When your mother yells out the door “Time for dinner!”, you’re probably not thinking about animal habitat. But you should, because you’re about to use all of its four parts. While you were playing and as you walk home you’re going through space. Go into the house and you’re under shelter. Wash your hands before dinner and you’re using water. Eat dinner and you’re using habitat’s fourth part – food. It seems pretty simple for you. It’s not always as simple for wildlife.
What would happen to you if your shelter was cut down? What if your food supply was paved over or your water drained away? Could you live if you had no space to live in? This is the problem that some types of wildlife face when their habitat is destroyed. Unfortunately, all too often habitat changes like these are caused when people build homes, malls or roads, or even when they farm. What can we do to help wildlife? Improve their habitat, of course!
You can’t grow a new forest in your backyard or get a river to start flowing behind your school. But on a smaller scale you can provide space, food, water, and shelter for a variety of New England wildlife. This means you need to know what each type of animal needs in its habitat. Some plants offer more food for wildlife than others; where and how you place water has to be considered; shelter for a bird is different than a butterfly; the amount of space affects the kinds of animals who will visit or live in your yard.
In this issue of Wild New England we’ll learn about creating habitat for the specific needs of three animals that have something in common – they’re pollinators. This means they have a special relationship with plants.