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May 2004
Vol 1 - Issue 1

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Put a Little Wildlife in Your Backyard This Spring

gardenAs spring approaches and the seed catalogs arrive, it’s time to think about your backyard landscaping. Making minor adjustments in your plant selection and placement can improve your backyard as a home for wildlife. Here are a few key things to remember as you develop your landscape plan for spring:

Does your yard provide the three basics for wildlife?
Quality habitat is of vital importance to wildlife. Habitat includes proper food, cover, and water in sufficient quantities to meet a species’ basic needs. Arrangement of these requirements is also important. Planning for backyard wildlife habitat is challenging in that you need to supply the basic requirements for the species you wish to attract and it must conform and integrate with your landscape design.

More Information,

Size Does Matter – Nest Boxes for Wildlife

Many people enjoy viewing wildlife on their property. The first step in attracting wildlife to your backyard is to provide the specific habitat elements of food, water, cover, and space that your desired wildlife species require.

squirrelSuitable cover is often one of the most limited habitat elements in backyard habitats. Over 50 wildlife species in the Midwest use cavities in live trees (den trees) or dead, standing trees (called snags) for nesting and denning cover. While nest boxes are not a replacement for these species or wildlife habitat management, they are a great way to supplement natural cavities, make your backyard more attractive to cavity nesting species, and complement your landscape design at the same time.

Whether you purchase nest boxes or build them yourself, a properly maintained nest box can last for years. There are a few basic “rules of thumb” that will help you select and install nesting structures most beneficial for the wildlife species you wish to attract in your backyard.

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Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Yard

Hummingbirds are a popular attraction in any backyard. The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird that nests in the Hoosier state. Migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds can be observed in Indiana throughout the fall. It is possible to observe migrating hummingbirds at your feeder from late-July through October and occasionally later.

hummingbirdRuby-throated hummingbirds have a few simple habitat requirements that can be easily met in most neighborhoods and backyard habitats. Hummingbirds need an ample supply of insects and nectar for food. Trees are required for nesting, resting, and escape cover. Landscapes that provide a mixture of mature hardwood forests with meadows, gardens, wetlands, shrub patches, and riparian areas provide ideal habitat conditions for the ruby-throated hummingbird. This mixture of habitat components describes many subdivisions and residential and rural areas throughout Indiana. Following a few of the tips described below can make your yard and neighborhood even more attractive for hummingbirds this summer.

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Attracting Butterflies to Your Yard

butterflyButterflies are beautiful additions to any backyard. There are about 20,000 species worldwide and over 700 in North America. Examples of groups include swallowtails, fritillaries, skippers, and sulphurs. Butterflies are insects with a four-stage development: egg – larva –pupa – adult.

Attracting butterflies to your yard is easy but involves a little bit more than planting a few flowers in a garden, although that is certainly beneficial. Just like any wildlife species, you need to provide food, cover, and water in the proper amounts and arrangement. Wildflowers are a valuable component for butterflies, but trees and shrubs are important too. Good butterfly habitat should have an interspersion of trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, and grasses that provide food and cover for the entire life cycle of butterflies. By doing this and following some of the tips provided below, you will be well on your way making your yard a butterfly paradise.

More Information,

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Wildlife Research Working for YOU!,


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Wildlife Research Working for YOU!

Squirrel invasion sows seeds of change for future forests
As squirrels gather nuts for winter, they also plant the seeds of future forests — but the different ways squirrel species hoard nuts, coupled with changes in squirrel populations, may significantly alter the course of forest regeneration, according to a Purdue University study.

"This is the first study I'm aware of that's explicitly looked at how two different species and their behavioral characteristics could influence forest regeneration," said Rob Swihart, professor of wildlife ecology.