Backyard Habitat
Ten Tips For Backyard Habitat
bullet SELECT WILDLIFE FOOD PLANTS: Provide nuts, berries, buds, catkins, fruits, nectar, and seeds that mature in different seasons. Plants that attract insects attract birds! Each species of butterfly and moth requires a specific plant on which to raise its caterpillar.
bullet PROVIDE WATER: Provide water year-round for birds; wet soil in summer for butterflies.
bullet PROVIDE SHELTER: Evergreens and dense shrubs are best. Supplement live shelter with brush and rock piles for the winter.
bullet REDUCE LAWN AREAS: Lawns provide virtually NO wildlife benefit except to deer and Canada Geese. Reduce lawn areas to the minimum required for human needs.
bullet INCREASE DIVERSITY: A diverse habitat is a healthy habitat. Plant a variety of food plants to provide a variety of food throughout the year.
bullet PLANT NATIVES: It is a fact; native birds and butterflies prefer native plants! A number of non-native flowering plants compliment a native garden, but absolutely avoid invasives, like Purple Loosestrife!
bullet LOVE BUGS: No insecticides; minimize the use of all chemicals. Birds and bats require insects to survive. In turn, they are our best insect controls. Very few insects are pests; learn to embrace beneficial insects and to tolerate a few of the pests. "Bug zappers" kill far more beneficial insects than nuisance ones.
bullet GO WILD: Let part of your yard grow as it wishes, removing only those plants considered to be "invasive." Many "weeds" provide seeds for birds. This is especially true of annuals. Help NJAS educate the public and push to overturn restrictive "weed" ordinances.
bullet REDUCE FALL CLEANUP: Birds eat dried seeds in winter; Many butterflies and moths spend the winter as eggs, caterpillars, or pupa in leaf litter or on "dead" plant materials -- a lovely excuse not to be too tidy. Raking leaves and removing flower stalks  removes next year's butterflies and moths.
bullet RELAX AND ENJOY! The less mowing, weeding, pruning, and fussing with your yard you do, the more wildlife will love it. Use the time you save to watch your wild friends. Invite your neighbors over, maybe they will follow your lead and develop more backyard habitat.