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Creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat in Your Backyard





You can download the Requirements Checklist to confirm you have all the elements necessary to be certified.

 

FOOD


Does your habitat provide at least three (3) food sources for wildlife?

Native plants provide food eaten by a variety of wildlife. Feeders can supplement natural food sources. 


Examples:

  • Native plants that offer seeds, berries, nuts, or nectar.

  • Healthy insect population.

  • Supplemental bird feeders.


Seeds

  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): Produces seeds favored by birds.

  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea): Attracts birds with its seeds and is also a nectar source.

  • Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium): The seeds of this grass are popular with many birds.

Berries

  • American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): Produces clusters of purple berries, a bird favorite.

  • Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria): Offers bright red berries, a food source for birds.

  • Agarita (Mahonia trifoliolata): Produces red berries popular among wildlife.

  • Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana): Produces black, sweet fruit that is a favorite of birds and mammals.

  • Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera): The small, bluish-gray berries are a valuable food source for birds, especially in winter.

Nuts

  • Texas Pecan (Carya illinoinensis): State tree of Texas, provides nuts for wildlife.

  • Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa): Its acorns are a significant food source for many animals.

  • Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana): Produces plum fruits that wildlife can eat.

Nectar

  • Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus): Red flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies.

  • Texas Sage (Salvia coccinea): A favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies.

  • Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides): Known for its colorful flowers that provide nectar for butterflies and other pollinators.




 

WATER 


Does your habitat provide at least one (1) water source for wildlife?

All animals need water to survive; some need it for bathing or breeding. 

For small spaces, consider adding bird baths and container water gardens. 

Consider adding a rain garden, pond, or backyard marsh for larger properties.


Examples:

  • Birdbath.

  • Water Garden.

  • Water dish.

  • Natural stream or pond.



 

COVER 


Does your habitat provide at least two (2) sources of cover for wildlife?

Wildlife need places to shelter from bad weather and hide from predators or hunt for prey.


Examples:

  • Dense vegetation

  • Brush

  • Bat House

  • Roosting box

  • Wooded Area

  • Bramble Patch

  • Ground Cover

  • Rock Pile or Wall

  • Cave

  • Dense Shrubs or Thicket

  • Evergreens

  • Log Pile

  • Burrow

  • Meadow or Prairie

  • Water Garden or Pond



 

PLACES TO RAISE YOUNG 


Does your habitat provide at least two (2) places where wildlife can raise their young?

Wildlife need resources to reproduce, protect, and nourish their young.


Examples:

  • Mature Trees

  • Meadow or Prairie

  • Nesting Box

  • Wetland

  • Cave

  • Host Plants for Caterpillars

  • Dead Trees or Snags

  • Dense Shrubs or a Thicket

  • Water Garden or Pond

  • Burrow



 

SUSTAINABILITY


Do you employ at least two (2) practices from the sustainable gardening categories?:

Maintain your yard or garden naturally to ensure soil, air, and water stay healthy and clean.


SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION

Examples: Limit water use, compost, mulch, reduce lawn and pavement, use a soaker hose, or install a rain garden.


CONTROLLING INVASIVE EXOTIC SPECIES   

Examples: Use native plants, remove invasive exotic plants, and keep cats indoors.


ORGANIC PRACTICES   

Examples: Eliminate chemical pesticides and fertilizers and attract beneficial insects.




 



Source: © National Wildlife Federation


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