Planting a refuge for wildlife : how to create a backyard habitat for Florida's birds and beasts


Material Information

Planting a refuge for wildlife : how to create a backyard habitat for Florida's birds and beasts
Physical Description:
33 p. : ill. (some col.), col. map ; 22 x 28 cm.
Cerulean, Susan
Botha, Celeste
Legare, Donna
Nardandrea, Swannee ( Designer )
Florida Game Fresh Water Fish Commission, Nongame Wildlife Program
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service
Place of Publication:
Tallahassee, Fla.
Washington, D. C.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Florida International University ( SOBEK page | external link )
Holding Location:
Florida International University ( SOBEK page | external link )
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 17316482
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Full Text

Planting a Refuge

for Wildlife
How to create a backyard
habitat for Florida's birds
and beasts.

Florida Game and
Fresh Water Fish
Nongame Wildlife

United States
QL tment of
59 ilture

Written and edited by
Susan Cerulean. Celeste Botha
and Donna Legare

De-sinned and illustrated by
SSwannee Nardandrea
r *St________


Planting a Refuge

for Wildlife,

O Preface ................... ............... .... .... .. ......... ........................ 1
O How to use this guide ................................ ............ .................. 1
O Introduction............................ .. ................... ...... ............. 2
D What animals might live in your backyard? .................. ................................ 4
O Create a backyard habitat plan .............................................. .............. 5
O Evaluate your environment ................ ....... ..................... ....................... 6
O Managing your backyard habitat
SModifications and maintenance ............... ........................................... 7
A caution about exotics ................................................................ 8
Cavity trees, lawns and soil ............................................... ........ . 9
O Attract the wildlife you want
(&Birds ................ ........................ .................................... 10
Mammals ....................... . .. ... .... ............. .. ................ 16
Reptiles and amphibians ................ ....................... ... ........................ 17
Butterflies ..................................... ....................... .............. 18
Hummingbirds ................ .............. .. ..... ....... .... ...................... 19
Problem guests ................................ ...................... ............... 20
O Supplementing your backyard habitat
SNest boxes ................... ......................... .............. ................. 21
Feeding stations ......................................................... ............ 22
Water ............................................................................ 23
o Native plants for backyard Florida habitats .................... ............. ................ 24
0 For further information .................................................................33


n a recent public opinion poll, 88 percent of all
Floridians said it is important to know that wild
animals live around their homes. Yet millions of
our residents don't realize how closely the health of
wildlife populations is tied to the health of their
habitats-the living spaces that provide animals with
food, water, shelter and cover. This guide suggests
specific techniques for creating viable habitats on small
properties in Florida. We hope it will help you attract,
enjoy and conserve wildlife close to your home.
This guide was produced jointly by the Florida
Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and the
United States Department of Agriculture Soil
Conservation Service in cooperation with the Palm
Beach Soil and Water Conservation District. Native
plant information was compiled by Donna Legare,
Gary Schultz (The Nature Conservancy), Richard
Moyroud (Florida Native Plant Society), Roger
Hammer (Castellow Hammock Nature Center) and

Feeding stations that
provide water and
supplemental foods can
concentrate birds in your
backyard habitat.

Sandy Morrill. The landscape design was prepared by
Jody Walthall of Native Nurseries in Tallahassee.
Many of the techniques for attracting birds in south
Florida were suggested by Cynthia Plockelman and
Thomas McElroy. David Cook prepared the section on
reptiles and amphibians. Victor Heller, Assistant
Director, Division of Wildlife, provided initial guidance
and support for this project. Dave McElveen
contributed valuable advice and suggestions. Many
other reviewers volunteered their time and expertise to
assure the accuracy of this guide, including Jim Cox,
Jeff Gore, John Waters, the Board and staff of the
Palm Beach Soil and Water Conservation District,
John Vance, Durbin Tabb, Craig Tufts (National
Wildlife Federation), Charles Potter (Audubon
Society of the Everglades), Judy Gillan, Jeff Priest,
Brian Millsap and Bruce Neville.

How to use this guide

n this booklet, you will find proven ways to
encourage a broad cross-section of Florida wildlife
to visit and live around your home. No matter
what your time or financial constraints, you can
take some of these simple steps to improve wildlife
habitat in your back yard.
The first section outlines what animals you might
expect to find in your Florida yard and their basic life
requirements. Next you will find a step-by-step
overview of how to plan a backyard habitat that takes
your living requirements into account as well! The
manager's checklist on page 7 should be helpful
after you have landscaped your property, or if you
already have an established landscape. Pages 10-19
describe specific management techniques to help you
attract the wildlife you want, including birds,
mammals, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies.
Solutions for some common wildlife-human conflicts
on small properties are discussed on page 20. If you
want to supplement your habitat or attract wildlife for
close observation, the sections on feeding, housing and
providing water for wildlife will interest you. Finally,
you will find an extensive listing of the native plants
you will want to use to create your backyard habitat. If
you seek a more complete discussion of any of these
topics, review the resources and publications listed
under "For Further Information" (page 33).
As you are planning your backyard wildlife habitat,
learn as much as you can about the wildlife species you
wish to benefit. Use native plants to attract the animals
native to your areas. This will add to your enjoyment
and your efforts to conserve Florida wildlife. Learn to
identify and eliminate harmful exotic species.
A final word: be patient and realistic in your
expectations. Remember that it will take time, often
years, to increase the number and kinds of wildlife in
your back yard.


here are many reasons why birds and other
animals appeal so strongly to our affections.
The simple truth is-they bring us joy. The
exuberant songs of cardinals and mockingbirds, the
dazzling display of a painted bunting in our birdbaths
or feeders, and the sight of colorful butterflies dancing
above a wildflower patch-these are personal pleasures
that aren't easily measured.
People need to live close to the natural world-to
trees, flowers and animals. When we watch the
complexity and diversity of nature, we become more
observant and more in tune with important subtleties
around us. A monarch butterfly seen in September
signals us that the fall migration of many species is
beginning. The appearance of a purple martin in
February lets us know that spring is close behind.
But many Floridians are becoming increasingly
isolated from the natural world as local populations of
wildlife are displaced from suburban and urban areas.
Bulldozers and backhoes are eliminating the living
spaces of many of our wild birds and animals in this
fast-growing state. What are the consequences?
"Suppose a creature dies out within your 'radius of
reach'-the area to which you have easy access," asks
entomologist Robert M. Pyle. "In some respects, it
might as well be gone altogether because you will not
be able to see it as you could before." This "extinction
of experience" makes people more isolated from and
less caring for nature. On the other hand, if we can
preserve native wildlife and plants in our cities and
suburbs, we can also maintain the essential bond
between people and nature that fosters a sense of
stewardship for the land and its life far beyond city

Attracting wildlife to your garden by planning and
planting for their needs is simple and satisfying. If we
make adequate food, water, shelter and space available,
we can increase the number and variety of species that
visit our yards and improve our chances to observe
them more closely.
Plants form the natural architecture that animals
need to feed, rest, raise young and hide from
predators. The more stable and balanced a plant
community you create, the greater the variety of
wildlife you'll attract. And you'll find advantages in
energy and water savings as well as the natural insect
and rodent control your miniature ecosystem will
provide. Moreover, the National Wildlife Federation
has found that attractive landscaping installed with
wildlife in mind substantially increases the value of a
house and lot: a $200 investment in plants can yield a 3
to 10 percent increase in real estate value.
As Florida's population skyrockets, more and more
green space is consumed. Wild animals and birds are
squeezed out of the habitat they need for their survival.

There is an ever-increasing need to manage not only
the existing forests and large landholdings for wildlife,
but also the developed land: the quarter-acre suburban
lot, the five-acre townhouse development, the 40
acre subdivision, the small city park, larger county
parks and even the roadsides of our highways.
We can begin with the pleasant task of inviting
wildlife to our own yards. No matter where you live in
Florida, you can make habitat improvements to benefit
your wildlife neighbors.

^, _-, -

Expect thi, \arJ to have a rich a4sortmenr ot f ildhtc.
including lNing squirrels, raccoons, frogs, alamanders
U Eeand 75 or more species of birds

Sad r or mo-t Pr ecie-

Increasing Habitat Diversity

Figure 1. As this graph illustrates, the greater the habitat diversity your property provides, the more types of
wildlife will choose to be your neighbors. For the small property owner in Florida, increasing habitat diversity
usually means replacing expansive, closely mowed lawns with creative landscaping. Even within a quarter-acre
lot, habitats that provide variety in both form and height-lawns, meadows, hedges and shade trees-will attract
a larger number and variety of birds than a quarter-acre lot with uniform plantings.
< -------.

^ ^ ^

a larger number and variety of birds than a quarter-acre lot with uniform plantings.

What Animals Might Live in
Your Backyard?

More than 1,200 kinds or species of animals
live in Florida. In terms of wildlife, we are
the third most diverse state in the nation!
Of all this bewildering variety, which species can you
expect to attract to your own backyard? It all depends
on how well the habitat on your property duplicates
the natural conditions under which the animals live in
the wild.
Some animals, such as raccoons, opossums and
mockingbirds, adapt well and live throughout Florida,
but others are much more regional in occurrence.
White-crowned pigeons and many other semitropical
species are restricted to the Florida Keys, for example,
and it's unlikely that you will ever find a yellow-
breasted chat nesting south of Tallahassee. The tables
on pages 10-17 suggest where and when you'll find the
most common species of Florida wildlife.
All wild creatures have unique requirements for
food, water, cover and space, and they can only live
where these needs can be satisfied. Together, these
required elements make up an animal's habitat. The
key to luring wildlife to your property is to provide
the four basic components of their habitat: food,
especially in its natural form; water to drink and bathe
in; cover or shelter to escape from predators, rest and
build nests; and space or territory in which to live and
raise young. Birds and other animals usually live in the
particular habitats or plant communities (pine
flatwoods, tropical hardwood hammocks, etc.) that
best meet their habitat needs. Most require, or will
use, a diversity of habitat types at different times in
their daily or seasonal cycles. You will attract the
widest variety of wildlife to your land by using native
plants to simulate small areas of nearby habitat types.
The "edges" where these habitat types meet will
probably be the most visited areas in your

A. Food: All animals get their energy for survival
from plants or other animals. The ideal wildlife
management plan uses natural vegetation to supply
year-round food-from the earliest summer berries to
fruits which persist through winter and spring (such as
sweetgum, juniper and holly).

