Close-ups going clockwise of a rabbit in a field, a butterfly on a flower and an eastern bluebird in a flowering tree
Improving Habitats for Wildlife in
Your Backyard and Neighborhood

Backyard habitats, whether in a developed residential area or around your home or farmstead in the country, can play an important role in conserving wildlife. Consider enhancing your habitat to attract diverse species by implementing management practices that address the food, water and shelter needs of those species.

You can provide food sources via natural vegetation such as native trees, shrubs, grasses and flowering plants that provide seeds, nuts, nectar and fruit. A few examples of shrubs and trees that provide food and cover include blackberry, elderberry, red mulberry, dogwoods, oak, hickory and numerous others. Offer water in a birdbath, dripper or small pond.

Wildlife also requires nesting and shelter areas to survive. A number of species will use nest boxes and cavities found in mature trees. Numerous native trees, vines, shrubs and herbaceous plants, grasses and ground covers — such as dogwood shrubs or oak and crabapple trees — provide cover or make ideal shelter areas.

Providing these essentials will help you attract wildlife ranging from birds, butterflies and pollinators to small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Missouri Department of Conservation

U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service