Build a Wildlife Brush Shelter

Gramma grass

You can provide shelter for many species of birds and other animals out of logs and branches. Your goal is to provide nooks and crannies at little or no cost.

What You Need

  • Branches and logs
  • Old pipes (optional)
  • A small saw (optional)
  • Stones

What You Do

  1. Check with your homeowner’s association and municipal government if there are any rules against creating brush piles.
    Sometimes you have to build them a certain distance from your neighbor’s property and from your home.
  2. Choose the right spot on your property.
    If possible, situate the brush pile near different types of habitat, for example between a forest and meadow, or between a marsh and drier land. Ideally have some of the brush pile in habitat for wildlife which like to bask.
  3. Build a strong base with large logs, stones and pipes.
    Logs that are six to ten feet long and four to six inches in diameter form a good base. Stack and criss-cross them. Create runways and spaces big enough for a rabbit to navigate through. Add stone piles to your shelter in the base to serve as basking sites. If you have old pipes, they can serve as tunnels for reptiles and amphibians.
  4. Continue to build your pile higher, into a dome structure.
    Add branches of a gradually smaller diameter and a denser, more compact weave. The dimensions of an average brush shelter are approximately ten feet across and five feet high. However, you can make a smaller one. If you weave evergreen branches into the shelter, it provides better cover from snow and ice storms in winter.
  5. Plant native flowering/fruiting vines to sprawl over the shelter to attract hummingbirds and songbirds.
    This may also make your brush pile look more attractive over time.

    Gramma grass