Here’s how to provide nesting places for wildlife


From the treetops to underground, a healthy backyard wildlife habitat plays host to a myriad of animals year-round. And, they all need places to safely nest and raise their offspring. The more nesting options your habitat can offer, the safer and more inviting it will be for wildlife.  How to design a backyard wildlife habitat   

For birds
Birds are among the most visible animals in our yard. For most, trees are essential, but some species will construct nests in other places.  All about birds   

  • Trees
  • Dense shrubs
  • Tall grasses
  • Thorny thickets, such as pyracantha
  • Birdhouses

These nesting places are used by one kind of mammal or another:  Urban mammals  

  • Tree
  • Hollow log
  • Under a log
  • Woodpile
  • Abandoned burrow 
  • A den in a mound of dirt
  • Abandoned owl house
  • Tall grasses
  • Berm or dirt mound
  • Under thick shrubs
  • Rock wall or rock pile

Insects, so beneficial and so under-appreciated, need places to lay their eggs. There’s hardly a spot in a healthy yard that doesn’t hold an insect’s eggs or their offspring at some stage of growth. Some insects even construct nests. Honeybees are a good example. Ants, too — ever raked a standing pile of leaves, only to have hundreds of ants (and their eggs) pour out? Take care to avoid using insecticides.  Introduction to insects  

  • Shrubs and flowers
  • Tree leaves and under bark
  • Woodpiles, brush piles
  • Grasses
  • Leaf and plant litter left on the ground
  • Butterfly house
  • Insect house

Many animals, such as Raccoons and bats, like to nest near water. Others, such as frogs and toads, need water in which to lay their eggs and for raising their offspring. Some songbirds, such as Tree Swallows, nest near water. Dragonflies and many other insects use the space above and around ponds, streams, marshes and rivers as courting and mating places, and the water for laying their eggs. Most of us don’t have these features in our yards, but wildlife will use smaller sources of water, too.  More about water for wildlife  

  • Water feature
  • Small pond
  • Whiskey half-barrel with a water plant and a pump for aeration
  • Water garden

*Top image of Tree Swallow: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren / Wiki; cc by 2.0

More reading:

Insects rule! Yes, they really do!   
Yes, animals have feelings!