Please share any projects, ideas, and improvement to wildlife habitat you may be involved in that helps make life less difficult for the animals and birds that so many of us enjoy photographing.
I've been involved in conservation and habitat development for many years on land I own in NE Missouri. The practices should vary greatly in other regions so share your labors in helping wildlife where you live.
No matter what size the project may be, every little bit helps our friends survive.
Below are photos of an area I've set aside for wildlife, it is 50 acres in size, all in one tract. I also try to provide good habitat on my home farm but my efforts here are less permanent and tend to change yearly benefiting prairie birds and animals.
The main water source is in the middle of the 50 acres, a pond that is used by many different species but a favorite for Wood Ducks.
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/TpX7uJ]IMG_0867 by steve findling, on Flickr
The larger timber is a hardwood mix of Hickory and Oak mainly with small scattered amounts of Mulberry, Cottonwood, Cedar, Locust,Hackberry and Ash.
Timber Stand Improvement, (TSI), has been completed on all the large timber stand. It was done in different years so the change would not affect the wildlife all in one time period.
On this ridge I have built a permanent type blind to observe wildlife from and shelter for me during rain storms if working in the area.
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/TpWUTh]IMG_0851 by steve findling, on Flickr
There are open areas that can be planted in small grain or tilled for weed or native plant production.
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Sc4GLw]IMG_0850 by steve findling, on Flickr
This particular open ridge is the most popular for White Tailed deer and the Eastern Wild Turkey. I usually rotate it from a mixed grain crop to Ladino Clover, Clover for 3 out of 4 years then back to grain. This photo shows a new stand of Clover trying to emerge. The size is 1.3 acres, surrounded by timber with a Cedar thicket on one side..
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/STyXMS]IMG_0854 by steve findling, on Flickr
The photo above shows an open area that has native grass established, here it is Little Bluestem, a small amount of Big Bluestem and a few Purple Coneflowers. I try to burn these areas annually to retard the growth of woody plants and promote the Native grasses. Notice how it tends to grow in clumps at the base and is loved by ground nesting birds then later in the fall as bedding areas for deer. Another opening is getting a decent stand of Indian grass established, a grass that reaches a height of 8 or more feet tall.
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/STyyQ9]IMG_0859 by steve findling, on Flickr
I do harvest several cords of firewood yearly from my timber stands but always try to be careful to leave den trees and like to leave dead standing trees for cavity nesting birds and animals. This tree has been home for many squirrels for 3 years now. It's almost unbelievable how numerous the woodpeckers are in these woods.
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/SV2EeW]IMG_4535 by steve findling, on Flickr
We also use bird feeders at the home site, it is easier to observe the many different species, take photos and let others watch them without walking through my woods. I don't start feeding early as some folks as I know they have plenty to eat and places to find shelter away from the house. I do not feed animals from feeders, instead plant food plots for them away from the home site.
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/STyuh1]IMG_0860 by steve findling, on Flickr
This dead snag was home to a Red Headed Woodpecker family 3 years ago, a black Squirrel 2 years ago and last year Red squirrels had taken it over. At dusk this past fall I observed 4 young Reds enter this den tree, a small fight broke out each time another entered but they settled down and went to sleep as darkness fell.
There is much enjoyment for me to see Wildlife use the areas I'm trying to provide and improve for them, my goal is to have as many different species as possible find their food and shelter here on my property. It is a pleasure to help others do this as well if they choose on their property. This spring burning for native grass stands and building brush piles are my priority, weather permitting.
I would like to improve my photography skills as well and share the results of the birds and animals that call my place home.