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Big Impact on Wildlife by Doing the Little Things

Big Impact on Wildlife by Doing the Little Things

Sometimes it’s the little things you do in life that count. That can be the case with good fish and wildlife habitat.

Everything you do, or don’t do, on your land has an effect on the wildlife you share it with. Just letting plants grow taller, rather than clipping close to the ground, gives more cover for wildlife. Plus, letting a few plants grow often results in more insects for young birds.

If you think about leaving food or cover for wildlife and fish as you manage your land, you’re on your way to doing the little things that can add up to having a major impact.

Here are some suggestions along the way:
Grass and hay fields. Leave streamsides, ditch banks, roadsides, grassed waterways, and other odd areas undisturbed or wait until after the nesting season to mow.

Add flushbars to mowing equipment. Mow hayfields from the center to the outside, giving wildlife a chance to escape to field edges.

Crop fields. Use no-till or conservation tillage to provide cover and food for wildlife in the winter.

Leave a few rows of standing crop along field edges to provide food for wildlife. Maximize the likely survival of pheasants, hungarian partridges, and other birds by leaving these rows next to large tracts of grasses, trees, or other habitat.

Smart pest control. Use integrated pest management practices to minimize fish and wildlife exposure to pesticides. Encourage beneficial insects, bats, raptors, and other species to help in reducing crop pests.

Maximize odd areas. Make full use of non-farmed areas by establishing habitat used by the wildlife you want to see on your farm. Use native grasses as well as forbs and legumes. Lightly disc a portion of your grasses early in the year; new growth of annual forbs will encourage insects and produce seeds for pheasants, hungarian partridges, and other wildlife. Plant native trees and shrubs to produce fruits and berries. Leave dead trees standing in woodlots to provide nesting and foraging sites for woodpeckers and other cavity nesting wildlife. Put up bird houses, bat boxes, and other artificial nesting structures.

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....
The great horned owl has a wingspan of 4 feet, and regularly includes skunks in its diet. Females are usually larger than males.


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

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