Share | facebook twitter flickr flickr
DonateAdoptExplore

Did you know?

Each spring New Jersey is host to the largest concentration of shorebirds in North America.

Image of Facebook icon

Image of Twitter logo

Image of Instagram logo

 

Backyard Wildlife Habitats in New Jersey

No matter where you live in New Jersey, you can have a positive impact on wildlife. Here you can learn ways to improve your backyard for local wildlife.


Image of A small wildflower bed is established in a homeowners backyard to provide food for butterlifes and hummingbirds.A small wildflower bed is established in a homeowners backyard to provide food for butterlifes and hummingbirds. © Ben Wurst
Addressing the Need

In New Jersey, more than half of the state is developed. This development has degraded, damaged, or destroyed a large percentage of wildlife habitats. It has caused many common species to decline in numbers because of loss of habitat. By providing habitat, even in small spaces, you can have an impact and help to reverse their decline. Your backyard can attract birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants provide food and cover for wildlife. Ponds provide watering sites for birds and mammals and provide breeding sites for many reptiles and amphibians. Here we will demonstrate sev­eral ways that you can attract and benefit wildlife in your backyard.

Habitat Types and Treatments

To help attract wildlife to your backyard you can install or create several different features to do so. These features are designed to provide both food and cover for wildlife.

Brush piles

They provide cover and breeding sites for ground nesting birds and small mammals including chipmunks and white-footed mice.

Ponds and wetlands

Many are critical for many species to survive. Mammals and birds are attracted to these areas to drink. Wading birds, like herons and egrets feed on frogs and tadpoles and waterfowl eat aquatic vegetation. Seasonal wetlands or vernal pools are more important for wildlife, especially frogs, toads, and salamanders since they do not contain fish, which eat their eggs and larvae.

Image of A field that has been seeded with native warm-season grasses provides both food and cover to wildlife.Zoom+ A field that has been seeded with native warm-season grasses provides both food and cover to wildlife. © MacKenzie Hall
Meadows and grasslands

They contain wildflowers and warm-season grasses provide both food and cover for wildlife. Warm-season grasses provide food (from the grasses themselves) and from the invertebrates that are attracted to them. They can also survive severe droughty periods and need little maintenance once established. There is also little to no need for pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Creating a meadow is as easy as choosing to not mow a portion of your yard. Eventually the site will colonize with native grasses and wildflowers like Switchgrass, goldenrods, asters, and Common milkweed. Some species that utilize grasslands are the Bobolink, Savannah sparrow, Grasshopper sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Field sparrow, Vesper sparrow, Northern bobwhite, Wild turkey, and other small game birds.

Image of Ben Wurst drives in a stake to hold a tree tube to protect a "bare-root" seedling at a reforestation site in Cape May, New Jersey.Zoom+ Ben Wurst drives in a stake to hold a tree tube to protect a "bare-root" seedling at a reforestation site in Cape May, New Jersey. © Ben Wurst
Reforestation

This is a critical tool for reconnecting fragmented habitat. Forested areas, large or small provide habitat for many species of birds for nesting and during migration. By planting “bare-root” or “balled-root” trees you can speed up natural succession and provide both food and cover for wildlife.

Scrub-shrub

This habitat type is also known as an early successional habitat, and without proper management can become a forest. When forests become fragmented, a “hard-edge” is created, with little or no transition from a forest to a lawn or meadow. Planting shrubs can create an important “transitional zone” along with food and cover for migratory birds.


Landscaping for Wildlife

Here are several files that are available for download. Each of the files will give you "how to" instructions on creating each one of these habitat features in your backyard.

Download Creating Forest Roosts For Bats

Creating Forest Roosts For Bats - 246.6KB
Photos and tips on how to create natural & man-made homes for bats that live in the woods.

Download Landscaping for Wildlife

Landscaping for Wildlife - 1.2MB
Information about landscaping for wildlife in your own backyard.

Download Landscaping for Wildlife - Brush Pile

Landscaping for Wildlife - Brush Pile - 606.0KB
Information on how to create a brush pile for wildlife.

Download Landscaping for Wildlife - Forests

Landscaping for Wildlife - Forests - 564.1KB
Information about forests and reforestation for wildlife.

Download Landscaping for Wildlife - Shrubs

Landscaping for Wildlife - Shrubs - 824.7KB
Information about creating scrub-shrub habitat in your backyard.

Download Landscaping for Wildlife - Wildflowers

Landscaping for Wildlife - Wildflowers - 691.9KB
Detailed information and "how-to" plans for establishing wildflower beds in your own backyard.


Find Related Info: Habitat Restoration

Events Calendar 

< < Oct 2014 > >
SMTWThFS
1
23
567891011
12131415161718
192021222425
262728293031

Women & Wildlife Awards

Our Species

Image of American burying beetle.

Explore our online field guide that depicts over 170 species of rare wildlife in New Jersey and learn about how we are working to protect them.

 

Wildlife Photographers

Join our Rare Wildlife of New Jersey group on:

Image of Flickr logo