover
Erect Artificial Nesting Structures
Provide water sources: Butterflies use mud puddles, and birds prefer birdbaths or shallow ponds. Birdbaths should be no more than 3" deep, with gently sloping sides, and a rough surface to provide good footing. Remember to change the water every few days to keep it fresh. A bird bath may be placed on the ground or on a pedestal. It should be 15 feet away from shrubs or trees where cats may hide, but provide a perch nearby. Dripping water is very attractive to birds. A heated birdbath will provide water all through the winter. Any creek, springs or wetlands on your property should be preserved. Natural breeding pools, called vernal pools, are very important. Vernal pools are usually located in small depressions or swales that collect spring snow melt or another runoff. They often dry up in the summer, but support amphibians such as spring peepers, wood frog, and spotted and Jefferson salamanders, along with many invertebrates such as insects, snails and tiny clams. Protect them from pollution or major alteration of vegetation immediately surrounding them. Brush piles and fallen logs provide shelter and concealment from predators.
More Information and References:· CT.gov Department of Energy & Environment Protection (CT DEEP)· Bat Conservation International· Bluebirds (Sialis.org) · Butterfly Gardens (CT DEEP)· CT Audubon· Gardening with native plants (CT Botanical Society) · Hummingbird maps· Dealing with injured wildlife - what to do, who to contact.· Landowner Incentive Program - CT (DEEP funding for certain wildlife enhancement projects) · Links to Articles on butterfly gardening, attracting birds, backyards for wildlife, etc. · National Audubon Society: Audubon at Home: increasing backyard biodiversity, gardening for birds and other wildlife, rethinking your lawn, reducing pesticide use.· Native Tree and Shrub Availability List for CT with list of nurseries, CT DEEP· The National Wildlife Federation· Planting for wildlife: short list of plants preferred by bluebirds and hummingbirds. · State Environmental Conservation Police· U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service· Wetlands, vernal pools, etc., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website · Wildlife Habitat Council
References:· Coverstone, Nancy, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Habitats: A Fact Sheet Series on Managing Lands for Wildlife, Bulletin # 7137. · Picone, Peter M., Connecticut DEEP, Bureau of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division, Enhancing your Backyard Habitat for Wildlife, 1995.· USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the National Association of Conservation Districts Wildlife Habitat Council, Backyard Conservation, July 1998.
Until fairly recently, Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) were uncommon in Connecticut, mainly due to loss of habitat (open space and snags), and competition for nesting sites from introduced species (starlings and house [English] sparrows). However, bluebirds are coming back. They are fascinating, beautiful birds. You can help increase their numbers. The keys are:
Learn more about your favorite birds at NestWatch: Where Birds Come to Life
COMMON NAME SIENTIFIC NAME Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosusAmerican Black Duck Anas rubripesAmerican Coot Fulica americanaAmerican Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis American Kestrel Falco sparveriusAmerican Redstart Setophaga ruticilla American Robin Turdus migratorius Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula Bank Swallow Riparia riparia Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmusBlackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus Black-th. Green Warbler Dendroica virens Black-thr. Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterusBrown Creeper Certhia americana Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater Canada Goose Branta canadensisCanada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperiiDark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe Eastern Screech-Owl Otus asioEastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens European Starling Sturnus vulgaris Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis Great Blue Heron Ardea herodiasGreat Horned Owl Bubo virginianusGreen Heron Butorides virescensGrt. Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus House Sparrow Passer domesticus House Wren Troglodytes aedon Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea Killdeer Charadrius vociferusLeast Flycatcher Empidonax minimus Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla Mallard Anas platyrhynchosMarsh Wren Cistothorus palustris Mourning Dove Zenaida macrouraNorthern Bobwhite Colinus virginianusNorthern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus Pine Warbler Dendroica pinus Prairie Warbler Dendroica discolor Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensisRed-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicusRock Dove Columba liviaRose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus Ruby-thr. Hummingbird Archilochus colubris Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellusScarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatusSong Sparrow Melospiza melodia Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor Turkey Vulture Cathartes auraVeery Catharus fuscescens Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus Whip-poor-will Camprimulgus vociferusWhite-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavoWillow/Alder Flycatcher Empidonax spp. Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes Wood Duck Aix sponsaWood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivorus Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanusYellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons (pictured above).
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