Habitat Network: Improving Habitat at Home

Learn about landscaping features that you can add in your yard to create habitat for wildlife.

Habitat Network: Improving Habitat at Home

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Tour Information

Spend thirty minutes exploring Sapsucker Woods to learn ways to create and sustain habitat at home. Simple strategies, such as mowing around the edges of your lawn, while leaving the grass to develop seed heads for birds, are demonstrated using the Sapsucker Woods landscape as a model. Begin the tour infront of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Vistor Center at the Birdfeeder Garden.

This tour was created by the Habitat Network, a citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of wildlife habitat, for both professional scientists and people concerned with their local environments. We collect data by asking individuals across the country to literally draw maps of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens. We connect you with your landscape details and provide tools for you to make better decisions about how to manage landscapes sustainably.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Bird Feeder Garden

The Feeder Garden combines feeding stations with native plants to maximize habitat for birds and wildlife. This includes trumpet vines to attract hummingbirds, several native shrubs that produce nutrious berries (e.g. serviceberry, winterbe... Read more
Mowed Edges

Meadows can be really beautiful, but in the context of a yard they can look unkempt, or even weedy. Mowing a thin strip along human paths, like streets and sidewalks, is a clear cue to onlookers that the property is actively managed and can... Read more

Dead trees nurture new life in ecologically important ways. Without snags some 85 species of North American birds, numerous small mammals, insects, fungi, and lichens would be without valuable habitat. Snags are nature’s apartment complex... Read more
Pond: Water Feature

Water is a critical habitat feature. If you have the time, space, and ambition, adding a pond to your property will attract a variety of wildlife. Remember that wetland birds and other species prefer shallow water, so no need to create a de... Read more
Nest box aka Birdhouse

Nest boxes? Why install nest boxes if I have trees and shrubs available for birds to build their nests? Providing native habitat is the ideal scenario for creating reliable, resilient nesting areas; but, many birds need tree cavities to nes... Read more
Native vs. Non-native Flora

Non-native flora can sometimes take over the habitats used by native species, reducing the overall diversity of an area and limiting the types of available resources for birds and other wildife. Control of invasive plants does not have to b... Read more

Wildlife need snug hiding places like those found in log or brush piles, and we don’t just mean birds. Butterflies overwinter in them, rabbits seek shelter there, snakes hunt for rodents and invertebrates in their cover, and chipmunks con... Read more
Deciduous and Evergreen Trees

Deciduous and evergreen trees are both important in landscapes where they are native. Evergreens, with year-round foliage provide excellent shelter for wildlife and refugue from inclement weather. Evergreens are also prone to beetle or inse... Read more
Beaver Management

What ecological role do beavers play in land management? The answer; beavers are keystone species. Keystone species are plants or animals that play a critical ecological role. Without them, ecosystems change rapidly or cease to exist. Keyst... Read more
Importance of Structure

Structure can mean a lot of things, but at its most basic it means the plant structures--such as trees, shrubs, logs, snags, cactuses, or grasses--are used to support animal life. Structure provides birds and other animals places to hide fr... Read more


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