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Learn Foods and Cover to Attract Your Favorite Wildlife

Learn Favorite Foods and Cover to Attract Your Favorite Wildlife

Figuring out the habitat you want to provide for wildlife on your land can be complicated. This is especially true if you have no one species in mind, but instead want to have everything from bluebirds and butterflies to turkeys and grouse on your land.

Individual species have specific needs. What you do to provide habitat for one critter might be the wrong thing to do for another one. A good way to go about establishing habitat is to talk with wildlife biologists to develop a plan to maximize desired habitat.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and a number of wildlife organizations have biologists who can help. Look for both financial and technical help to establish and maintain habitat over the long term.

The chart gives a quick overview of the basic food and cover needs of three popular wildlife species.

Basic Food and Cover Needs for Identified Wildlife Species
Species Favored Food Favored Cover
Hungarian Partridge Seeds, including waste grain, knotweed, pigweed, and lambsquarters. Young chicks depend heavily on insects for rapid growth. Cropland interspersed with native grassland and brushy draws or shelterbelts.
Ring-necked Pheasants Waste grain, especially corn, but also oats, wheat, barley, soybeans, weed seeds, and legumes. Young pheasants eat insects such as beetles and grasshoppers. Dense, erect cool and warm season grasses at least eight inches high at nesting. Wetlands and tree and shrub shelterbelts for roosting.
Turkeys Young turkeys eat insects, seeds, and berries, while adults will eat anything from a wide variety of pine nuts and other seeds and berries to insects and small reptiles. Favorite shrubs include snowberry, hawthorn, and dogwood. Open areas of grass/forb/legume mixtures for feeding and mating. Forested areas as cover from predators and for roosting in trees at night.

A number of programs can help you establish wildlife habitat on your land for the wildlife you want to attract.

For more information about conservation practices that can improve wildlife habitat on your land, stop at the local NRCS office.

Wildlife Ways

Did you know....
Since 1998, NRCS’s Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) has restored, enhanced, or created 141,579 acres of wildlife habitat in Montana. Habitat is the key!


If you encounter any problems with the file provided on this page, please contact Technical Resources at 406-587-6822.

The following documents require Adobe Reader.

Specification 645: Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (PDF; 191 KB)