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Birdscapes and Landscapes - Wild Birds and Wildlife

Bird-Friendly Landscape Designs and Installations

A bird-friendly habitat provides necessary food, water, shelter and nesting opprotunities. A plan to provide these essential elements with a functional and beautiful landscape design is called birdscaping. Through a combination of high-desert plant selection and identification of desireable local birds, a plan to create a backyard habitat can be formalized by our landscape team. Call our landscape coordinator at 775-825-0602 ext. 134 to get started with a professional estimate.

Creating a Backyard Habitat
What is a Backyard Habitat? A habitat is an area that provides wildlife and birds with four basic needs: food, water, shelter and a place to raise young. Thousands of people nationwide have taken it upon themselves to provide these four essential elements in their own backyards. Wild Birds Unlimited Certified Bird Feeding Specialists are happy to provide advice and assistance to help you accomplish your backyard habitat goals.

What is the definition of wildlife?
Wildlife includes wild mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and many other organisms.

Why should you get involved?
Creating habitats can make sure wildlife has a place to live. It is a fun and rewarding activity. Start with your own backyard. Continue creating habitats in your neighborhood and community. Consider helping to create habitats in schoolyards, businesses, and communities.

Planning a Backyard Habitat
The combination of habitat elements you provide should take into consideration the needs of the wildlife you wish to attract. The widest variety of habitat elements will attract the greatest number of birds and other animals to your yard. All wildlife requires four basic elements to survive: food, water, cover, and places to reproduce and raise young.

The Four Elements of Creating a Backyard Habitat

  • Food for Wildlife - The ideal wildlife habitat supplies food through vegetation. This type of food source meets the year round needs of many species of birds and other wildlife. Shrubs, trees, and other plants that produce foods such as acorns, nuts, berries, and other seeds as well as buds, fruit, nectar and pollen should be planted as much as possible. Natural food sources can also be supplemented through supplying bird feeders. Food through feeders - Adding several varieties of feeders to the landscape will attract the greatest variety of birds to your yard. Because birds have different feeding requirements you will want to provide different feeders and foods. Nectar feeders are popular with hummingbirds. Providing the sugar water in a hummingbird feeder supplements the nectar and insects that your hummingbird flowers provide. Platform feeders, hopper feeders (wood feeders with a place to hold seed and a perching area) and tube feeders are popular ways to offer different kinds of seeds and seed blends.
  • Water - Wildlife needs water, both for drinking and bathing. Water can be supplied in a birdbath, a small pool,a recirculating waterfall, a shallow dish, or through a dripper or mister. A reliable source of water is important in a wildlife habitat area. An elevated birdbath will protect birds from cats and other predators, and can be an attractive addition to the yard. A mister or dripper added to a birdbath will create an inviting sound to help attract birds and wildlife. A small pool set into the ground can provide not only water for drinking and bathing, but cover and reproductive areas for small fish, frogs, insects, and reptiles. A dependable, year-round water source is best. In summer heat, be sure to replace water regularly and to keep birdbaths clean.
  • Cover/Shelter - Wildlife needs protective cover just as people need the shelter of a house. Cover can be provided in many forms. Plants that offer food can also provide cover. Dense shrubs, evergreens, hollow logs, rock piles, brush piles, and stonewalls provide cover for many animal species.
  • Places to Raise Young - A more specific kind of cover where birds and animals can reproduce is needed to make a backyard habitat complete. These areas provide space for courtship and for protecting young animals, whether they’re birds in a nest, tadpoles in a shallow pool or specific plants upon which butterfly caterpillars depend. Bird nest boxes and nesting shelves can be offered. Bat boxes will provide safe rearing areas when den trees are not available. Dense plantings of shrubbery provide safe areas for many species of wildlife. Planting plants specifically for butterflies to use as hosts plants can ensure that the butterflies have a place to reproduce.

Backyard Habitats as Important Stop Over Points for Migratory Birds
Many birds migrate great distances in the spring to reach their summer homes. As birds leave their winter home to return to their breeding grounds, they need habitats as stop-over points before they reach their final destination. The stop-over habitats are necessary for birds to be able to rest, eat and gain their strength to continue their journey to find a place to raise their young. As we create habitats in backyards, in schoolyards, at businesses and in our communities, we need to remember the importance of these habitats to the birds that make their long journeys north and then south again in the fall. In the early spring, many birds alter their diet and depend heavily upon insects. By providing nectar producing native plants you are also providing places for insects that the birds will feast upon. Not only will the birds appreciate it, but the butterflies and bees will also benefit!

Visit our Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops in each Garden Center location or see more on our Reno-Sparks Wild Birds website.