Blog Series Week Four: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Shelter!)

Written By: Sarah Girton

For the next few days we are going in depth about the different criteria needed to get your yard certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat! If you missed the introductory post from August 17, it does have a few links to the NWF site with more information on the Certified Wildlife Habitat program.

Part of what makes this process so fun is the creative freedom that it allows. Nature is vastly diversified in what it provides, and similarly your yard can be too! So when you start pondering the next qualification for your NWF certified habitat, which is to provide proper shelter for your animals, there are a host of ways to approach it! Would you like to plant shrubs or trees? Make a rock pile or brush pile? Or provide roosting boxes where birds can perch during harsh weather?

Yards with lots of bushes and trees provide great shelter for birds and other animals. Photo by Tania Melnyczuk on Unsplash


These enclosed and darkened places also provide hiding spots from predators. For example, if you have a mated pair of goldfinches who enjoy eating the seeds from your sunflowers, they might be a lot more nervous or hesitant to visit if they feel exposed, with nowhere to escape to should a hawk fly overhead.

In the picture below are several great shelter opportunities for animals. Can you spot them all? Things like trees, bushes, or roosting pockets are all sufficient.

Own work


The good thing about providing shelter is that unless your yard is dominated by a lawn, you probably already have a couple of these already! Your animal friends will thank you for the sense of comfort you’ve provided, knowing they can quickly find cover if needed. And it’s definitely a good feeling to know that animals are comfortable enough near your home to consider it a safe haven. They deserve it!

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