B. Water: Fresh water is essential for all wildlife and
is often the factor most limiting their presence on
small properties. Spring and fall migrants are especially
attracted to water during long flights. Frogs and
salamanders require standing water to complete parts
of their life cycles.

C. Space: All animals require a certain amount of
space or "elbow room" to mate and rear their young.
On a small lot you may be able to support many kinds
of breeding birds or other animals, but perhaps only a
pair or two of each. An animal's requirement for space
may be substantially less if food, water and cover
resources are concentrated.

D. Cover: Breeding, nesting, hiding, sleeping, feeding
and traveling are just a few of the necessary functions
in an animal's life which require protective cover or
shelter. Often cover plants double as food sources.


Brush pile '-

Bird water and /. \-
feeding station Purple Martin.-'-E .
house or gourds\

Bird nest box ,. 6

Decg b Hummingbird
1 iyButterfly garden/perennials Deck garden I

deck with

N.: 2

Design by Jody Walthall

? Create a Backyard Habitat

A backyard habitat is really just a landscape
designed with wildlife in mind. It will be most
pleasing and successful when you have
managed to combine the quality of wilderness with just
enough cultivation to harmonize with your house and
the people who inhabit it. Why not design and plan
your landscape in an orderly fashion, just as landscape
architects do?
This landscape plan includes an extremely high
diversity of wildlife-attracting plants. Suggestions are
provided for both north and south Florida below.
Many other valuable plants are listed on pages 24-32.

North Florida

1. Pine 1
2. Red Mulberry 2
3. Flowering Dogwood 3
4. Wax Myrtle 4
5. Southern Magnolia 5
6. Blueberry 6
7. Viburnum 7
8. Cherry Laurel 8
9. Red Maple 9
10. American Holly 1C
11. River Birch 11
12. Fringe Tree 12
13. Red Buckeye 13
14. Black Gum 14
15. Hawthorne 15
16. Red Cedar 16
17. Persimmon 17
18. Live Oak 18
19. Coral Bean 19
20. Cabbage Palm 20
21. American Beautyberry 21
22. Elderberry 22
23. Pokeweed 23
24. Sweetgum 24
| = Lawn
]= Leaf litter/ground cover
= Native grasses/meadow area

South Florida

Red Mulberry
Wild Coffee
Paradise Tree
Florida Trema
Coffee Colubrina
Geiger Tree
Necklace Pod
Sea Grape
Silver Palm
Black Gum
Red Cedar
Live Oak
Coral Bean
Thatch Palm


Evaluate Your Environment

First, walk around your property and make an
inventory. Sketch a base map, as the following section
describes, then outline a planting plan. Break your plan
into a reasonable time schedule. Don't try to do
everything at once-decide what you can do each year
for the next five or so years. Think about your
neighbors, too. Can you persuade them to share or at
least tolerate your interest in attracting wildlife?

Step 1: Your base map should indicate your
property's dimensions; the area covered by your house
and other structures (garage, storage shed, pool, decks,
patio, fences, sidewalks and driveway); and the
location of underground water pipes and utilities,
septic tanks, irrigation lines, sprinkler heads, etc.

Step 2: On your base map, or on a transparent
overlay, sketch areas of sun and shade. Notice how
these shift during the day and throughout the year.
Also examine your soil. Is it primarily fill dirt, sand,
sandy loam, clay, topsoil or other soil types? Sketch
any changes that occur within your property
boundaries. How about soil moisture? Are there areas
of poor drainage or erosion? Is your property affected
by salt spray? If so, carefully choose plants for your
design that are salt tolerant. For example, buttonwood
and sea grape are two plants with high wildlife value
that thrive in south Florida coastal environments. They
are ideal choices for backyard habitats on properties
close to the sea.

Step 3: Give some thought to your family's needs and
uses for your property. What about pets? If cats and
dogs are a big part of your life, your expectations for
wildlife should be lower. Consider space requirements
for work, play, entertainment, access and traffic
patterns, trash collection, security and privacy. Think
realistically about how much and what type of space
you will need for each activity. Sketch these areas onto
another overlay of your base map.

Step 4: Now list the most abundant trees, shrubs and
herbaceous plants already growing in your yard. You
may want to note their age, size, health, whether they
are exotic or native to your region, their value in
energy conservation, and any special maintenance

A landscape that is
attractive to wildlife is
pleasant for people, too.

requirements. Notice how the vegetation in your yard
interacts with the physical characteristics of the site to
form habitats. For example, even the smallest lot may
have a dry sunny lawn growing on construction fill,
and a cooler area shaded by a large tree, perhaps with a
richer soil. Each existing habitat presents different
opportunities and constraints in your overall plan.
Take a look at natural plant communities around your
area. Observe how plants of different height and form
grow near one another. You'll want to use these
proven successes as models for your own backyard

Step 5: Begin a list of the wildlife that visit your
property. How well do each of your habitats provide
food, water and cover for wildlife? Are there native
seed-bearing plants available that produce fruit on a
continuous basis? Does your present landscape provide
adequate cover and safe travel corridors for small
animals and birds? Mammals, especially, require
connected shrub and hedgerows or larger wooded
areas to move about.

Now that you have studied your property as a
wildlife manager might, you are ready to prepare one
drawing to guide your landscaping efforts in the years
to come. The landscape drawing on page 5 shows one
possible plan for a quarter-acre lot. You'll need to
customize your property, however, by choosing plants
that will thrive in your region of Florida. Decide
whether you are planning major landscape alterations
or simply modifying a reasonably acceptable backyard
Don't plan a clipped, artificial garden that will
enslave you! With a backyard habitat, you are working
with nature and watching natural processes take their
courses. Your primary jobs will include pruning and
pulling out some plants from time to time to give the
garden more room to grow.



If you're working with a bare lot or
planning major landscape

1. Begin by framing your property with a backdrop of
native trees. This will maximize wildlife benefits and
screen you most effectively from neighboring
properties. Plant a variety of species, some evergreen,
some deciduous. They will simulate a forest canopy
and provide nesting sites, protective cover and food
for small mammals and birds. Plant deciduous trees on
the west side of your house for summer shade.

2. Create an understory by planting smaller flowering
or orchard trees in clusters near the tall trees. Stagger
the plants at recommended spacing intervals and avoid
planting in lines or rows. When planting shrubby
borders, mix several species of varying shape, height
and density to create a greater selection of nest sites.
Try to choose shrubs that fruit at different times of the
year for a continuous food supply. You are
introducing more food for butterflies and songbirds!

3. Now surround the smaller trees with masses of
shrubs, brambles or ground cover. These will provide
protective cover areas for ground-feeding birds and

4. Install plantings of shrubs and ground covers
around the foundation of your home. Look into
energy conservation considerations and be careful not
to block special views.

5. Lawns are very labor and energy intensive, but
small areas are pleasant for play and circulation. When
you identify areas for turfgrass, consider laying sod.
Follow site preparation recommendations from your
local Cooperative Extension Office for best results.

If you want to modify an existing

1. Surround your lawn areas with beds of trees and
shrubs. Plant small shrubs and ground covers around
solitary trees. Design irregular borders for these beds
to create more wildlife edge.

2. Mulch your tree and shrub beds with leaf litter,
lawn clippings, tree trimmings or chips. Melaleuca
mulch is also very effective. They are a rich food
source for ground foragers like towhees and thrushes,
provide cover for small mammals, reptiles and
amphibians, and also enrich your soil. Leave a few
patches of bare soil for birds that "dust."

3. If your yard is already filled with exotic plant
species, as is often the case in south Florida, proceed
slowly. Ideally you should replace these plants with
native species. Brazilian pepper (also known as Florida
holly), melaleuca and Australian pine should be
eliminated as soon as possible (see page 8).


V02(01 d d0d&d&

Maintenance ideas for all

O Lawn: Convert some of your open lawn to a
"meadow." Mow prudently-just two summer mowings
will control tree and shrub invasions in your meadow
(check local mowing ordinances). Wildflowers, butterflies
and bees can flourish in even a small wild meadow.

Q Hedges: Select and encourage a variety of plant
heights, but maintain a minimum of 3-1/2- to 8-foot high
hedges. The best hedges for bird cover and nesting are
evergreen with dense or thorny branches. From the
viewpoint of a bird or rabbit, blackberries are ideal!
Thorny hedges also discourage human intruders, and all
dense hedges give you privacy and protection from noisy
streets. Remove large tree species that sprout and grow in
your hedges.

O Pruning: Birds prefer unclipped, informal hedges.
Remove old growth selectively to assure that the plants
don't overcrowd one another. Avoid pruning during the
nesting season. Azaleas and other early flowering shrubs
that bloom from buds formed during the previous
summer should be selectively pruned or cut back every
few years.

0 Small trees: Be sure orchard and some flowering trees
receive full sun. Check light requirements--dogwoods, for
example, prefer light shade. Avoid toxic sprays; instead,
choose fruit varieties that will thrive in your area without
poisons. Don't prune all the dead wood and be sure to
mulch well. Leave tent caterpillar nests in your wild fruit
trees-yellow-billed cuckoos can control them for you. If
caterpillars really get out of hand, spray carefully with
bacillus thuringensis (see a nursery for instructions).

O Large forest trees: Control seedlings beneath large
trees, but leave a few young replacements. Allow one or
two selected vines to climb each tree. You may want to
mow once a year in your forested area. Maintain standing
dead trees and limbs that don't pose a safety hazard to
your house or people in your yard.

