Anna Pidgeon, Assistant Professor
Forest and Wildlife Ecology
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Phone: (608) 262-5628
3:07 - Total Time
0:16 - What we like about wildlife
0:45 - Things to encourage wildlife
1:41 - An ideal place for critters
2:12 - What research says about habitat
2:57 - Lead out
Managing your property for wildlife. We’re visiting today with Anna Pidgeon, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
Sevie Kenyon: Why do people enjoy having wildlife around them?
Anna Pidgeon: Oh, I think just the feeling you get when you hear the sound of wind in the pines or the delight of fish jumping or the haunting flute-like song of a Hermit Thrush. And part of it seems to be the wonder of discovery. Turning over a log and finding a Salamander or a Spring Peeper on a tree in your yard.
Sevie Kenyon: Anna, what kinds of things can people do to encourage wildlife on their property?
Anna Pidgeon: Well, an important thing to think about is not tiding things up. So logs, for example, in many different decay classes from hard to really soft and literally holding water like a sponge are really important for a variety of different wildlife species. Shrews use that little space under the edge of the log to travel back and forth and to hunt for insects. Grouse use logs for drumming.
Another thing is to leave standing dead trees from 4-inch diameter to as big as they get. As they become more decayed Carpenter Ants working away digesting that cellulose that’s really important food for Pileated Woodpeckers and other woodpecker species. So, trees in many different decay classes are important.
Sevie Kenyon: Anna, perhaps you can describe an ideal wildlife habitat scene?
Anna Pidgeon: The native tree species, some that are newly sprouted, up through mature, old trees and including dead trees that are still standing. It would include the big branches and logs after they’ve toppled to the ground. It would include, probably, an accumulation of litter on the ground and it would not include species not native to the area.
Sevie Kenyon: Anna, what does your research tell us about wildlife habitat?
Anna Pidgeon: It tells us that things are changing considerably. I often use information about what Wisconsin’s forests looked like just at the time of European contact and compare what we understand about habitat then with habitat now. Human activities tend to degrade habitat. We change land cover, so we covert natural habitat to agriculture or to urban cover. So we put a lot of roads in and roads are barriers for many species and they’re corridors for other species. And so the changes we make benefit some species and degrade habitat for other species.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Anna Pidgeon, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.