Homes for Your Wildlife - Jack McShane

Catskill Forest Association and Master Forest Owner/COVERTS volunteer. RR 1, Box 137A, Andes, NY 13731.


A major Priority for private forest owners is attracting and observing wildlife. The following outlines a procedure that might be used to achieve this goal. The major steps include the following. First determine what existing conditions will reasonably allow. Then decide on realistic goals. It is then time to get started. My place, what it is like, what I have done, my successes and my failures.

I. How to determine what can/should be done

A. What’s in the valley/landscape now?
B. Bring in a fee expert ie. MFO, DEC, CFA
C. What’s on the property now?
D. Determine species possibilities.

II. Realistic Goals

A. Determine species- more/less.
B. Major changes/improvements.

    1. Minor changes/improvements.

      Species- Dear-Game-Songbirds-Wetland.

      Major changes- Ponds, wetlands, seeps food plots, Brush hogging, Timber harvest, Timber stand, improvement, crop tree management, clearcuts.

      Minor changes- Brush piles, Snags (Den trees), food specie plantings, Apple tree pruning/protecting, Bird/Bat houses.

      III. Getting Started

      A. Take some time-determine feasibility.
      B. Think of short and long range goals.
      C. Start with some easy stuff.
      D. Consider the following:

      1. Time you can afford.
      2. Your energy level.
      3. Your economic picture.

      IV. What I have done

      A. Property history- old farm with pasture, hay fields, woodlands, streams, vernal pools.
      B. Hay fields- hay removed by local farmer in August- after nesting season, fawns gone.
      C. Old Pasture- Occasional brush hogging, Apple seedlings protected, conifer plantings, Crabapple and Autumn Olive plantings. Between hayfields and pasture are brush piles and Bluebird houses.
      D. Edge between forest and fields are snags, oak trees released, brush piles and bird houses.
      E. Immature forest- Aspen encouraged for grouse, drumming logs, oaks released.
      F. Mature forest- (previously hi-graded.) Crop trees (mast and timber released), Snags left, small clear cuts, vernal pools, ponds, woodcut boxes.
      G. Through road/trail system.
      H. Harvest mature Aspen, fifteen acres T.S.I. thinning, oak harvest (red).
      I. Outcomes.

      1. Wildlife populations fluctuate.
      2. More prey species brings more productor
      3. Too many deer reduce good forest regeneration.


You Make It and They Will Come

    1. Gary R. Goff, Extension Associate, Cornell Cooperative Extension

Take Home Messages

  1. The key to viable, sustainable wildlife populations is HABITAT. Habitat is the place where wildlife live and consists of the 4 essentials of life: Food, Water, Shelter, and Space
  2. All habitats have a carrying capacity. Carrying capacity is the population size that an area of land can support over a period of time. Inadequate habitat limits the kind of wildlife (species) and the population size that can exist on an area of land.
  3. If one wishes to increase the population size of a species, the single most efficient and long-lasting technique is to determine the habitat limiting factor (food, water, shelter, space) and conduct appropriate habitat improvements.
  4. Forests are an ever changing ecosystem. An ecosystem is an interacting system of plants, animals, microorganisms, soil and climate. Increased diversity tends to lead to increased stability.
  5. Succession is Mother Nature's game plan for your woodlot. Succession is the orderly, predictable process by which one plant community is gradually replaced by another over time. Successful and efficient forest management is based on working with succession.
  6. Regeneration is the most frequently overlooked and misunderstood critical aspect of forest management. Regeneration is the process by which the forests are replaced or renewed by natural or artificial means.
  7. Everything a forest owner does, and doesn't do, affects wildlife habitat and therefore affects wildlife.
  8. Generally, sawtimber and wildlife management objectives are quite compatible.

Habitat Wildlife Enhancement References: 

American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. Alexander C. Martin, et. al. 1951. 500pgs. Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Verick Street, New York, NY 10014.

Audible Audubon. Available through the Laboratory of Ornithology, 169 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY. (Illustrations, descriptions, and song recordings of over 120 different birds.)

Bluebirds in New York: A 4-H Memberís Guide. Beth G. Silverman and Marianne E. Krasny. 1989. 24 pgs. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Fernow Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Library of Sounds. Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850. (Audio cassette tapes of wild animals. The Lab also has an extensive 35-mm slide collection of wild birds.)

Crop Tree Management In Eastern Hardwoods. Arlyn W. Paerkey, Brenda L. Wilkins, and H. Clay Smith. USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry, 180 Cainfield Street, Morgantown, WV 26505.

Crop Tree Management: Quick Reference. Brenda L. Wilkins. 1994.10pgs. Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry, 180 Cainfield Street, Morgantown, WV 26505.

Enhancement of Wildlife Habitat on Private Lands. Daniel J. Decker and John W. Kelly. 40 pgs. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University, Information Bulletin 181.