IO Paths: Add mulched or stonework walkways to your
landscape. Paths can make visiting your yard more
enjoyable when vegetation is wet with rain or morning
dew, and provide a familiar route through your backyard
Managing Your Backyard Habitat

Kudzu (N'ueraria tobata)

A Caution about Exotics

Exotics are foreign plants and animals imported
and introduced into a new environment. Most every
Florida yard has an exotic hibiscus or azalea.
Although these plants won't do wildlife any harm,
their benefits aren't as high as those of native species.
Many exotics have no natural enemies to suppress
their spread, so they tend to upset the balance of
nature and crowd out the native species. South
Florida's landscape has been visibly and negatively
altered by three exotic trees: melaleuca or the
paperbark tree (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Australian
pine (Casuarina spp.) and Brazilian pepper,
sometimes called Florida holly (Schinus
terebinthifolius). In north Florida, the worst
naturalized exotic is kudzu (Pueraria lobata) which
can turn a small pine forest into a green "desert"
for wildlife in only a few years.


Do your best to eradicate these aggressive
invaders everywhere you can!

- Brazilian pepper: These fast-growing shrubby trees
have long arching branches that eventually form
impenetrable thickets. Bright red berries are produced
in abundance in the winter months. Crushed leaves
have a turpentine odor, and sap can cause skin
irritation similar to poison ivy, a close relative. The
seeds are widely distributed by robins and other birds,
germinate in almost all ecosystems, and smother
existing vegetation.

-4Australian pine: This is not a true pine. Several
different species are planted, persist or have escaped
from cultivation. Seeds are produced in small woody
fruits; some species spread mainly by root suckers. All
are fast-growing and reach great heights. Old
branchlets are constantly shed and produce a thick
layer of litter under the trees. This litter suppresses all
other vegetation by physical smothering and chemical
inhibitors that leach from the leaf litter.

-Melaleuca: A large, upright evergreen tree with flaky
white bark and dark green leaves which give off a
strong aromatic odor when crushed. Flowers cover
branch tips in a bottlebrush arrangement, and produce
pollen which causes severe allergic reactions in many
people. These trees grow quickly and thickly from the
tiny seeds released. This tree is the most serious threat
to south Florida because it invades all wetlands and
surrounding areas, crowding out all other species as it
spreads. It is also creating a severe fire hazard in some
areas, and has resisted all attempts at control.

Cavity Trees, Lawns and Soil

Sore than one-third of all forest-dwelling
birds and mammals require a hole or cavity
in a tree for nesting or shelter. Most cavity-
nesting birds are insectivorous, and play an important
part in the control of forest insect pests. The scarcity
-- of nesting and roosting cavities seriously limits
i numbers of woodpeckers, nuthatches, wood ducks,
.' screech owls, bluebirds, flying squirrels and many
other desirable backyard dwellers. People are the
problem-we harvest mature and dead trees for
firewood and remove dead trees and limbs merely to
keep our yards neat. Under natural conditions, a
woodland recycles everything. It does not become
"dirty" and never needs "cleaning"!

Although a well-kept lawn may provide a grassy snack for a rabbit or a worm for a robin, to qualify as
good habitat it must be close to cover and food plants. Most people like to maintain mowed grass for
outdoor play and entertaining, but remember, manicured lawns extending from property line to
property line will be nearly as devoid of wildlife as asphalt!

Recommendation: Think carefully about which lawn areas you don't use and replace them with beds of
trees, shrubs, meadow and natural ground cover for your wildlife neighbors.

Most people have a mental image of what makes a rich soil: it's dark and smells fresh; it's fluffy, not
lumpy or loose like beach sand; and moist, not dry or muddy. These qualities are, in fact, ideal for
most plants. If you improve your soil to match your mental image, your plants will mostly take care of
themselves. Healthy soil will grow healthy plants, and healthy plants will produce lots of food and cover for

Recommendation: You have to start with topsoil. If you are trying to garden on soil that was dug out of a
pit to fill your lot, you may have to haul in some topsoil before you do anything else. Assuming you have
topsoil, the most important thing you can do for your garden is to mulch, which means to spread some type of
plant material over your soil. On the poorest fill, and even without the addition of topsoil, mulching begins the
process of soil formation and allows a wide range of plantings to flourish. Don't discard leaves or grass clippings
if you rake. After they have dried, spread them thickly (at least three inches deep) between your plants and
shallowly around their bases. Mulch should not touch tree or shrub trunks directly. Mulching will keep your soil
moist, inhibit weeds, and the clippings will eventually break down and enrich your soil.

Recommendations: One of the greatest services a
landowner can do for wildlife is to leave at least one or
two dead trees (snags) standing per quarter-acre lot. If
you have few cavity trees on your property, set out
home-built nest boxes (page 21) to encourage cavity-
nesting birds and mammals. Obviously, snags that
present a safety hazard should be removed.

'S .. .
r. .I

B irs

his table provides you with specific
management techniques to attract the birds
you desire to your backyard. Only 63 of the
most common species found in Florida yards have
been included. Creating high quality habitat for
these species will inevitably attract many more.
Florida birds fall into four groups: year-round
residents, summer breeders, winter visitors and
seasonal migrants. This table lists the geographical
part of the state (north N, south S) and the time
of year you are likely to encounter the bird (year-
round R, summer breeder SB, winter resident -
WR, migrant M). More detailed occurrence
information on all Florida birds is available from
the GFC (see "For Further Information").
We have described the birds' desired natural
foods and nesting sites so you can be sure your
backyard habitat is complete. You will also be able
to note whether birds you especially want to attract
are likely to use a feeder or a nest box (details on
pp. 21-22).
Finally, special management and landscape
considerations are listed for each species.

Preferred Natural

Nesting Site

Will They Use...

Nest Boxes?

Special Management
and Landscape

Attract the Wildlife You Want


Blue Grosbeak

N (R). S (R)
Blue Grosbeak
N (SB), S (M)
Indigo and Painted
N (SB), S (WR)

Mostly seeds of wild and
cultivated grasses, some
insects. Cardinals eat more
than 100 kinds of fruits.

Thickets, vines, dense stands
of young saplings, other
brushy plants.



Cardinals prefer mixed
gardens with hedges and
lawns backed by a variety of
trees; have a strong
preference for sunflower
seeds. Buntings and
grosbeaks like brushy
pastures and woodland edges;
like an exposed perch to sing
on; feed on ground; feed on
white proso millet at feeders.
Buntings are shy and require
heavy cover near feeders.

Purple Martin

Purple Martin
N and S (SB)

Vast quantities of insects.

Natural cavities, holes and
crevices in sides of bluffs or



Prefer open meadows and
lawns near water. Have
learned to nest in gourds and
special apartment houses
placed in suitable habitat.
Don't use pesticides nearby


N (SB), S (R)

Flower nectar, tiny insects
and spiders

Limb of low tree, often
overhanging water.



Garden with variety of
plantings is ideal, including
herbaceous flowering borders,
running water, and special
sugar water feeders (see page
19). Strongly attracted to red
tubular flowers like native

Carolina Wren

House Wren



Brown Thrasher


Tufted Titmouse

Eastern Bluebird
N and S (R)

Blue Jay
N and S (R)

Carolina Wren
N and S (R)
House Wren
N and S (WR)

N and S (R)
N and S (WR)
Brown Thrasher
N and S (R)

Carolina Chickadee
N (R)
Tufted Titmouse
N (R)

Preferred Natural

Nesting Site

Will They Use...

Nest Boxes?

Special Management
and Landscape

Primarily insects, some fruits
and berries,

Natural cavities in trees, old
woodpecker holes in trees
and fence posts.

Acorns, other nuts and
berries, insects, small reptiles
and mammals.

Variety of trees 10-30' off the

Mostly insects.

Cavities, or crotches of trees
or shrubs.

Insects, grubs, fruits and

Dense, thorny shrubs or vines
conceal basket-like nests.
Brambles ideal.

Insects and many plant foods.

Natural cavities and
abandoned woodpecker



Prefer orchards, old fields
with scattered trees, open,
second growth woodlands.
Birds are strongly territorial,
so place nest boxes 100' apart
(detailed plans available from
GFC). Commonly use bird-
baths. Restricted to rural and
agricultural areas in south

Prefer yards with large
numbers of trees, esp. oaks,
beeches and pines. Water is a
major attractant. Peanuts are
especially attractive at

Like wooded gardens with
dense shrub undergrowth.
Will nest in almost any cavity
around homes; try hanging a
gourd under house eaves.
Loves peanut butter/suet

Edge situations provided by
gardens excellent for
mockingbirds; native berries
are important food sources.
Catbirds like access to water.
Thrashers forage on the
ground where leaf litter is

Yards with mature deciduous
and evergreen trees supported
by dense shrub and small tree
understory are best.
Chickadees prefer to dig own
cavities in partly rotted
trunks or stumps, esp. pine
and birch. Hanging suet
feeders and sunflower seeds
are especially attractive.


Blue Jay

Screech Owl

Barred Owl Woodpeckers

American Kestrel

Location (NS)
Time of Residence

Preferred Natural

Nesting Site

Special Management
and Landscape

Screech Owl
N and S (R)
Barred Owl
N and S(R)
American Kestrel
N and S (R)

Mice and insects.




Like gardens with many old
trees close to open, unmowed
areas for hunting. Prefer
cavities in hardwoods and old
woodpecker holes in pines.
Readily use appropriate nest
boxes. Will use water if

Woodpeckers (Red-headed,
Red-bellied, Downy,
Flicker, Pileated)
N and S (R)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
N and S (WR)

Major consumers of forest
pest insects, grubs and eggs,
ants, beetles; and also berries,
nuts and seeds.

