Backyard Conservation: Bringing Conservation from the Countryside to Your Backyard

There are nearly 2 billion acres of land in the conterminous United States. About 70 percent of that land is privately owned and its care is in the hands of those who live and work on it. Most of that land, 1.4 billion acres, is managed by farmers and ranchers. More than 92 million acres of land—an area the size of California—is privately developed and much of it is tended by homeowners. Farmers and ranchers use conservation plans to help them apply practices that meet their production objectives and protect soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources. You may want to develop a plan for your own backyard to help you apply conservation measures that fit your needs. Or maybe, for now, you’d like to try just a few of the activities in this book.

Backyard Wildlife Enhancement

The first step in enhancing a backyard habitat for wildlife is to assess your yard or outdoor areas as they are right now, identifying habitat elements that already exist for wildlife. Some plants that provide seeds, fruits, and nuts are important to many species of wildlife. A dense shrubbery area or stand of evergreens will provide cover for many animals, and protection from wind and predators.

Bird Feeding: Backyard Habitat for Wildlife

Feeding birds in the spring and summer months can bring particular excitement. Many new species may frequent your feeder. In this publication are some hints for increasing the numbers of avian visitors.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush?

You know the old saying. Well, believe it or not, you too can have a bird in the hand! All it takes is patience, persistence, and well, MORE patience. If you regularly feed birds in your backyard, you might want to try getting to know some of them up close and personal. The songbirds in your backyard can soon be landing on your shoulder and eating nuts and seeds straight from your hand this winter!

Butterflies in Your Backyard

Butterfly watching, though unlikely to match the widespread popularity of bird watching, has gained significant favor in recent years. Butterflies are colorful, diverse, abundant, and active during the day in warm months, making them an ideal pursuit for wildlife watchers. In fact, wildlife watching as a whole, given impetus by the increased awareness of regional and ecological diversity, has become one of this country’s fastest-growing outdoor recreational activities.

For the Birds

Among the fondest and most memorable moments of childhood are the discoveries of songbirds nesting in the backyard. The distinctive, mud-lined nests of robins and their beautiful blue eggs captivate people of all ages. Likewise, the nesting activities of house wrens, cardinals, chickadees and other common birds can stimulate a lifelong interest in nature.

Nature Near You

Getting your family in touch with nature is as simple as walking outside. Have fun and learn together outdoors with these simple activities you can do in your backyard... and beyond!