cc Nicholas Tonelli

cc Nicholas Tonelli

Food for Wildlife

Food is a major factor influencing the distribution, abundance, and reproductive success of wild animals. Manipulating the supply of food is one of the most reliable ways to manage their populations. High Branch can remove or protect food sources that attract nuisance animals and develop food-provisioning strategies for the wildlife you aim to support. Here are some general techniques that can be fine-tuned for the backyard or the back forty.

  • Boost food supply with bird feeders, wildlife food plots, bee and butterfly gardens, fruit and nut cultivars, and orchards
  • Increase the amount and/or distribution of wild nuts, seeds, fruits, and high-value tree buds using silvicultural methods such as:
    • Shelterwood cuts in oak or hickory to provide nuts for turkeys, bears, and squirrels
    • Single-tree and small-group selection to release American beech and supply nuts to bears, ruffed grouse, and wood ducks
    • Regeneration or seed tree harvests to produce aspen buds for songbirds, ruffed grouse, and moose plus willow and aspen forage for beavers
    • Group selection harvests and maintained wildlife clearings to produce a variety of berries (sumac, raspberries, grapes, cherries, etc.) for songbirds, small mammals, bears, coyotes, and foxes
  • Support abundant and diverse invertebrate populations, including vital pollinators, with forest openings that promote growth of herbaceous plants and wild-flowering shrubs. This will also benefit a wide variety of songbirds and mammals that feed on invertebrate prey.
  • Propagate butterfly host plants such as: willow and poplar for mourning cloaks; black cherry for eastern tiger swallowtails; milkweed for monarchs; and white turtlehead for Baltimore checkerspots.
  • Deter unwelcome wildlife from gardens and other food sources with fencing, netting, cover, aversive stimuli, live-trapping and removal, and informed plant selection.

    Photo by Rob Thurman

    cc Rob Thurman

cc Nicholas Tonelli

cc Nicholas Tonelli

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