Blog Series Week Five: Getting Your Yard NWF Certified (This week…Raising Young!)

Written By: Sarah Girton

For the next few weeks 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.

The ultimate goal for every animal on earth is to ensure that their genes are passed on to the next generation. From the amusing courtship displays to the sweet sound of baby birds, this is what it’s all about.


Fortunately, many of the criteria for providing shelter also check the box for places for animals to raise young. However there are some animals like rabbits, squirrels, woodpeckers, and chickadees that prefer deep cavities to nest and raise their babies. In that respect, some creatures will dig/excavate their own burrows, but you can also buy houses specific to certain species. 

A mama squirrel gathering nesting material. Photo from Perky Pet
Curious baby squirrels! Photo from Perky Pet


Before any child-rearing takes place though, animals must court and mate. Remember when Friend Owl from Bambi taught the gang about being “twitterpated”? That’s the general idea here! For birds, high perches such as mature trees or rooftops are perfect for achieving maximum range, ensuring as many females as possible will hear their songs and choose them as a worthy partner. Small mammals like squirrels and rabbits love to dart through trees and meadows. And once all is said and done, babies must be brought into this world in a safe home. 

If you provide these spaces for your animals, you will be privileged with the sight and sound of new life, ensuring that nature has a fighting chance to thrive.

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