Cavities in dead or dying


(except pileated)

Pileated and red-bellied
prefer old growth forests with
mixed hardwoods. Downy
and flicker common in
gardens with mix of
deciduous and coniferous
trees and shrubs, some open
ground. Optimum garden for
red-headed has lawns and
shrub beds, a few large pines
and oaks and some dead
snags nearby. Maintain snags
in your yard for all wood-
peckers. Leave stumps and
fallen logs as foraging habitat.
Will eat suet; red-headed
likes bread on platform


Wood Thrush


N and S (WR)
Wood Thrush
N (SB), S (M)
Rufous-sided Towhee
N and S (R)

Forage on ground for insects;
also eat fleshy fruits and

Towhee-on or close to
ground under dense shrub
Wood thrush-shrub or
small tree 6-12' high.

Robin and thrush-rarely.


Wooded gardens with
densely planted understory.
Robins like lawns with
scattered trees, berry bushes
in winter. Towhees fond of
brush piles, prefer to forage
under feeders on ground,
close to cover. Shaded,
ground-level birdbaths or
pools with close cover of
shrubs excellent.

Northern flicker

Orioles Doves
Cedar Waxwing Nuthatches Whd Northern Bobwhite
Summer Tanager White-crowned

Orchard Oriole
N (SB), S (M)
Spot-breasted Oriole
Northern Oriole
N and S (WR)
Summer Tanager
N and S (SB)

Cedar Waxwing
N and S (WR)

N (R)
Brown-headed Nuthatch
N and S (R)

Mourning and Ground
N and S (R)
White-Crowned Pigeon

Northern Bobwhite
N and S (R)

Preferred Natural

Nesting Site

Special Management
and Landscape

Insects, fleshy fruits, esp.

Oriole-shade, street trees,
preferably near water.
Tanager-deciduous trees.
often oaks.



Prefer high feeding stations
with fruit; northern orioles
enjoy suet. Attracted to
gardens with mixed fruit
trees, esp. orchard trees,
dogwood, mulberry, tupelos,
wild cherry and blackberry.
Orioles attracted to fruit at
feeders, especially oranges.

Abundant fleshy fruits on
shrubs and trees. Also, buds
and flowers of hardwood

Not in Florida.



Manage your property to
include many fruiting natives;
roving flocks of waxwings
will devour dogwood, holly
and red cedar berries in late

Insects, seeds and nuts.

Cavities in dead trees or old
woodpecker holes.



Don't cut snags! Many
hardwoods and pines are
preferred cavity trees. Suet
and sunflower seeds are
feeder favorites.

Insects, seeds, nuts and fruits.
All except pigeon are ground

Pigeon-often nest in
mangroves, usually on
offshore islands.
Dove-varies, from ground to
shrubs, vines, etc.



Need dense cover of shrubs
near open fields or lawns with
scattered trees. Provide water
on the ground-birds like to
bathe daily.

Seeds, acorns, some fruit;
some insects and spiders.

Ground nest in brushy
open grasslands and open
pine woods.



Comes readily to seed on
ground. Requires heavy brush
for daytime cover. A brush
pile (page 16) is ideal.


Pine Siskin


N and S (WR)
Purple Finch
N (WR)
Pine Siskin
N (WR)

Preferred Natural

Nesting Site

Special Management
and Landscape

Buds, soft fruits, seeds,
insects in summer.

Not in Florida.



Sweetgum and sycamore
fruits are prized winter foods;
water is one of best
attractants. Most prefer high
feeders; goldfinches will feed
on the ground. All love
sunflower seeds and niger
(thistle) seeds.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
N and S (SB)

Caterpillars, grasshoppers,
other insects.

8-12' high in shrubs or on
horizontal tree branches.



Best natural controller of tent
caterpillars. Generally prefer
trees with dense canopies,
such as oaks.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
N and S (WR)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
N and S (R)

Tiny insects gleaned from
foliage high in trees. Kinglets
also eat wax myrtle berries.

Gnatcatchers nest on
horizontal limbs 25' or higher;
use many kinds of trees.



Prefer mature, diverse garden
with good mix of evergreen
and deciduous trees.
Occasionally visit small
hanging suet feeders. Rarely
found in urban south Florida

Whnre-crownec pigeon

Preferred Natural

Nesting Site

Will They Use..

Nest Boxes?

Special Management
and Landscape

Eastern Phoebe
N and S (WR)
Great Crested Flycatcher
N (SB), S (R)
Eastern and Gray
N and S (SB)

Mostly catch insects, bees,
etc. midair; also eat
grasshoppers, ants, some
Often near water; kingbird
likes medium shrubs or trees.
ireat crested-natural cavities.
Phoebe-bridges, rafters, eaves


except kingbird

Like deciduous and mixed
woods, edge situations.
Attracted by gardens with
streams, pools with small
waterfalls, other sources of
running water. Favor many
wild fruits. Kingbirds need
perch with good view. Great
crested flycatcher will nest in


Common and Boat-
tailed Grackle

Red-winged Blackbird
N and S (R)
Common and Boat-tailed
N and S (R)

Mostly seeds and grains,
some insects.

Wetlands or nearby fields,
often in cattails.


Orange-crowned and
N and S (WR)
Parula, Pine and
N and S (mostly R)

Insects, some seeds.

Large trees, ex. yellowthroat,
shrubs near water. Parula uses
Spanish moss to construct


Vireos: Red-eyed
N (SB)
N and S (R)
N (SB)
N (M), S (SB)

Insects and spiders, some
fleshy berries prior to

All suspend hanging nests in
trees from 3-4' off ground
(white-eyed) to tree tops


Chipping Sparrow
N and S (R)
Song, White-throated,
and other migrant
N and S (M)

Feed on ground, mostly weed
and grass seeds, some insects.

Chipping-near ground in
dense thickets.

Suet feeders only.


Forage in all types of open
habitat during nonbreeding
season. Prefer ground feeders,
but will use others. Highly
attracted to sources of water.

Many resident and migrant
warbler species will be
attracted to a diverse, richly-
planted garden with many
canopy layers, including
mature trees. Oaks provide
good source of caterpillars. A
water source will bring in
seldom seen species. Yellow-
rumped, pine and orange-
crowned commonly seen at
suet feeder.

Same as warblers. Black-
whiskered vireos favor

Require mixed garden
vegetation with close shrub
cover. Will visit ground
feeders regularly. Liberally
use water if provided.

j mammals

At least half of Florida's 62 terrestrial mammal
species might occur in a well-rounded
backyard habitat. If you live in an urban or
suburban area, mammalian neighbors may include
the animals described below. Don't count on
attracting larger animals like foxes, bobcats and deer
unless extensive areas of suitable habitat adjoin your
neighborhood. Mammals cannot fly over poor
habitat like birds can, so if your property is sur-
rounded by unsuitable habitat, it may be difficult to
attract them to your yard. Also, most mammals are
nocturnal and secretive, and they are very
dependent upon the cover you provide to protect
them from predators. Although most mammals will
not be seen as often as birds, they can be just as
interesting and beneficial in your backyard habitat.

Raccoons and opossums live in all but the most urban
Florida habitats as long as they have access to food, water
and daytime cover. Sleeping sites and dens include hollow
trees, underground burrows, brush piles and even garages or
abandoned buildings. These nighttime foragers are
opportunists and will eat fleshy fruits, nuts, corn and other
grains, small animals and human garbage.

Succulent green plants, woody blackberries and tree bark
are the primary food items of cottontail rabbits. Rabbits
prefer to live in fields of herbaceous plants and grasses
punctuated with dense, thorny low-growing hedges for cover.
There's no quicker way to increase cottontails than by
building protective brush piles.

Flying squirrels and gray squirrels are especially
abundant in wooded suburbs having mature oaks and
hickories, dense understories and a supply of cavity trees.
Nuts, seeds, berries, mushrooms and insects make up a
squirrel's diet, and they often nest in an abandoned
woodpecker hole or a bird nest box. If you notice Spanish
moss protruding from your bluebird or chickadee house,
you probably have a flying squirrel in residence. Gray
squirrels are active during the day, but flying squirrels are
nocturnal animals. Both species, if present, are readily
attracted by peanut butter spread on a feeding stand.

Florida has a number of native rodents that might visit
your backyard. The handsome cotton mouse and old-field
mouse are likely residents, or you may even provide a home
for the eastern woodrat. No matter which species inhabit
your land, you will seldom see them, and will even have to
look closely just to see their tunnels, nests and droppings.
Nevertheless, they are important members of a backyard food
chain, eating large quantities of insects and weed seeds, and
in turn, serving as a meal for owls and hawks. Although they
occasionally enter old buildings, these native rodents are not
disease-carrying nuisances like the introduced house mouse,
black rat and Norway rat.

The streamlined mole is well-outfitted for life in the
meandering underground runways it digs in constant search
for food. Moles are primarily insect eaters; damage to bulbs
and crop plants usually results from drying of roots as the
animal tunnels after earthworms and garden pests. Their
contributions to a healthy garden outweigh any incidental
damage they create. Shrews are tiny voracious predators that
consume up to half or more of their weight in insects and
invertebrates each day. They patrol small flattened runs in
the leaves and organic matter that cover the ground. They are
an asset to any garden.

You may be lucky enough to have the insect-eating
services of a bat or two, particularly if your backyard habitat
is near a pond or stream. About ten species of bats frequent

Florida's nighttime skies. Most occur in the northern
half of the state. All are gentle, harmless and very beneficial
insectivores. Some sleep alone in trees or Spanish moss,
while others seek an attic or abandoned building for colonial
roosting. You might be able to attract them by providing
artificial roost boxes (write the Florida Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission to obtain building plans).

Managing for Mammals in Your

*Give special protection to cavity trees on your
land. If you have few or none, nest boxes can
substitute for natural cavities.
*Plant native trees with edible fruits and nuts,
such as mulberry, wild cherry, beech, pine and oak.
*Protect nearby streams, swamps and marshes
from destruction and water pollution.
*Create maximum habitat diversity and edges in
your backyard habitat.
*Provide ample low cover to supply protective
shelter from predators (including dogs and cats) and
the elements.
*If vegetative cover is scarce, build a brush pile.

