Governmental agencies:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, the University of Florida Extension Service in your county and many other federal, state and local agencies can offer invaluable assistance to the backyard naturalist. The Florida Forest Service and many local Soil and Water Conservation Districts can provide you with tree seedlings at a very low cost.

Habitat Program:

The National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program offers homeowners a chance to certify their yards as official NWF habitat if their property meets criteria for food, cover, water and other features. NWF offers a variety of helpful publications, including a "Gardening with Wildlife Kit" (National Wildlife Federation, 1400 16th Street N. W., Dept. HG, Washington, D.C. 20036-2266).


Florida now has more than 40 native plant nurseries. Most are listed in a directory published by the Association of Florida Native Nurseries, Inc. For a free copy, write to Central Florida Native Flora, P.O. Box 1045, San Antonio, Florida 33576. For more information about Florida's Native Plants, contact the , Florida Native Plant Society P.O. Box 680008, Orlando, FL 32868. (407) 299-1472

Helpful References

Here are a few of the best references available to help you with your backyard habitat.

Attracting Wildlife

  1. American Wildlife and Plants: A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits. A.C. Martin, H.S. Zim and A.L. Nelson. Dover Publications, New York, NY, 1951.
  2. The Audubon Society Guide to Attracting Birds. Stephen Kress. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, NY, 1985.
  3. The Butterfly Garden: Turning Your Garden, Window Box, or Backyard into a Beautiful Home for Butterflies. Mathew Tekulsky. Harvard Common Press, Boston, MA, 1985.
  4. Butterfly Gardening for the South. Gayata Ajilusgli. Taylor Publishing Co., Dallas, TX, 1990.
  5. Butterfly Gardening with Florida's Native Plants. Craig Huegel. Florida Native Plant Society, Orlando, FL, 1992.
  6. Florida Butterfly Gardening: A Complete Guide to Attracting, Identifying, and Enjoying Butterflies of the Lower South. Marc C. Minno, Maria Minno, Diane Pierce.  University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 1999.
  7. How to Attract Birds. Michael McKinley. Ortho Books, San Francisco, CA, 1983.
  8. Landscaping for Florida's Wildlife Re-creating Native Ecosystems in Your Yard. Joe Schaefer and George Tanner. FAS Extension Service, 1998. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
  9. The New Handbook for Attracting Birds. T.P. McElroy. W.W. Norton and Company, New York, NY, 1985.

Backyard Certification Programs

  1. Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program National Wildlife Federation.
  2. Florida Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program University of Florida Extension.


  1. Birds of North America. C.S. Robbins, B. Bruun and H.S. limo Golden Press, New York, NY, 1983.
  2. A Field Guide to Birds. R.T. Peterson. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, 1980.
  3. Florida's Birds, A Handbook and Reference. Herbert W. Kale, II and David S. Maehr. Pineapple Press, Sarasota, FL, 1990.


  1. The Audubon Society Handbook for Butterfly Watchers. R.M. Pyle. Charles Scribners' Sons, New York, NY, 1984.
  2. A Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America. Alexander Klots. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1951.


  1. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. J.O. Whitaker. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 1980.
  2. A Field Guide to the Mammals. W.H. Burt and R.P. Grossenheider. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1976.

Native Plants

  1. A Flora of Tropical Florida. R.W. Long and o. Lakela. Banyan Press, Miami, FL, 1978.
  2. A Gardener's Guide to Florida's Native Plants. Rufino Osorio. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 2001.
  3. Native Florida Plants for Home Landscapes. R.J. Black. Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Gainesville, FL, 1984.
  4. Planning and Planting a Native Plant Yard. John G. Beriault. Florida Native Plant Society, Orlando, FL, 1990.
  5. Trees of Northern Florida. Herman Kurz and Robert K. Godfrey. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 1962.

Natural Landscaping

  1. Landscaping With Wildflowers and Native Plants. William Wilson. Ortho Books, San Francisco, CA, 1984.
  2. Nature's Design: A Practical Guide to Natural Landscaping. Carol A. Smyser. Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, PA, 1982.
  3. Your Florida Landscape, A Complete Guide to Planting and Maintenance. Edited by Robert J. Black and Kathleen Ruppert. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 1998

Reptiles and Amphibians

  1. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. J.L. Behler and F.W. King. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 1979.
  2. A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Roger Conant and Joseph T. Collins. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1991.
  3. Florida's Fabulous Reptiles and Amphibians. Pete Carmichael and Winston Williams. World Publications, Tampa, FL, 1991.

FWC Facts:
Male cardinals are extremely territorial in the spring, often attacking other birds or even their own reflection in windows. The attacks can go on for hours.

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