• Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      What birds and other wildlife have you noticed since you started naturescaping? What do you think attracted them to your outdoor space? Share your thoughts in the discussion below.
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    • Emely
      Chirps: 2
      One important lesson I learned here is that while exotic plants may be beautiful,  local birds are more comfortable with native trees and plants. It took me a while to finish this course because I had to learn about our Philippine plants (surprisingly, I didn’t know much about them) and where to source them. But the learning was not only fun but enlightening as well. And, the results were amazing. I used to see and hear mostly Eurasian tree sparrows, but recently  the chestnut munia, yellow vented bulbul, Philippine pied fantail, olive backed sunbird , golden bellied gerygone and collared kingfisher have become residents of our backyard. We get a lot of visitors, too: pied triller, red keeled flower pecker, long tailed shrike, pacific swallows, and blue tailed bee eater. The brown shrike, supposedly a migrant, has been circling the neighborhood for weeks.8CCE01B2-AA1C-42AD-AB9E-E02613068FF0871930E2-FADA-498F-86CA-12232ED566A77715B030-8EA8-4CAB-BA31-A9458F94C32C
    • Anastasia
      Chirps: 3
      I picked a space to naturescape.  It is currently grown over with many invasive species.  We are currently working on clearing the space & planing what will go in next spring.  I'm looking forward to seeing native plants in the space and hopefully happy birds!
    • Jenifer
      Chirps: 18
      I have noticed a few bluebirds visiting my yard since I started to put in more native plants. Also, hummingbirds have been regular visitors since I planted Cardinal flowers. I never saw them much before this. I want to expand my Cardinal flower patch this coming year. I have more insects visiting my flowers overall - from serviceberry in early spring to mountain mint (wow! What a plant!) to asters in the fall. I would like to see more birds in general on my property - hope that the more work I do, the more I will see. But, my property is small and my neighbors show no interest in the plants and improvements, one neighbor commenting when was I going to get rid of my “weeds”. So my very small yard is sort of an oasis in a desert. I hope that will change.
    • Leonard
      Chirps: 6
      Naturescaping and birding is a logical combination. Especially being novices, my wife and I are learning new things everyday and that is what makes it so exciting! We live in a temperate region in Northeast U.S. and along a major migration route for many species of birds. Our naturescaping is already reaping rewards of being able to view both increased populations and the number of species of birds (including predatory species like the Cooper's hawk-please see photo). I am posting photos on social media of our now very wild backyard! I also do wildlife rescues in the metro-NY area and actively spread the good news about the advantages of native gardening.IMG_1558
    • Olivia Afre Segui
      Chirps: 13
      I, sadly, was not able to naturescape. :( also I love surveys but cannot do it because I am under 18 :( Also, I forgot to answer on the last "Reflect, Connect, and Practice" section, and it won't let me go back :( please respond.
      • Elizabeth
        Bird Academy
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    • MarianWhit
      Chirps: 16
      M6153249 Since "going grassland" from lawn on this property, we did a "before and after" bio-blitz, which is to try to find and photograph as many species as possible.  With the lawn we had...5 species.  With this, 4 years in, mowing 1/3 of it once a year, BUT knowing native vs invasive species and spending a few afternoons a year cutting the non-native thugs down so they don't seed and digging them out is essential to the success of this project.  We are introducing (repatriating) various species...blue eyed grass, cranberry, wild strawberry, and blueberry, etc. over time.  We also used to have Canada Geese on the lawn, but they now stay on the shore, and we have various sparrows, and several migrating flocks.  Interestingly, the gulls spend a lot of time above the field feeding on insects.  We can't imagine how anyone would find a static lawn more interesting than the peaceful movement of undulating grass.  We have the local summer camp kids come and discover that goldenrod is a "condo plant" for many insects and that a field is like a miniature jungle.  This small effort resulted in a massive increase in surface area.
    • Jim
      Chirps: 19
      Jim Fuehrmeyer
      I've always attracted a lot of birds to my yard because I have a lot of feeders and bird baths.  But I've made some changes that have attracted non-feeder birds too.  A couple of years ago I got the HOA lawn maintenance folks to agree to stop putting weed killer and insecticides on my grass. The upside is that I have Northern Flickers that now regularly forage for ants in my back yard grass. The downside has been that I have to get out there and dig weeds like dandelions, clover and crab grass (all of which I learned are not native plants - clover being the worst according to the Indiana DNR) and it's not a lush green lawn like the neighbors'.  Last fall, I left the leaf litter in the back yard planting area; I also got the leaves off the grass before the HOA did and chopped them up for compost/mulch in my planting beds.  And this spring, I did not disturb the leaf litter until the temperature was regularly in the 50s. This year I got a number of ground foragers other than Robins - like Brown Thrasher, Swainson's Thrush, Veery, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Eastern Towhee- that I didn't attract before. I'm fortunate to have big native trees out back that came with the house - oak, hickory, sassafras, beech - that host the various insects I have yet to learn about. And a dozen years ago we put in three hemlocks which we did not know at that time are a great shelter for birds in winter.
    • Molly
      Chirps: 1
      My goal has been to attract butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbirds, and other birds. I started my nature garden several years ago by filling in a low spot in the yard outside my window. Some of this soil came from compost, broken down branches, twigs, leaves, and mulch. I found it easier to start with tougher native seeds rather than nursery plants spoiled with fertilizers and pesticides! This patch is bordered with branches that serve as a playground for the inquisitive wrens. The branches break down over time and become future soil. One native I can definitely recommend to start with is partridge pea, which is very easy to grow from seed sprinkled on the ground, can grow in poor soil, gets to about a foot tall, and gets little yellow flowers on it that grow from the stem. It is a legume that can bring nitrogen to the soil and bumblebees love the flowers. Partridge pea is also a host plant for Sulphur butterflies, and caterpillars are what we want more of in the garden for birds. Doves, quail, grassland birds, and even ducks can eat the seeds and the plants can serve as cover if grown in large stands. I have it growing amongst sunflowers, Tithonias,  tickseed (coreopsis) , coneflower, American basket flower, blue salvia, turk's cap, and milkweed.  I also have American beautyberries to feed birds in fall and winter.  Mockingbirds love eating blueberries and if I don't cover them with tulle netting, they would eat all of them! Happy growing everyone!
    • Christopher
      Chirps: 5
      goldeagle Kroll
      Noticed it increased diversity of the birds in the yard. Along with an increase in diversity of the insects (Lepidoptera) in the yard.
    • Karen
      Chirps: 17
      It is early days yet, but I have noticed increased bee activity.  We added a bee hotel along with our new garden plantings and I have definitely noticed a lot more bees around!
    • Martin
      Chirps: 6
      I have not noticed an increase is bird species visiting my yard but there appears to be an increase in numbers of each species.  There are another couple pairs of American Robins in and around my yard.  More Northern Cardinals are hanging around and there appears to be a couple more House Wrens.  Hopefully when my flowers open up a Ruby-throat or two will show.
    • Maura
      Chirps: 2
      Just started, nothing new yet