Bottom half of brush pile

Managing for Herps in Your Yard

Most of Florida's reptiles and amphibians are small
and secretive and need a little bit of "wildness" in
which to hide and find food. You can improve the
herp habitat in your yard by doing the following:
*Leave some leaf litter under your trees, shrubs and
in the garden.
*Encourage native ground cover, grasses and
wildflowers; a finely mowed lawn is attractive to
people but not to most herps.
*Leave stumps, rotting logs and stones where
possible. Brush piles and wood piles also provide
valuable shelters and basking sites.
*Wooden rail or slat fences not only brighten the
yard but provide lizards with perches on which to
bask, catch insects and set up territories.
*Try to discourage cats from using your yard; they
are efficient hunters and frequently destroy herps and
other wildlife.

Top half of brush pile construction
-4To build your own brush pile, lay four logs (6 feet long
and 4 to 8 inches in diameter) parallel to one another about
8 to 12 inches apart on the ground. Then place four more
logs of the same size across and perpendicular to the first
four poles. These will keep "tunnels" open under the pile.
Next add brush: larger limbs first, then smaller branches,
until you've created a structure 4 to 6 feet in height and
diameter. Sticks and branches can then be continually added
to the top as the pile rots at the bottom, providing food for
an abundance of earthworms, enriching the soil and reducing
the need for trash collection. If you want a brush pile for
birds to use, but not rabbits, pile brush one or two feet off
the ground on cement blocks. It will no longer shelter

The slimy salamander, in its black cloak studded with
flecks of white or gold, is a handsome mini-predator of small
insects and spiders in leaf litter and beneath rotting logs.
Most often seen at night when the ground is wet, its name
derives from the viscous slime it produces to thwart its
The little squirrel treefrog is one of the "chameleons" of
the frog world, and can change its color from dark brown to
lime green. Often ranging far from water, it is a frequent
stalker of the insects attracted to your lighted window pane
at night. By day, it retreats into a nearby tree or shrub where
it may give its nasal, duck-like "waaak" reminiscent of a
scolding squirrel.
You should feel honored if the familiar high-domed box
turtle chooses your yard or garden for its home, because
these reptiles may live to be 100 years old! The box turtle is
so named because the special hinge on its bottom shell lets it
close up into an armored box when faced with danger. This
familiar land turtle eats a variety of low-growing plants,
fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, insects and worms. It avoids
the summer sun and winter cold by digging a small shelter in
the leaf litter or underbrush.
The green anole, sometimes called "the American
chameleon" due to its ability to change from bright green to
dark brown, is one of several lizard species at home around
people. Its insect-catching skills provide great free
entertainment, as do its social interactions. Males pump out
their startling pink throat fan or "dewlap" to advertise their
virility and personal territory.
The southern ringneck snake, which seldom exceeds 14
inches in length, occasionally turns up in the garden, where it
eats slugs, earthworms and other small animals. Brown to
slate black with a bright yellow necklace, the ringneck may
escape notice until you see its bright yellow belly beset with
bold black spots. This and other small snake species may be
important predators of destructive insects, and can be
encouraged by providing areas of leaf litter and logs or stones
for cover.
The common "black snake" of Florida is the southern
black racer, a slender, shiny black, and very fast serpent that
grows to over five feet. The racer eats an astonishing variety
of other animals, from insects and frogs to mice, lizards and
other snakes. While cruising for its prey, each racer covers a
lot of territory; very likely the one you see will be "just
passing through."
Rat snakes are tremendously variable in color, pattern,
and local name (corn or "red rat" snake; gray rat or "white
oak" snake; yellow rat or "chicken" snake), but all are
superb climbers that prey on destructive rodents. Their
presence in your shed or near your house may indicate a
plethora of mice.
NOTE: There are only six species of poisonous snakes
in Florida (two of which are very rare and found only
in extreme north Florida). Learn to recognize these,
and any others you see will be safe, valuable additions
to your backyard fauna.

ano -tmpniians
loridians are lucky to share their state with a
wide variety of reptiles and amphibians.
Thanks to its unique geological history,
climate and diverse plant communities, Florida has
127 species of native herptiles or "herps" (from the
Greek herpeton, meaning "creeping thing"). With
so many "creeping" (and hopping, slithering and
swimming) critters around, it's no wonder that
some may choose to make their home near where
you choose to make yours! At left are
representatives of the Florida salamanders, frogs,
turtles, lizards and snakes you are most likely to run
into in your backyard or side garden, plus some
hints on how to make them happy. If you are lucky
enough to live next to some woods, a stream or a
pond, you may see some "herps" not listed here.
For pictures and more information about all of
these, we recommend A Field Guide to the
Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and
Central North American by Roger Conant
(Peterson Field Guide Series).

As you create your backyard habitat, don't
overlook the nectar-seekers-hummingbirds
and butterflies. They are valuable plant
pollinators, and delightful to observe as well.
It's easy to attract butterflies to your garden by
providing their favorite nectar-producing flowers.
But to persuade them to stay all summer, you must
also grow those plants that supply food for the
insects' larval stage. Female butterflies lay their eggs
only on certain plants that will nourish the young
caterpillars (larvae) after they hatch. Some
caterpillars feed on just one kind of plant, while
others may dine on a broad range of related species.
Zebra swallowtail larvae, for example, feed only on
pawpaw plants, while tiger swallowtails will
consume leaves from many broadleaf shrubs and
trees, especially willows and tulip poplars.

Here are some ways to create a
backyard butterfly habitat:

*Let a few sunny areas in your yard go wild. Grasses
3nd wildflowers native to your region of Florida are
rhe be.t and most permanent butterfly draws. Over
time, introduce seeds of other native butterfly-
atrrricung herbs to these natural food patches. Try to
introduce vegetation that has staggered blooming
sea-oron so you can offer a steady progression of
Sllo, ers throughout the warm months.
SMow your meadow areas only at the end of the
butterfly season (November in most parts of
Florida) to avoid harming larvae.
*As you design your landscape plan, select
some of your permanent trees, shrubs and
vines specifically for their butterfly food
value e This can be as simple as placing a few
important shrubs in a sunny spot you can see from
your porch or window. Write for a free fact sheet on
butterfly gardening from the Nongame Wildlife Program
(see page 33) which lists the larval and nectar food
plants for each common Florida butterfly.
*Provide at least one puddle area for your
butterflies, because these insects cannot drink from
open water. Wet sand, earth or mud are the best butter-
fly watering holes (see illustration).
*Enhance your butterfly management effort with
personal observations. Learn which species already
occur in your area and identify the plants they are
visiting. Go a step further and study local butterflies
and their preferred plants in more natural field and
forest settings. Many field guides on butterflies and
local flora can help you in your identification (see S
page 33).
*Most important of all, refrain from using
insecticides and herbicides in your habitat. Explain the
harmful effects of these chemicals to your neighbors as

A You can make a watering station for butterflies by
adding sand to the saucer of a bird bath to reduce its
depth. Add a rock to the center that can act as a
resting spot. A large saucer designed to fit beneath clay
flower pots will do the same job handsomely.



Artificial feeders: use with caution

The safest, most balanced wa to encourage
hummingbirds is to provide their IL~ orire nec:r Irng
blossoms in sunny habitats. But. a. most
hummer fans know, sugar-water g
feeders are usually a sure
draw for these birds. If you
choose to supplement the birds' natural diet in this
way, protect them from hazardous, spoiled solution.
by observing the following safety tips:

DO use a feeding solution of four parts water to orL
part white granulated sugar-no stronger. Bring water
to a full boil, dissolve in sugar and promptly cool.
Refrigerate unused portions.

DO choose feeders that can be dismantled and
thoroughly cleaned to remove bacteria and fungus
molds. Scrub with hot water and vinegar (no soap)
every four or five days.

DO NOT use honey. It may contain botulism toxins
and fungi fatal to hummingbirds.

DO NOT use red dye or commercial solutions with
red coloring. The red plastic feeders will attract the
birds just as well.

DO NOT use insect sprays to control bees, wasps or
ants on feeders. Vegetable oil applied around the
feeder openings and on the suspending wire should
discourage these unwanted visitors. Many commercially
available feeders come equipped with plastic bee guards.

Hummingbird gardens
An excellent planting design for a hummingbird
garden follows the wildlife landscaping principle of
layered vegetation. Build a cascade of plant attractants
by securing a trellis to a wall and covering it with
trumpet creeper or coral honeysuckle vines. Or
consider a red buckeye (north Florida) or geiger tree
(south Florida) for height at the back of your
hummingbird garden. Add lower shrubs such as coral
bean or firebush, and then low flowering annuals and
perennials closest to the ground.


f.r .---*--


S "

1 ..


Ruby-throated hummingbirds, our only
nesting hummingbird species, are most
attracted to nectar-rich plants having bright
red or orange blossoms of tubular shape. You will
have to choose your plants carefully-many of the
popular, exotic landscape plants are unsuitable for
nectar-seekers. Stick with flowering natives,
especially trees, shrubs, vines and perennials which
will require a minimum of care. Annuals, on the
other hand, must be replaced each year. Single-
flowered blossoms have more nectar than double
ones, so avoid double-flowered and sterile hybrids.
Hummingbirds feed most comfortably from
blossoms two feet or higher above the ground. They
will also visit hanging potted plants and sugar-water
feeders on open patios and porches. Be sure to
consider the best viewing opportunities your
windows and porches afford as you place your
hummingbird garden or plants. Remember, too,
that flowering plants nearly always require full sun.

Problem quests
f you're lucky and you've created a balanced
backyard habitat, a complex, interdependent web
of living creatures is sharing your property.
You've noticed that you can't always pick and
choose which insects, birds and other animals move
to your yard. And you've found out that living
close to wildlife means adapting your behavior to
theirs, and outsmarting or excluding them where
they create a nuisance you can't live with.


