• Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      What did you discover as you examined your outdoor space for what you are already giving birds? Share what you learned in the discussion below.
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    • Debbie
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I have 2 shallow trays/pot bases on my deck that I use as bird baths. They are different sizes and depths and the birds love them. I've added rocks to them to provide multiple perching spots. In the summer, I have to clean them almost daily and sometimes have to refill them multiple times a day.  I've also seen squirrels and chipmunks use them. We've slowly increased the amount and variety of native plants and tress around our house and in the field behind us.  Until we have more native plants, I have multiple bird feeders and try to vary the food in them.
    • Luis Lauro
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      IMG_9120 IMG_9127 IMG_9132 My garden basically consisted of an centenary-lived oak tree, plants with abundant foliage and colorful flowering plants that produce a sweet nectar for my Hummingbird Project. I would like to add a water fountain based on the Tips for Safe Birdbaths recommended in this course. Remembering that WATER is a MAGNET for birds.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      We have a small wooded area beyond our yard and several fruit trees. In my garden area I have a variety of perennials and a few annuals but I would like to offer more trumpet shaped native plants for hummingbirds and nectar loving birds.  I would also like to provide more nuts and seeds in addition to feeder food.  We have plenty of insects. LOL   I got a new bird bath for Mother’s day but in this lesson I learned that I have it too full and in a sunny location. I would like to add a source of water closer to the ground but I hesitate to do that since our neighbor has cats. Any thoughts on that????   We have several bird boxes but I am going to make the holes smaller as this year we are attracting Starlings. For now we have been removing the nests every few days but it would be nice if they chose another location altogether to give the bluebirds a chance.
    • Amanda
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Definitely need to add shallow water to our place! Also Oak Trees. I have mostly native tree species on the property - Jack pine, White Spruce, Trembling Aspens and Balsam Poplar, etc, - but nothing like oak trees for acorns and insects. Our plum trees also stopped producing fruit a long time ago, so maybe changing them out for another species like Chokecherries would be better. Or Saskatoon berry trees as the one in our pasture is raided a lot by birds when the berries are ripe. But a big one is shallow water! Maybe that's why I don't see many birds in the summer. They travel to the neighbours for a drink!
    • Evelyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Will be adding nectar and fruiting plants, evergreens, and reducing turf area. I have a shallow birdbath and a few birds have drunk and bathed there. But it's in the sun and elevated -- now I'll move it into the shade and onto the ground.
    • I see now that I should move my bird bath to a better, shadier spot in the corner of my yard.  The birds drink but haven't seen any bathing.  I have my feeding/water station where I can easily see it from my patio door which is good for Feeder Watch counting but since it is over in April I can move the bathing area along with some feeders to a more sheltered area and just enjoy them when I'm outside. I love to watch the robins pulling out my worms.  I do have a good crop of them so I'm not worried about the garden.  The young robins are so beautiful.  It's funny to see this full size bird following mom around watching her do all the work, not helping at all!
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      After looking with a different eye, I found that I have quite a few spots for birds to forage around for food. I will move my water source for them to a shady, closer to the ground spot. My neighbors have put up bluebird boxes and I love watching them go in and out.
    • Anne
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      We have a patch of woods in the back that we leave natural.  Several trees have fallen and are leaning against other trees, or on the ground.  We have brush piles we leave that are quite deep.  I have begun planting pollinator plants and trees such as dogwood, redbud, and crabapple.  We also have many pine, cedar and fir trees.  We have two large oaks in the front, and a red maple in the back.  Our property is surrounded by fields that occasionally are used for cattle, full of grasses that seed each year.  We have installed 3 or 4 birdhouses for birds that like that type of nesting. We also have a lot of bushes and shrubs growing in clumps.  I have been planting mostly to attract bees, but birds can also enjoy sneezeweed, asters, mums, wild sage, joe pie weed, tickseed, goldenrod, coneflower, and sunflowers.
