How to Get Your Wildlife Sanctuary Certified

How to Get Your Wildlife Sanctuary Certified

Your backyard can be so much more than just a place to set out some patio furniture.  You can make a National Wildlife Federation certified wildlife habitat.  You might thing that your yard is too small or you can’t do that in the city.  That isn’t the case you can find certified wildlife habitats all over the country, they can be found outside of businesses, schools, churches, community gardens and even homes just like yours.  If you want to learn how to get your wildlife sanctuary certified then read on.

Food Sources

To satisfy the requirements of certification you need to provide at least three food sources for wildlife, they can come from the plants in your yard (that is ideal), such as seeds, nut trees, berries, fruit, nectar, foliage or sap.  You can use feeders for squirrels, hummingbirds and squirrels particularly in the winter months and during very hot summer days when food can be scarce.  Native plants will work best.

Water Sources

You will need to have at least one source of water.  If you are living by a lake or have waterfront property then you have got this covered.  You can create a backyard pond but if that isn’t possible then all you need is something wildlife can access.  A smaller container with fresh water and some rocks for birds and bees is more than enough.  Those really pretty birdbaths you can find in home improvement stores are too hard for birds to use, the edges are too slippery rough surfaces are better for them.

Provide Cover

Even wildlife needs a break from the weather and the heat of the sun.  If you want your habitat certified then you need to provide at least two sources of cover.  This is where most people balk, because cover can make your yard look messy.  Cover can consist of a pile of brush, dead tree, log pile, thick shrubs or a pile of rocks.

Nesting Area

Wildlife need a place where they can nest and raise their young.  If you live in the city then you can put up a birdhouse or a plant for butterflies.  It is not as hard as it sounds.

Get Your Certification

You can go to the National Wildlife Federations website and fill out the application and tell them about the habitat that you have created.  There is a small fee that helps with their outreach efforts.

Attracting Birds and Butterflies

Attracting Birds and Butterflies

With cities growing and expanding so quickly we are destroying more and more wildlife habitats every year.  If you want to help the environment and do a little bit to restore the ecosystem you can use your own backyard as a natural wildlife habitat.  Attracting birds and butterflies along with other small creatures to your yard is easier than you think.  You will need enough space to do so and if you have a Homeowners Association it may not be possible but if you can here is what you are going to need.

To attract birds and butterflies:

  1. Food Source: This can include feeders with birdseed or the right trees and plants
  2. Source of Water: You can set up a birdbath or put together a backyard pond or water garden. Keep the water fresh otherwise you will just end up with mosquitos who love standing water.
  3. Place for Shelter: This can include a variety of things from layered foliage, trees, birdhouses or squirrel boxes.  It needs to help with the elements and be a place where birds can nest if necessary.

Putting in Plants and Shrubs

If you are going to add plants or trees to your backyard to attract wildlife then use plants that are native to the area.  They will be able to withstand the weather better than something pretty and imported.  If you are planting flowers then find hardy flowers where you don’t have to apply a ton of pesticides or fertilizers.  You can also check with the local garden center to see which plants will help you attract the wildlife that you want.  You may want to put in plants in layers so the foliage is at different heights.


Hummingbirds are beautiful to have and to watch in your backyard but you will need plants that are tubular and have nectar.  You can also add some feeders that have sugar water in them.  Hummingbirds have extremely high metabolisms and are constantly looking for food.  Make sure that you change the water regularly.  There are a variety of different plants that will attract them, just check with your garden center.

Other Birds

Other birds are fairly easy to attract all you need are seed or fruit bearing trees or plants.  Any kind of berry bush will work as well.  You can also put out bird feeders with seed.  Don’t feed birds bread they cannot digest it and you will do them more harm than good.

Attracting Butterflies

You are going to need flowers and you should plant them close together.  You also want a variety of flowers so that at least something is blooming throughout the summer months (they love purple flowers).  Butterflies will eat different plants depending on their stage of growth.  Avoid pesticides if you can and have water available for them as well.

Attracting wildlife to your garden isn’t as hard as you think, it is just a matter of providing food and shelter for the species that you want to attract.

Nesting Boxes for Your Backyard Habitat

Nesting Boxes for Your Backyard Habitat

If you want or already have a wildlife habitat in your backyard then one of the things that you’re going to need are places of shelter for the animals and birds that pass through.  Wildlife will need a home before winter sets in and in the spring they need a place to keep their young.  You may be thinking of a birdhouse but ironically birds don’t actually live in birdhouses.  Most birds in North America are “cavity nesters” they build a nest in a box raise their young and move from the box.  They generally only stick around for a month or so. If you want to create some nesting boxes for your backyard habitat then read on.

What is a Cavity Nester?

Cavity nesters are just birds that don’t build their nests anywhere or in open spaces.  Their nests are far too fragile to just sit on a roof or branch they need the walls of a box or a hole in a tree that will help hold the nests together.  Some birds like a woodpecker don’t even build nests they put their eggs in wood chips from a nesting hole.  In the wild there are plenty of dead trees around for birds to use to build their nests but in an urban setting dead trees are often removed or cut down.  Here is a look at what you need for a nesting box.

Destroying Their Habitat

Because of urban sprawl there are no more dead trees in city settings, these trees provided insects for woodpeckers.  Woodpeckers created nesting spots for other bird from the holes they made.  Dead trees provide a natural habitat for birds, insects and animals.  With fewer if any dead trees the onus is on us to replace the natural nesting spots of birds.  That is where nesting boxes come in.  You can easily add nesting boxes to even the smallest of yards and have different birds building nests there year after year.

If you plan on putting a couple of nesting boxes in your yard then you can either make them yourself or buy them from a store.  Making nesting boxes is a great project to do with your kids to get them interested in wildlife conservation.  You will want to put the boxes out in the yard in the winter and it will be there when the birds return in the spring.

Creating a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary 

Creating a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary 

Homeowners spend plenty of time making their backyards something that they can be proud of, a place they can relax while entertaining friends and family.  There is no shortage of choices when it comes to creating your perfect backyard.  One of the things that you should consider is creating a backyard wildlife sanctuary.  It allows you to help the environment and create a home for animals that have been displaced by urban sprawl. Here are some things that you can do to help wildlife make your backyard a home.

Here are the things that you will need:

A Food Source

Providing a good food source is the single most important thing you can do to attract wildlife to your backyard.  It doesn’t matter if it is just birds and squirrels you are looking to feed or you want a garden that is a little wilder you are going to have to provide a food source.  If you are unsure what kind of food is suitable for birds and squirrels, they both enjoy birdseed.  If you put out a bird feeder you will find both of them raiding it for their next meal.  However squirrels can hoard food and have a tendency to steal all of the seed so you might want to get a squirrel proof bird feeder and feed squirrels some nuts separately.  You can buy birdseed and nuts at your local grocery store.


All living creatures need water to survive including the creatures that are going to call your backyard home.  In the summertime it gets scorching hot and water dries up that makes it hard for birds and squirrels to find a clean source of water.  Keeping out bowls of fresh clean water offers them a place of safety.  It will also keep them returning if they are getting what they need in your backyard.  You will have to change and clean out the water every couple of days.  Standing dirty water brings you a guest you don’t want…mosquitos.

Providing Shelter

You don’t necessarily have to provide shelter in your backyard in order to attract animals and birds but it does help.  Having a shelter available when the weather changes from fall to winter or even on stormy summer days will also help to stay.  For animals like birds and squirrels simply having a tree is enough to offer them some shelter.