Category: Places for Cover
Required points: 2
Suggested sources: Wooded Area • Bramble Patch • Ground Cover • Rock Pile or Wall • Cave • Roosting Box • Dense Shrubs or Thicket • Evergreens • Brush or Log Pile • Burrow • Meadow or Prairie • Water Garden or Pond
The Places for Cover credit requires a little explanation to differentiate it from the Places to Raise Young credit (to be described in a future post). National Wildlife Federation describes the cover credit:
Wildlife need places to hide to feel safe from people, predators, and inclement weather. Native vegetation is a perfect cover for terrestrial wildlife. Shrubs, thickets and brush piles provide great hiding places within their bushy leaves and thorns.
Bat box: Bat boxes are rather like bird nesting or roosting boxes, only entry is through the bottom. A typical bat box also includes some parallel interior walls. Bats don't need much personal space, but they do need a surface to cling to. I picked-up my bat box, ready-made at Lowe's, for about $20. Installation was a matter of a stepladder, a cordless drill to bore a pilot hole and start the screws, and fifteen minutes of my time. My then 12-month-old son was enthralled by this process.
Alas, no bats have yet taken-up residence in my bat box. In fact, I haven't been certain that I've seen a single bat all season. What troubles me is that I don't think that this is simply a matter of probability and the fact that getting my son ready for bed means that I spend less time outside in the evening than I used to. I'm concerned that this is indicative of white nose syndrome, the fungal plague that is apparently decimating Eastern bat populations. It seems that there just aren't any bats around.
Evergreen trees: Since I like to exploit some of the features that were already in my yard before I started gearing-up my habitat, I'm leaning on the two (likely exotic) evergreen trees that crowd the west wall of my home for one of my Cover points. Evergreens provide a place for birds to roost and evade predators, year-round.