Animals need a place to hide from potential dangers and to provide shelter from the elements. You can provide this in many ways.
Place bird feeders a short distance from bushes or trees. This makes it easy for the birds to escape to safety if they sense danger. Make sure you not providing a great hiding place for the neighborhood cat in your placement, If you have overzealous squirrels you can place the feeders far enough away so the squirrels can’t leap and eat all your food.
Create a brush pile on your property. They will be used by small mammals for protection. There are many example of how to construct them and we will discuss them more in the future.
Dead wood is a good thing. Standing dead wood known as snags provide food in the form of insects and nesting holes for birds. If you have a snag located in a safe place leave it standing and let nature take its course. Of course if your snag is likely to fall on your or a neighbors house, a car etcetera it should be safely removed. Downed logs are also important. Salamanders and many insects will live under and within them. The ground under a log tends to hold moisture longer allowing the salamanders to stay closer to the surface and find food. Flipping logs with kids is also a great educational tool. Just make sure you flip them back to the same place they started.
Cover can also come in the form of built structures. Bird houses, bat boxes, and butterfly boxes are a few examples. I have found flying squirrels, wasps, snakes, spiders, and mice in bird houses. These structures are used year round by various wildlife and can be very important refuges during bad weather.