Enhancing Wildlife Habitats: A Practical Guide for Forest Landowners. Scott S. Hobson, John S. Barclay, Stephen H. Broderick. 1993. 172pgs. Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University, 152 Riley-Robb Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-5701.

Guide to Wildlife and Tree Management in New England Northern Hardwoods. Carl H. Tubbs et al. General Technical Report NE-118. 1987. 30pgs. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, Radnor, PA, 19087

How to Manage Oak Forests for Acorn Production. Paul S. Johnson. 1994. 5pgs. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station, 1-26 Agriculture Building, University of Missouri -- Columbia, Columbia, MI 65211.

Knowing Your Woods: Wildlife Habitat and Tree Species. David N. Allan. 8pgs. Cooperative Extension Service, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824.

Managing Cavity Trees for Wildlife in the Northeast. Richard M. DeGraaf, Alex. L. Shigo. General Technical Report NE-101. 1985. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station.

Managing Northern Forests for Wildlife. Gordon W. Gullion. The Ruffed Grouse Society, 451 McCormick Rd, Coraopolis, PA 15108

Managing Small Woodlands for Wildlife. R.J. Gutierrez et. al. Information Bulletin 157. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University.

Managing Your Forest for Timber and Wildlife. Robert E. Chambers. 1992. 4pgs. NYS DEC 50 Wolf Rd., Albany, NY 12233

Nest Boxes for Wood Ducks. 16pgs. US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC 20240.

New England Wildlife: Habitat, Natural History, and Distribution. Richard M. DeGraaf, et.al. 1992. 491pgs. General Technical Report NE-144. USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. US Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402.

New England Wildlife: Management of Forested Habitats. Richard M. DeGraaf, et.al. 1992. 271pgs. General Technical Report NE-144. USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. US Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402.

Pennsylvania Woodlands: Dead Wood for Wildlife. Jerry Hassinger. Number 7. 6pgs. The Pennsylvania State University, College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service.

Pennsylvania Forest Resources: Deer Management. Robert G. Wingard. Number 50, December 1977. Cooperative Extension Service, The Pennsylvania State University and the US Department of Agriculture Cooperating, 323 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802.

Pennsylvania Forest Resources: Songbird Management. James Wakeley. Number 71, November 1979. Cooperative Extension Service, The Pennsylvania State University and the US Department of Agriculture Cooperating, 323 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802.

Pennsylvania Forest Resources: Wildlife Management I. Terry. D. Rader. Number 28, February 1976. Cooperative Extension Service, The Pennsylvania State University and the US Department of Agriculture Cooperating, 323 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802.

Planting for Wildlife. Chad P. Dawson and Daniel J. Decker. 4pgs. New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation. Reprinted from The Conservationist, July-August, 1970.

Plants for Improving Wildlife Habitat Around Your Home. Chad P. Dawson, Daniel J. Decker. Conservation Circular Vol. 16 (7). Spring 1978, Revised 1993. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University.

Reducing Deer Damage to Home Gardens and Landscape Plantings. Paul D. Curtis and Milo E. Richmond. Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University.

Riparian Forest Buffers: Function and Design for Protection and Enhancement of Water Resources. David J. Welsch. NA-PR-07-91. 1991. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern State and Private Forestry, Radnor, PA, 19087

Stream Bank Fencing: Green Banks Clean Streams. Extension Circular 397. Penn State College of Agriculture, Publications Distribution Center, 112 Agricultural Administration Building, University Park, PA 16802.

Stream Habitat Improvement Handbook. M.E. Seehorn. Technical Publications R8-TP 16, USDA Forest Service, Southern Region, 1720 Peachtree Rd. NW, Atlanta, GA 30367.

Techniques for Wildlife Habitat Management of Uplands. Neil F. Payne and Fred C. Bryant. 1994. McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Trees, Shrubs and Vines for Attracting Birds: A Manual for the Northeast. Richard M. DeGraaf and Gretchen M. Witman. 1979. 194pgs. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA 01002.

Wildlife and Timber from Private Lands: A Landownerís Guide to Planning. D.J. Decker et al. Information Bulletin 193. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Resource Center - MW, 7 Business and Technology Park, Ithaca, NY 14850

Wildlife, Forests, and Forestry: Principles of Managing Forests for Biological Diversity. Malcolm L. Hunter, Jr. 370 pgs. Redents/Prentice Hall, NJ 1990.

Wildlife Notebook: Sketches of Selected Wildlife in New York State. Daniel J. Decker. Information Bulletin 210.67pgs. Cornell Cooperative Extension, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Ithaca, NY 14853-3001.

Woodworking for Wildlife: Homes for Birds and Mammals. Carrol L. Henderson. 47pgs. Nongame Wildlife Program, Department of Natural Resources, Box 7, 500 Layfayetter Road, St. Paul, MN 55146.

 

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