      • They want to be so fastidious at our park which is separated from my yard by a block wall.  The leaves and other debris get cleaned up on a yearly basis.  At least they don't prune back the ornamental grasses till spring.
    • Carolyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      My garden has been close to 100% organic the 10 years I’ve lived here, but it is exposed to a major airport flight path & part of the time downwind from an industrial area.  I haven’t been able to garden as hard as I used to so at the moment it fits into the wilding look. Now I have a “new knee” I want to do some “reclamation” but not over tidying it. I’ll do some “editing”  &  replace some plants with native plants. I really want to do zones better & improve how I water. I want to find a few places for nest boxes & introduce some specific native patches, especially with an eye to native pollinators. I‘ve been quite happy letting the hummingbirds & others keep the aphids in check & hose off any drought induced over populations. I am working at learning the plants we need in the Pacific Northwest for native moths & butterflies. The box store nurseries are full of plants for Monarch butterflies but we don’t get them. We have Swallowtails. Lots to learn & discover.
    • Megan
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Though we don't have a lot of vegetation (yet!), our three large trees provide a lot of interest for the birds in our yard. We also have a "scruffy" backyard with some taller grasses and weeds, which seem to be popular with the carolina wrens and other small birds that hide in them! What we definitely need is more varied food and shelter. I'm looking forward to planting more flowers for seeds and nectar, planting some shrubs for fruits and berries and to allow more hiding and nesting locations, and growing our brush pile to make a bug hotel / bird buffet!  
    • Fred
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      My wife and I are lucky to own a small farm in New England. We have been steadily planting native flowers and shrubs, as well as providing water, bluebird houses, elevated perches, brushpiles, standing dead flowers, fruit etc. as described in this course. We are also lucky to have almost no deer pressure on our plantings -- judging by other comments here, that is unusual! We see many migratory and nesting birds, and one category not mentioned as often, raptors -- even witnessed a red tail hawk snagging a mourning dove on a power line! That said, we are interested in improving the habitat value -- learning by observation what is still lacking in our habitat.
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      There are shrubby places near our house where I hear birds calling during the winter. I would like to plant some evergreens closer to the house to give the birds more cover there also. The small creek near our house must be providing water for the birds. Perhaps next summer I can put some flat field stones in it to help give them perching spots in shallow places. A small woods at the edge of our orchard has pine trees and oak trees in it. Someone, blue jays I suppose, brings acorns from there each year and plants them in my vegetable garden. I have gradually been focusing my perennial beds toward plants native to eastern North America in order to encourage pollinators and a diverse insect community in my yard. Happily, it seems like I've been helping the birds at the same time. I have some american hazelnut bushes for nuts, viburnums, red and black chokeberries, and a pagoda dogwood for berries. My current favorite perennial flower is probably anise hyssop. It is such a wonderful plant for bees, and last weekend some goldfinches were feasting on its seeds.
    • Angela
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I have slowly been transforming our yard from grass to garden spaces. I have a varierty of native wildflowers. It is particularly fun to watch the goldfinches come in during the summer to feed on all the purple coneflower, balck-eyed susan blazing start and other seeds. We also have a lot of large pines and some deciduous trees and shrubs like red bud tulip poplar, sumac, sourwood and oak. Our yard was lacking shrubs, so this past fall I planted a variety of native shrubs like viburnums, spicebush, red chokeberry, buttonbush, shrubby st johns wort and fothergilla that I hope will invite more insects and birds. I have some bluebird boxes that need replacing. After watching this I now replace one bluebird box, but I also want to make ones for smaller birds like chicakdees and nuthatches. I see these birds in my yard but they rarely use the boxes. Hoping a size specific  for them, that the larger bluebirds cannot utilize, will give the smaller birds a chance to use it
    • Renee
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      We've got lots of pinecones and acorns as our yard is partially wooded, but I'm not sure about other seeds. We don't really have any wildflowers. I added a couple of native beautyberry bushes two years ago. One of them made lots of berries last year, the other one seemed to have leaves but no berries. If the blueberry bushes I just put in survive, that will be another berry source. Plenty of nectar here with lantana (I know, not native, but contained in a planter), azaleas, and tulip poplars. Lots of insects, spiders, and invertebrates in/under our leaf litter and I always see plenty of worms when I work in the veggie garden. Based on the info from this section I'm planning on moving our birdbath to a more protected spot next to a shrub; it's in a fairly open spot now and that may be why birds seem to prefer bathing in the saucers under my container plants on the deck!
