Now that it's fall, the days are shorter, the air is cooler and this is a great time of year to start thinking about what you can do for wildlife. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to wildlife populations and diversity, but you can do something about it. Here are several suggestions for creating habitat in your own backyard or community. Most are very easy and economical as well as fun! Not only does creating habitat give wildlife a place to hang out and be safe, it also offers us an opportunity to view wildlife while they are making themselves at home.
- Build a brush pile - brush piles provide wildlife with escape cover, nesting sites and shelter. They are an important component of wildlife habitat. (Brush Piles 101)
- Feed the birds - Fall is when many birds including hummingbirds begin to migrate south for the winter. Much of Texas falls inside of the migratory flyway. Putting up feeders will not cause hummers (or any bird) to stay too long, migration is triggered by length of day. Give 'em a drink for the road. (Bird Feeding Basics)
- Plant a patch of prairie grass - Grasses found on the prairie add beauty to the landscape, prevent soil erosion, and provide food and habitat for wildlife. Planting native grasses also saves money and time, decreases pollution and conserves water.
- Build a dragonfly pond -Dragonflies play an important role in the control of the mosquito population. When they are nothing but dragonfly nymphs, they prey upon mosquito larvae, and when they reach adulthood, they eat mosquito adults. This behavior has earned them the nickname of "mosquito hawk". Try attracting these beautiful hunters to your yard. Don't be surprised if you attract a few toads too!
- Create a Toad Abode - If you don't have a pond, an old clay pot will do. Frogs, toads, lizards, and some snakes can destroy large quantities of harmful insects. (How to Make a Toad Abode)
- Plant a tree - Fall is the best time to plant trees across most of Texas. Trees provide food, nesting sites and protection to a wide variety of birds and animals. Trees also help clean the air, reduce erosion and provide needed shade from the Texas summer sun, not to mention increasing the value of your home. Planting trees shows a long-term commitment to wildlife conservation. (How to Plant a Tree)