What about hawks? Most hawks eat mice,
grasshoppers, rabbits and birds, including exotic,
nuisance house sparrows. There's simply no possibility
that they will deplete the songbirds at your feeder, but
if you manage your yard to concentrate songbirds at
a feeding station, predators will eventually notice and
occasionally take an unwary or slow bird. Follow the
recommendations on page 22 for feeder placement. Be
certain the birds have quick access to shrub or brush
pile cover.

Norway or black rats? The best and only really
effective way to control rats is to stop feeding them.
Don't leave pet food out overnight or stock your
platform or ground feeders with more than a day's
worth of seed. Use rat-proof containers, such as
garbage cans with tightly fitting lids, to store dry
foodstuff. Situate brush piles well away from the bases
of buildings. Encourage rat snakes!

Squirrels at your feeders? Invest in one of the new
baffles built for bird feeders. They really work. If you
have pole feeders, try greasing the pole with vegetable
shortening. It's harmless, biodegradable and hilarious!

Nest box predators? Keep bird nest boxes on poles;
clear tall vegetation from base of pole. Sheet metal
wrapped around wooden poles will prevent predators
from climbing into boxes.

Birds in your berry patch? Try a few strategies.
Invest in plastic bird netting. It's the only way to
assure yourself a full crop. Plant native attractants,
such as wild cherry, elderberry, pokeweed and
mulberries, which will dull the birds' appetite for
cultivated fruits. Place one or two nest boxes for
Carolina wrens near your fruit crops. These insect-
eating wrens are very territorial and will harass other
birds that venture near their homes.

Rabbits, armadillos, raccoons in your garden? The
only permanent solution is fencing. Explore electric,
poultry wire or woven wire fences. If you elect to
install electric fencing, do not use red insulators. They
attract and electrocute hummingbirds. Fences are
movable, cost relatively little and save a great deal of
frustration. Consider chain link fencing if you're
willing to absorb a high initial cost, or if the
neighborhood dog population is especially

Remember, from the standpoint of wildlife,
domestic cats and dogs are a major source of mortality.
It's unfair to attract birds and other animals to a
feeding station if you cannot keep your pets confined.
If you have cats in your yard, do not use mixed grain
feeds or ground feeding stations. Sunflower or thistle
seeds in tube feeders will discourage the especially
vulnerable ground feeders, such as doves and quail.


Nest Box Dimensions For Florida Cavity Nesters

Depth Ht. of Diam. Ht.
Floor of of Entrance of Above
Species Cavity Cavity Above Fl. Entrance Ground Special Notes
Inches Inches Inches Inches Feet
Carolina Wren 4 8 1 1 can use shelf, basket
Carolina Wren 4 x 4 8 1-6 1'/4 6-10 or gourd

Bluebird 5 x 5 8 6 1 5-10

Crested Flycatcher 6 x 6 10 6 2 8-20

Purple Martin 6 x 6 6 1-2 2-214 10-20 will also use gourd

Wood Duck 1010 24 20 high land:15-25 use predator guard
x 4" wide water: 5-25
put 3-4" sawdust
Downy Woodpecker 4 x 4 10 8 6-20 boxsawdust

Red-bellied or Red- 6 x 6 15 9 2 8-20 put 3-4" sawdust
headed Woodpecker in box

Flicker 7 x 7 18 14 2 8-20 put 3-4" sawdust
in box

Tufted Titmouse 4 x 4 8 6 1 5-15

Chickadee 4 x 4 8 6 1/ 5-15
3" high use coping saw to
Screech Owl 10 x 10 24 20 x 4" wide 10-30 cut hole

Barred and Barn Owl 12 x 12 25-28 12-16 (a) 10-30

Think of the delight children and adults both
experience when they watch birds building
their nests, and the awe they feel when they
spot the first fledglings peeking out, then learning to
fly! Erecting a properly designed nest box promises not
only education and entertainment, but the potential
for significant increases in local bird populations.
At least 22 resident Florida birds nest in cavities in
trees or branches. Some do their own excavating, but
most depend on natural cavities chiseled out and then
abandoned by woodpeckers. If you think natural
nesting cavities are scarce in your neighborhood, you
should supply artificial nest structures.
When buying or building a bird house, make sure it
is designed for a specific species-not just for "birds."
Commercial boxes are often built more to attract

buyers than birds. Keep in mind that each
species has preferred nesting requirements (see table).
The closer you match these preferences, the more
likely it is that your nesting structure will become
Boxes should be built of 3/4-inch durable woods
such as cypress, western cedar or exterior-grade
plywood. Use rough-cut grade lumber; it will blend
nicely with the natural habitat you are creating and
give the birds a foothold when they climb out of the
box. Avoid using plastic or metal boxes. They absorb
too much heat during our scorching summers and may
bake the fledglings. Exceptions to this rule are the
anodized aluminum purple martin houses now
available. These structures have a relatively large
entrance and central ventilating shaft that opens to
each compartment and provides sufficient cooling.

A good bird house should:

1. Have ventilation holes under roof overhang.
2. Have drainage holes.
3. Have cleats or be roughened with a wood chisel
beneath the entrance hole to help birds climb
4. Be built for a definite species; proper entrance
size and cavity depth very important.
5. Have roof extending over all sections for
maximum protection.

Supplementing Your Backyard Habitat

Feeding Stations

Feeding birds is a popular backyard activity in
Florida-a 1985 survey revealed that 66
percent of all respondents had fed birds or other
wildlife around their homes in the past year. There's
certainly no easier place to introduce children and
adults alike to the joys of bird-watching than at a
backyard feeder. Just offer food under reasonably
sanitary conditions, and you needn't worry about ill
effects of supplemental feeding on local bird
Let variety be your guide when you set up a bird
feeding station. You'll find that each species strongly
prefers certain foods and feeding situations.
Seeds are a favorite with many birds because of their
high protein and fat content. Studies have shown that
the top grain choices for birds are oil, striped and
hulled sunflower seeds; fine cracked corn; white proso
millet; and niger (thistle) seed. Use separate feeders for
different kinds of grain to reduce competition at
feeders and prevent grain loss. Avoid most commercial
seed mixes. They are usually wasteful, because the birds
pick out only the grains they prefer; the rest ends up
on the ground and sprouts. You may be able to
eliminate some nuisance species if you keep their
preferred food items out of your feeders. Milo and
hulled oats attract starlings. Wheat is preferred by
brown-headed cowbirds and house sparrows. Consult
the references on page 33 if you'd like to learn more
about individual bird species' feeding preferences.
Try placing several kinds of feeders at various
heights and locations in your garden to accommodate
the different eating styles of your birds. A varied
backyard feeding program might include:
*millet and cracked corn on the ground for doves,
towhees, sparrows and quail (unless cats, mice or rats
are a problem).
*sunflower seeds, mixed grains and fruit offered on
platform or hopper feeders three or four feet off the
ground for perching birds like cardinals, finches and
*a suet feeder suspended or attached to a tree limb.
It may attract at least 12 different species of birds
on a year-round basis. Raw suet will become rancid
quickly, so use the suet cake recipe on this page and
place the feeder in a shady location.

Remember to locate your feeders in spots that are
easily visible from your house. Be certain that birds
have access to thick shrub or tree cover in which to
escape predators within 10 to 20 feet of the feeder.
However, don't place feeders in the middle of dense
shrubbery; these locations can work against the birds
and in favor of a stalking cat. Windows can be another
hazard to birds frequenting feeders. Bird collisions
with windows usually result from confusing scenic
reflections and seemingly open passageways. You can
cut down on these accidents by hanging a mobile or
using stained glass or the silhouette of a hawk to break
up reflections on the windows.

REMEMBER, birds will readily visit backyard feeders,
even in relatively barren habitat. However, permanent
increases in local bird populations will only occur as
your landscape (their habitat) grows in richness and

Recipe for Suet Cake
1 cup ground suet
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2-3 cups yellow corn meal
1/2 cup enriched white or whole wheat flour

(1) Melt suet in saucepan.
(2) Add peanut butter, stirring until melted and blended.
(3) In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
(4) When the suet/peanut butter mix has cooled and
begins to thicken, add the dry ingredients and
blend thoroughly.
(5) Stuff mixture into a pine cone or form into
cakes in muffin tins for use in suet feeders.

A good bird feeder should:

1. Hold enough food for two or three days use.
2. Protect the food from inclement weather
because wet grain spoils quickly. Moldy food is
unhealthy for birds.
3. Be free from predators. Use pole guards if
necessary and locate close to cover.
4. Keep spillage and waste to a minimum.
5. Be easily seen from your favorite observation
point near a window, patio or porch.
6. Be maintained year-round.




You should time your mister's operation to
minimize cost and wasted water. Both migrant and
resident birds are most active between sunrise and
10:00 a.m., and again in the later afternoon and early
evening. Install a timer at your hose outlet to activate
the mister jet only at those times.

Backyard habitat isn't complete without
water for drinking and bathing. In fact,
furnishing clean water at the right height with
protective cover nearby is one of the most useful
methods you can use to attract birds and improve
wildlife habitat. A predator-safe birdbath will lure
species that seldom visit feeders, especially during
spring and fall migrations and the hot summer months.
Many migrant songbirds, including warblers, vireos,
and gnatcatchers, normally dwell in the forest canopy.
Other backyard residents,including catbirds, thrashers,
wrens, towhees and thrushes, haunt secretive thickets
to avoid predators and venture away from cover only
briefly. In the wild, they drink and bathe in water
droplets among leafy branches, and in bromeliad
"cups" located close to dense, low shrubbery. As a
result, Florida's many lakes and streams, as well as the
rockpits and miles of canals that criss-cross south
Florida, are virtually useless to most songbirds and
small mammals. A few migrants, including robins, will
use canal edges, but even they seem to prefer shallow
Almost any flat receptacle that holds water will
attract birds. An upside-down garbage can lid is a
simple and inexpensive model.
A really successful bird bath:
*is located in a shady, protected spot about 15 feet
from shrubbery and is mounted three feet off the
*has a dry edge or "beach" around the perimeter
and then a gradual slope to a depth of two to three
inches in the center. Birds will not bathe in most
commercial bird baths because the sides are too steep.
*has a rough bottom for safe footholds.
*has "live" or moving water. Misting or dripping
water attracts birds that might otherwise overlook the
bath. Thin metal bird baths magnify the sound of
falling water droplets which birds find so irresistable.
The best design should include a thin jet or mist of
water that shoots vertically into overhanging tree
branches and then drips back into the bath.
Keep your wildlife water supply both dependable
and clean. Unpredictable water sources are rarely

'~J "' rc~r
r-.a F.