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      We were fortunate to inherit a yard (20 years ago) where the original homeowners had sought to leave as many trees as possible.  We have lots of mature oaks and other native trees, and we're able to promote leaf litter, debris and brush piles.  From this course and other research, I am better understanding why some of the fruits and berries I do have may not be attractive to birds.  I think I need to replace my non-native beauty berries and non-native hollies with native varieties.  The same applies to seed heads --  I need to replace my non-native black-eyed susans and asters with better varieties.  Some of my coneflowers may even be non-native.  Happily, I see evidence that caterpillars are munching my leaves, even though I never see the caterpillars themselves.  Hopefully the birds are getting there first.  One day, I was disappointed to see a new hibiscus (in pot) covered by Japanese beetles.  By the next day, the beetles were gone, and they were never a problem again.  I hope some of the larger birds in our front yard were eating well.
    • Darlene
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      This chapter has been very helpful, particularly regarding items that can harm birds, as I've read articles that actually advise leaving pet hair (yes, ours are treated with flea and tick prevention) and string/yarn to for birds to use as nesting material. Also, obtained new knowledge about types of bird food and the importance of healthy fats. We were glad to hear that sunflower seeds are helpful and why some birds may not be drawn to certain seeds. For example, I grow amaranth in our veggie garden to draw pollinators such as bees but the birds seem to ignore the seeds. We leave some in the garden and assume the deer like it as the seed heads eventually disappear.
    • melisse
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      We have a good variety of seeds from a garden of sunflowers, zinnias, black-eyed susans...which I leave standing over the winter. We have several acorn-producing red oaks and a lot of red and white pine cone producers! Of the fruit-bearing trees...the most sought-after fruit are the crab apples and mountain ash. Now in late November, we still have plenty of winter-berry, hawthorn apples and high bush cranberry. This year we had an over abundance of apples and grapes which is allowing me to learn more about bird preferences! The red bellied woodpecker and the blue jays love the apples. The cardinals, one remaining robin and the bluejays like the grapes...purple grapes preferred over white grapes. I enjoyed being directed to "insects and spiders" by this course. Unfortunately no birds eat the rose chafers that attack annually in mid-June for three weeks. The robins and the flickers seem to like the unplanted garden spaces...I thought for worms and grubs. But we have a plethora of wolfe spiders...which I now can visualize being of interest to these same birds! I would like to offer water after freeze-up...finding the right heated container is one goal. What I have used in the past is too deep. Our "tree cover" for shelter is changing. Over the 31 years we have lived here...the deer population has become so intense that tree reproduction is difficult...any new trees must be fenced. Maples and birches are dying. I added our asparagus stalks to the brush pile...the deer loved the softer ferny branches! Nothing has flown out of the pile when I approached as yet. I will watch for tracks after snow fall!
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Seeds and nuts? I have some grass seeds. Lots of thistle for the finch's. We have a good oak tree for acorns. Wildflower seeds not so much. Had a row of Echinacea for a couple of years and it died out. I have thrown wildflower seeds into the grassy areas, but only a few plants came up. Berries and fruit? Wild berries are invasive honeysuckle, bad thing, and Polk berries. Nectar, flowers, and sap? Needs work. Have lost several maple trees. Insects and spiders? Plenty Other tasty invertebrates, like snails, slugs, or woodlice? 2 tree stumps and several downed tree limbs and brush piles. Water? 5 ponds behind us. A small creek on our north side and a large flowing creek across the street. I put out several pans and a solar bowl after freezing. Spots for shelter and nesting? Small woods and brush west and north of us. I have 5 blue bird boxes out. I want to add more for other birds like the wrens who try to build on the back porch until the cats moved in.
    • mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I have a smallish backyard in southwestern Pennsylvania. My back yard got dug up this spring for the sewer system upgrade. I have since planted native trees and shrubs and am hoping they make it past the deer and will have a glorious spring and summer. I also have my front year planted with various native plants. I found out I do have slugs so that was nice. I am looking into a few plants to add to my yard.  I think I am going ii. The right direction.
    • Dave
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I live in Southeast Tennessee and I have a bluebird box that typically hatches three separate broods per season and I have another nest box with a smaller diameter hole that typically hatches one brood of Carolina chickadees per season. I also have a couple of hanging house wren boxes and typically at least one of them is used as a nest. Additionally, over the years I've also observed the following species nesting somewhere on my property: Carolina wren, northern cardinal, Eastern kingbird. I put out hummingbird feeders every spring and have frequent visitors. I suspect hummingbirds are nesting on my property or nearby. At certain times of year, when working on my garden, robins will hang around and take advantage of any worms that I dig up. I've seen snails and slugs on my property and often observe Eastern towhees scratching around the leaf litter in my yard. At various times, I've observed cedar waxwings, tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees, Northern mockingbirds and Blue Jays feeding on insects and or trees on my property such as dogwoods and black cherry. I've observed American goldfinches feeding on coneflower heads in my pollinator garden. I've observed Eastern bluebirds hunting in my front yard. They will perch on my mailbox and occasionally swoop down to the lawn to grab an insect or worm. I've observed a yellow-bellied sapsucker drilling wells on one of my hickory trees. I've observed Northern mockingbird feeding on a chokeberry shrub. I've observed Ruby throated hummingbirds feeding on coral honeysuckle and garden phlox. I've observed gray catbirds eating the fruit from American pokeweed. My birdbaths have attracted at least a couple of dozen species including Ruby crowned kinglet, rose breasted grosbeak, wood thrush and various warblers.
    • George
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Other than the snails & slugs, I feel I have the needs fairly well covered. Also, we've include milkweed and Joe Pye weed to attract butterflies.
    • brian
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      The biggest revelation I had from this was the number of birds in my area who are supposed to be eating slugs. I want to know why I have so many slugs with all these birds who are supposed to be eating them. If the identifications I have been given for the slugs in my yard are correct, they would seem to be introduced and I wonder if the native birds don’t have a taste for them
    • Barry
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live on 10 acres of forested land in Central Texas.  I have several vegetable gardens around the house.  I have one bird feeder that seems to be left alone by squirrels and racoons.  On the other side of the house I have a pedestal water fountain.  I want to provide more water for the birds near the feeder, but we have a very affectionate, young feral cat that has shown up and we feed her to hopefully keep down the mice and snake population.  I don't want her harming the birds though.  As far as I know she hasn't yet and she's been with us a few months now.  Most of the birds that I see come to the feeder are Northern Cardinal, Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee.  None of them seem to be interested in keeping down the grasshopper population that eats up my vegetables though.  I used to have a Red Tailed Hawk in a tall pine tree in the woods behind the house.  That pine died and the hawk moved on.  I have see Texas Roadrunners in my area and saw a Loggerhead Shrike a month or two ago up on a tree.   The Merlin app identified a Screech Owl this year also.  It has been many years since I've seen a painted bunting here. I hope to encourage a greater variety of species to stop by for a bite and a drink!  Especially songbirds.  I'd love to be able to get Mockingbirds to visit! But what I've learned is that I need a larger variety of food types for the birds.  I have acorns from Oaks, Pine Cones, Mesquite seed pods, Yaupon Holly berries, Prickly Pear Cactus and not near enough flowers other than what is on my vegetables.
    • I plan things at this stage, as I will move soon.  Key elements I will introduce are small woodpiles.  Sunflowers or cone flowers as native plants, fire weed or penstemon are on my agenda.