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Shelter for Birds

Look around your yard (or school yard or city park). Is there a pile of brush for birds and animals to hide from predators? Have you left dead trees standing so woodpeckers can find food and build nest cavities? Are there thick vines or Cedar trees where birds can spend the night?  Have you put up nest boxes with the proper size entrance holes?

Birds need more than just food and water. They need to feel safe, and for that they need shelter. Are there safe places in your yard for birds to raise a family?

The first thing you need to do is identify the habitat elements that already exist in your yard or garden space. You may already be providing some habitat for wildlife! Are you practicing resource conservation? This will not only help the wildlife but will help improve your community's environment.

If you really want to get serious about shelter and providing a backyard habitat, you can look into in the Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program offered by the National Wildlife Federation. It officially acknowledges the efforts of people who garden for wildlife. If you qualify, you will receive a personal registration certificate, registration number and be placed in their national register of backyard wildlife habitats.

To build a brush pile to attract critters and birds, follow this advice from the National Wildlife Federation: Start by building a strong base with large logs, six to ten feet long and four to six inches in diameter. Stack and criss-cross them in a manner that's sturdy and provides a variety of runways and spaces. (Imagine an animal the size of a rabbit being able to navigate through your structure). After using half a dozen or more logs to build a sturdy base simply start adding large branches criss-crossed in a slightly tighter mesh than the logs.

Continue adding more branches of a gradually smaller diameter and a denser, more compact weave. Your end product will be an dome-like structure. The dimensions of an average brush shelter are approximately ten feet across and five feet high. However, if you're dealing with limited space a shelter half that size made with smaller brush will still attract a variety of critters. Someone with a larger property may want several shelters twice that size.