Native Plants

for Backyard

Florida Habitats

This table lists 55 trees, 28 shrubs and small trees, and seven vines with
excellent wildlife value for home landscapes. All are native to Florida. You
can identify potential plants for your landscape by checking their preferred
temperature zones and soil types. The climate map will help you determine whether
you live in north (N), central (C), south (S) or semitropical (SS) Florida. Soil
types are broadly classified as wet, poorly drained (W); garden soils with average
moisture, i.e., pine flatwoods, mulched urban fill soils (A); and very dry or xeric
soils that are rarely or never flooded, usually in full sun situations (D). The table
also tells you whether the plant is evergreen (E) or deciduous (D-seasonally drops
and regrows its leaves) and when it fruits: summer (S), fall (F), winter (W) or
spring (Sp). Season of flowering is marked with an asterisk if important to wildlife.
Both common and scientific names are provided to help you purchase exactly what
you want from a plant nursery. Use references on page 33 to learn more about
individual plant species.

American Beech
(Fagus grandifolia)

(Conocarpus erectus)

Cedar, Southern Red
(Juniperus silicicola)

Cherry, Black
(Prunus serotina)

Cherry Laurel
(Prunus caroliniana)


C (Barrier
islands), S,SS






All E

A Nuts eaten by game birds, mammals, woodpeckers, blue jays, titmice, nuthatches, grackles, cardinals,

Excellent cover and nesting plant; can be trimmed into hedge; salt tolerant, wind resistant and tolerates
wet areas.

Good cover and nesting sites; blue fruit attracts tree swallows, cedar waxwings, mockingbirds, yellow-
All rumped warblers, bluebirds, flickers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, opossums, armadillos.

A-D Very important summer food plant; fruit eaten by many bird species and gray squirrels;tent caterpillars
which infest tree in spring, eaten by yellow-billed cuckoos.

Many bird species feed on this dark fruit at a time when little else is available; can be used as an
A-D informal privacy hedge.

Evergreen or
Zone Deciduous

Season of

Value to Wildlife

Value to Wildlife

Coffee Colubrina
(Colubrina arborescens)

Crabapple, Southern
(Malus angustifolia)

Cypress, Bald
(Taxodium distichum)
Cypress, Pond
(T. ascendens)

Dogwood, Flowering
(Cornus florida)

Elm, Winged
(Ulmus alata)

Geiger Tree
(Cordia sebestena)

Gum, Black or
(Nyssa sylvatica)

(Bursera simaruba)

Hackberry or
(Cetis laevigata)

(Crataegus spp.)

(Carya spp.)

(Ilex spp.)
(Ilex opaca)


(FL Keys)


C (Barrier
islands), S,SS











A Fragrant green flowers in fall attract abundant insects, honeybees, wasps, butterflies, diurnal moths,
which in turn attract warblers, gnatcatchers, kingbirds, vireos and flycatchers.

A Fruit eaten by mockingbirds and other bird species.

Seed cones used by gray squirrels, ducks, sandhill cranes, others; long-lived, pest-free tree.

A Bright red fruit very attractive to many species of birds.

Early source of seeds for many songbirds, including finches, sparrows, grosbeaks; f .. iJ itr -uJ..arrel
W-A and rabbits also utilize elm fruits.

A Bright orange flowers relished by hummingbirds; cold sensitive.

Blue fruit eaten by many birds, including woodpeckers, blue jays, bluebirds, cardinals, I. od d uic and
W-A others; hollows in old trees used by birds and mammals; flowers important for bees.

A Clusters of red fruit eaten by mockingbirds and vireos; warblers and flycatchers often seen in canopy.

All Dark fruit eaten by many birds, including catbirds, mockingbirds, robins, thrashers, towhees, cedar
waxwings, flickers; butterfly larvae.

Red or yellow fruit eaten by birds and mammals, including foxes, otters, rabbits; provides good cover
and nesting sites; thorny.

A Nuts eaten by squirrels, wood ducks, blue jays, woodpeckers and crows.

A Female plants bear red fruit that persists into the winter; eaten by many species of birds; good cover;
yaupon holly is salt tolerant; summer plants important source of pollen for bees.

Evergreen or Season of
Zone Deciduous Fruiting Soil

(I. vomitoria)
(I. cassine)

Hornbeam, Blue
(Carpinus caroliniana)

(Nectandra coriacea)

Magnolia, Southern
(Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia, Sweetbay
(M. virginiana)

Maple, Red
(Acer rubrum)
Maple, Florida Sugar
(A. barbatum)


Mulberry, Red
(Morus rubra)

(Quercus spp.)
Live Oak
(Q. virginiana)
White Oak
(Q. alhba)
Basket Oak
(Q. michauzii)
Laurel Oak
(Q. iaunfoiia)
Myrtle Oak
(Q. myrtifolia)

















Continued from previous page.

W-A Nuts eaten by squirrels and some birds.

A Deep purple fruit especially attractive to wood thrushes and veerys.

Good cover for songbirds; red fruit eaten by woodpeckers, red-eyed vireos and others.

Winged seeds eaten by some birds and mammals.

A Yellow fleshy fruit eaten by birds, raccoons, opossums; known as "jungle plum".

Usually only female plants bear fruit; abundant berries attract woodpeckers (including pileated),
W-A kingbirds, great crested flycatchers, blue jays, crows, titmice, mockingbirds, thrashers, grackles,
summer tanagers, cedar waxwings, opossums, raccoons, squirrels.

Acorns are a primary wildlife food source and have high energy value; eaten by game birds,
A woodpeckers (especially red-headed), blue jays, raccoons, quail, gray squirrels, flying squirrels, bears:
provides good cover and nesting sites, den trees and nesting materials, including lots of Spanish moss;
A many warbler species may be found in live oaks feeding on insects; live oak is salt tolerant.



Evergreen or Season of
Zone Deciduous Fruiting Soil

Value to Wildlife


Value to Wildlife

Shumard Oak
(Q hinuiori.)
Water Oak
IQ. nicra)

Palm, Cabbage or
(Sabal palmetto)

Palm. Florida Royal
(Roystonea elata)

Palm, Silver
(Coccothrinax argentata)

Palm. Thatch
(Thnasi radiata)
(T. morrissii)

Paradise Tree
(Simarouba glauca)

(Di.:ipyrno virginiana)










Continued from previous page.

Our state tree; white flowers attract honeybees and other insects; black fruit eaten by many birds,
All especially robins, grackles, mockingbirds, thrashers, red-bellied woodpeckers, catbirds, and raccoons;
palm thatch used as nest building material; frogs, lizards and insects live in crown where moisture
collects; salt tolerant.

A Abundant fruits used by many birds.

A Large clusters of dark purple fruits eaten by many birds.

A Copious white fruits used by songbirds.

A Abundant red fruits.

Female plants bear fleshy fruit in the fall and often persist into winter; important food for raccoons,
All opossums, foxes, skunks and many birds.

southern red cedar

Evergreen or Season of
Zone Deciduous Fruiting Soil

Pigeon Plum
(Coccoloba diversifolia)

(Pinus spp.)
Slash Pine
(P. elliottii)
Longleaf Pine
(P. palustris)
Loblolly Pine
(P. taeda)
Spruce Pine
(P. glabra)
Sand Pine
(P. clausa)







SFemale trees bear dark purple fruit eaten by many birds and other wildlife; fruit is also sold in
Bahamian markets; salt tolerant.


All Pine seeds are of major importance to wildlife, although the crop of seeds varies considerably from year
to year; good cover; seeds eaten by chickadees, blue jays, nuthatches, pine siskins, quail, pine warblers
All and other birds, as well as fox squirrels and gray squirrels; old growth pines provide good nesting
cavities; slash pine is salt tolerant.

Sea Grape
(Coccoloba uvifera)

Short-Leaf Fig
(Ficus citrifolia)

(Eugenia spp.)

Strangler Fig
(Ficus area)


Wild Lime
(Zanthoxylum fagara)

Wild Tamarind
(Lysiloma latisiliqua)

Willow Bustic
(Dipholis salicifolia)


C (Barrier
islands), S,SS



C (Barrier
islands), S,SS


C (Coast), S,SS E

S,SS E to semi-D

(All year, South)







A Good honey plant; fleshy fruit eaten by raccoons, turtles and various bird species; salt tolerant.

A Attracts many fruit-eating and insect-eating birds; cedar waxwings often swarm on it.

A Four species are excellent bird-attracting native landscape trees.

All Attracts swarms of cedar waxwings and many other birds; invasive roots.

W-A Seeds in "gum balls" eaten by goldfinches, siskins, wrens, chickadees, titmice, cardinals, quail and
purple finches.

A Excellent butterfly plant.

Persistent flowers in April, followed by thin, flat, pea-like pods with black seeds; attracts warblers,
gnatcatchers, redstarts, flycatchers.

A-D Small black fruits used by many species; excellent pioneer tree for poor soils.

Evergreen or Season of
Zone Deciduous Fruiting Soil

Value to Wildlife


(Callicarpa americana)

Bird Pepper
(Capsicum anntum

(Rubus spp.)

(Guapira discolor

(Vaccinium spp.)

Buckeye, Red
(Aesculcs pavtia)

Cactus, Prickly Pear
(Opuntia spp.)

