“Run for Cover!!!”This is old and familiar phrase is the primary defense mechanism in the animal kingdom. “High tailin’ it” is an apt description when white tail deer sense danger and bound out of sight with their white tails high in the air. The importance of maintaining cover in a successful wildlife enhancement program can not be underestimated. Let’s look at a few examples of cover.
This picture contains at least six different examples of cover. First, the water provides cover for the frogs to hop into when danger threatens. The old snag trees and stumps sticking up just about the waterline on the left provide cover for the fish to hide around or behind. The young brushy woods that surround the pond provide excellent cover to all kinds of wildlife who come to the pond to drink on a daily basis. The tall tree is perfect for birds, squirrels and chipmunks to retreat too. The grass and weeds are great escape places for snakes, moles, mice and rabbits. The briers in the foreground make an impenetrable fortress and is important to most wildlife.
Den trees play an enormous part in the success of attracting and keeping wildlife on the property. Neo tropical songbirds require the presence of these trees for nesting and raising their young, as well as chipmunks, squirrels, honeybees, raccoons and opossums.
Even black bears can spend a winter in a hollow Beech den tree like this one. Contrary to popular belief, most bears do not live in caves. They spend their winters in hollow logs, under fallen trees, under old barns or any crevice that they can squeezed into like the rock outcrop shown here.
Owls and hawks spend much of their time high in the tree tops peering downward to the forest floor hunting for small mammals. A well diversified wildlife habitat should contain some large trees like these to provide for the well being of the resident raptor population. Can you spot the owl in this photo?
No matter the size of the property, wildlife habitat can be easily improved with a little thought and planning. The dividends are substantial for both landowner and resident wildlife population. No financial stock or bond ever garnered a bigger return than the sound of a grandchild gleefully chasing a lightning bug at dusk while the crickets and frogs chirp around a little farm pond.