(Chrnsnbhanmus icacol

Saupon nolly

Evergreen or Season of
Zone Deciduous Fruiting Soil


S.C (Barrier
,;lanjdls, i5







El i annual

Necklace pod

Value to Wildlife

All Bright purple berries eaten by woodpeckers, mockingbirds, cardinals and other bird species.

Bright red pepper hbielh fa'.orcdJ .\ Ealbrs arn mokinmghrJ.

All Berries are one of the most valuable summer foods for wildlife; berries eaten by many bird species and
raccoons, squirrels, box turtles; excellent cover for wildlife.

A b[rihi ir L. k truir, r'i.dJ bh\ rinbards

All Blueberries are an important summer food source for wildlife; eaten by many bird and mammal species;
good for hedgerows.

A Red rubular Iloi ers leed h mmingpbrds. nutlike fruit eaten by squirrels in fall.

A-D Persistent fruit eaten by raccoons, gopher tortoises, Florida box turtles, eastern woodrats.

All Large fruits edible by humans and wildhfe.


Coffee, Wild
(Psychotria nervosa)

Coral Bean
(Erythrina herbacea)

(Sambucus canadensis)

(Hamelia patens)

Florida Trema
(Trema micrantha)

Fringe Tree


(Myrsine floridana)

Necklace Pod
(Sophora tomentosa)

Palmetto, Saw
(Serenoa repens)


Privet, Florida
(Forestiera segregata)

(Sassafras albidum)







C(Coast), S,SS E








(All year)











Evergreen or Season of
Zone Deciduous Fruiting Soil

W-A Fruits eaten by many birds and mammals.

A Purple fruit eaten by most fruit-eating birds.

A-W Good food, cover, and nesting sites for many birds; good hedge plant for barrier islands.

A Yellow, pea-like flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds and attract insects, which in turn
attract vireos and warblers.

All Spring flowers provide nectar for honeybees; fruit eaten by several bird species and raccoons; excellent

All A weed worth cultivating; dark purple fruit eaten by many songbirds, including bluebirds, cardinals,
thrashers, thrushes, waxwings, raccoons, opossums and foxes.

A Spring flowers attract insects during spring migration, and many warblers come to feast on the insects;
small dark fruit on plants consumed by a number of species.

Dark blue fruit eaten by kingbirds, crested flycatchers, phoebes, pileated woodpeckers, mockingbirds,
A thrashers, catbirds and flickers.

Fleshy red berries widely used by wildlife species.

Red flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds.

Excellent summer source of food for wildlife; deep purple fruit eaten by many bird species.

Orange-red tubular flowers throughout year attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Large quantities of small fruits eaten by many birds.

Value to Wildlife

Sweetbay magnolia

Evergreen or Season of
Zone Deciduous Fruiting Soil

ronu cypress ca lat

Value to Wildlife

Seven-year Apple
( C sa.Lila clu.lll olik)


Sumac, Winged
I Rhum copalllna)

(Tetrazygia bicolor)

Torch wood
(A mwyi. elemleral I

(Viburnum spp.)

Wax Myrtle
( lyrica cenItileria















A Persistent fragrant white flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds.

A Purple blueberry-like fruit are long-lasting and attract many species of birds.

All Fruit is not preferred but is consumed by songbirds in late winter when little else is available.

A Blueberry-sized fruit is favorite of mockingbirds, catbirds, thrushes and thrashers.

A Valuable larval food plant for Schaus' swallowtail butterfly.

-A Berries of native viburnums eaten by several bird species.

All Female plants produce small waxy berries; eaten by many species of birds, especially yellow-rumped
warblers, white-eyed vireos, ruby-crowned kinglets and quail; flocks of tree swallows will often swarm
to feed on berries; excellent hedge plant; salt tolerant.


Cross Vine
(Bignonta capreolata)

Grape, Muscadine
(Vitis rotundifolla)

(Smilax spp)

Honeysuckle, Coral

Poison Ivy

Trumpet Vine
(Campsis radicants)

Virginia Creeper

*Indicates season
32 when flowers are









Partially E











Trumpet Vine

A Yellow-orange flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds

All Tangles provide good cover, bark is used by some species for nesting, fruit eaten by variety of birds
and skunks, foxes, raccoons, rabbits, opossums and squirrels

All Tangles provide good cover and nest sites, persistent fruit eaten by a number of songbirds and small

A Red tubular flowers attract hummingbirds, the exotic Japanese honeysuckle also attracts hummers but
should not be encouraged due to its invasive quality

All Though not recommended for planting, it's nice to recognize its value as wildlife food, berries are eaten
All by many species of birds

A Orange flowers provide nectar tor hummingbirds

All Small dark berries eaten by mockingbirds, robins, bluebirds, thrashers and others

Evergreen or Season of
Zone Deciduous Fruiting Soil

Value to Wildlife

Photo credits (by page number):
Donna Legare: 1, 4A, 27C
Barry Mansell: 4B
Greg Brock/DNR: 4C
Ray Plockelman: 4D, 12C
Florida Park Service/DNR: 6
Pine Jog Environmental Center: 12A
Mark Robson: 12B
Peter May: 14A
John H. Kaufmann: 14B
Reed Bowman/National Audubon Society: 14C
Dana C. Bryan: 27A
USDA Soil Conservation Service: 29A
Richrad Moyroud: 27B, 29BC, 31B
Steve Farnsworth: 31A
Tim McCabe/USDA Soil Conservation Service: 31C

Governmental agencies:
The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, the
USDA Soil Conservation Service, the Cooperative Extension
Service and many other federal, state and local agencies can
offer invaluable assistance to the backyard naturalist. The
Florida Division of Forestry and many local Soil and Water
Conservation Districts can provide you with tree seedlings at
a very low cost.
Florida now has more than 40 native plant nurseries. Most
are listed in a new directory published by the Association of
Florida Native Nurseries, Inc., which is available for a $1.00
postage and handling fee from the Florida Native Plant
Society, 1133 West Morse Boulevard, Suite 201, Winter
Park, Florida 32789. Many other nurseries also offer native
plants and can provide excellent advice on selecting and
planting vegetation for your growing conditions.
Habitat Program:
The National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife
Habitat Program offers homeowners a chance to certify their
yards as official NWF habitat if their property meets criteria
for food, cover, water and other features. NWF offers a
variety of helpful publications, including a "Gardening with
Wildlife Kit" (National Wildlife Federation, 1412-16th
Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-2266).

Helpful References
Here are a few of the best references available to help you with
your backyard habitat.
1. Growing Native: Native Plants for Landscape Use
in Coastal South Florida. Richard Workman. Sanibel-
Captiva Conservation Foundation, Inc., Sanibel, FL, 1980.
2. Native Florida Plants for Home Landscaping. R.J.

Black and D.F. Hamilton. Florida Cooperative Extension
Service, Gainesville, FL, 1984.
3. Trees of Northern Florida. Herman Kurz and Robert K.
Godfrey. Regency Press, Gainesville, FL, 1962.
4. A Flora of Tropical Florida. R.W. Long and 0. Lakela.
Banyon Press, Miami, FL, 1978.
1. Landscaping With Wildflowers and Native Plants.
William Wilson. Ortho Books, San Francisco, CA, 1984.
2. Nature's Design. Carol A. Smyser. Rodale Press,
Emmaus, Pennsylvania, PA, 1982.
1. How to Attract Birds. Michael McKinley. Ortho Books,
San Francisco, CA, 1983.
2. Wildlife in Your Garden. Gene Logsden. Rodale
Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, PA, 1983.
3. The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds.
Stephen Kress. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, NY, 1985.
4. The Butterfly Garden. Mathew Tekulsky. Harvard
Common Press, Boston, MA, 1985.
5. The New Handbook for Attracting Birds. T.P.
McElroy. W.W. Norton and Company, New York, NY, 1985.
6. American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife
Food Habitats. A.C. Martin, H.S. Zim and A.L. Nelson.
Dover Publications, New York, NY, 1951.
1. Birds of North America. C.S. Robbins, B. Bruun and
H.S. Zim. Golden Press, New York, NY, 1966.
2. A Field Guide to Birds. R.T. Peterson. Houghton
Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, 1980.
1. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North
American Mammals. J.O. Whitaker. Alfred A. Knopf, New
York, NY, 1980.
2. A Field Guide to the Mammals. W.H. Burt and R.P.
Grossenheider. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1976.
1. Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida,
Part One: The Snakes. R.E. Ashton and P.S. Ashton.
Windward Publishing, Inc., Miami, FL, 1981.
2. Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida,
Part Two: Lizards, Turtles and Crocodilians. Windward
Publishing, Inc., Miami, FL, 1985.
3. A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of
Eastern and Central North America. Roger Conant.
Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1975.
4. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North
American Reptiles and Amphibians.J.L. Behler and F.W.
King. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 1979.
1. A Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America.
Alexander Klots. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1951.
2. The Audubon Society Handbook for Butterfly
Watchers. R.M. Pyle. Charles Scribners' Sons, New York,
NY, 1984.

he Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission's Nongame Wildlife Program
was created by the 1984 Florida Legislature
to conserve and manage the full range of wildlife in
our state. The goals of the program are (1) to
maintain and restore the richness and natural
diversity of Florida's nongame wildlife and (2) to
establish an integrated and coordinated approach to
the management, appreciation and conservation of
nongame wildlife.
You can help contribute to this effort when you
annually renew your Florida vehicle registration by
adding an extra dollar to the cost of your license
tag. That dollar will be deposited into the Nongame
Wildlife Trust Fund to help ensure that future
Floridians enjoy the same diversity of wildlife that
we enjoy today.
If you would like to learn more about the
Nongame Wildlife Program, write to:

Nongame Wildlife Program
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32301

This guide to planting for wildlife was produced
at an annual cost of $25,590.77, or $0.73 per
copy, to inform Floridians how to create
backyard habitats for wildlife. 86/7 NG12

3 6668 14104 0917

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