• The land that I have supplies everything birds need except water, which I supply.  I’m starting to loose a lot of older trees so they will need to be replaced with trees offering benefits to the birds and animals.
    • Living on Hilton Head Island, we have a lot of bird activity year-round. I have 4 feeding stations and a birdbath. After reading the birdbath safety tips, I will be adding some rocks to the bowl so when it rains, the water doesn’t get too deep for the smaller songbirds. The birds have great sources of seeds, insects, worms, etc. The subtropical environment keeps the bugs well stocked. We have many Live Oaks and Pine Trees that provide lots of shelter and food as well as plants that are dense and low to the ground. Birds are plentiful and I want to keep them safe and keep them engaged in our backyard so I will be researching a moving water feature.
    • Stuart
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I think the area that I am most interested in working harder on this year is the water situation.  I have a traditional pedestal bird bath that I inherited from my dad and it attracts a fair amount of traffic but is heavy to clean and empty.  I think that I will take it off the pedestal this coming spring and experiment with creating an on-ground water feature using it and maybe incorporating some solar powered tech to add some motion if I get really ambitious.
    • Beth
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      My mom found a bunch of branches, bark, and tree stumps somewhere and left them in my backyard "for the birds". Now I know why. During the winter they're mostly serving as a squirrel napping site, but hopefully come spring, they'll be a good source of bugs for the birds as well.
    • Arleene
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      I live in the city. In my yard I have some plants to provide food and shelter for wildlife and insects. I would like to plant more native plants that bear seeds, something for nectar and grasses. As of now I do not have any native grasses and they look so pretty in all seasons. I would also like to provide water for the birds, insects and mammals that come into my yard. And now that I know chickadees and nuthatches eat mealworms I may supplement my feeding stations with dry mealworms from time to time in the winter.
    • I live in a rental unit in a 2-family house. We don't have much in terms of yard space, and there is a lot of foot traffic and dog walkers on our corner. I have one bird bath bowl that I keep on the ledge of our porch, and I have a 16-inch terra cotta drip tray from a planter underneath a shrub outside. The birds prefer the drip tray under the shrub by far! I don't get to see birds visiting the bath very much, but I definitely see signs they they've visited. Unfortunately there is not a nearby outlet to plug in a water warmer in the winter. I've been keeping an eye on the daily temperature and I fill both baths with warm water as weather permits. Someday, I hope to have a yard to myself to create a native sanctuary for the local birds and critters.
    • I installed a large branch, cut in half, and dug it into the ground. I actually saw a woodpecker beak-drilling into it.   It was cool, because it is near my backdoor, and my original intent was to attract a woodpecker. It was a Downy Woodpecker. I also attract a lot of squirrels, and I saw a White Squirrel,  in the bird feeder/bath. 100_1680 I have read, that is is tough to have a bird feeder-yard-system, and not get squirrels. But it is good, I think, that the critters get healthy  food, and then when Raptors hunt them, they get a critter, that has had good food, and not Rodenticide affected food. I have seen some Raptors near me, but never in my yard. I have seen DOVES, WOODPECKERS, SPARROWS, BLUE JAYS, and once, a group of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES. And a GRAY - TUFTED TITMOUSE.   Thx., bjorn k.
    • Moniqh
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I had 2 birdbaths in my backyard and the one lowest to the ground definitely was the most popular.  Even though it is a plate on an upside down pot it is very popular with a variety of birds!  I had a beautiful birdbath that was higher from the ground, but they kept going to my homemade one! I like the idea of a solar pump so I may add a water feature with this.  I used to cut back my perennials for the winter but now will leave them, especially coneflowers.
    • Sherri
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I bought a house last year and have a lot of non-native shrubs and plants, including a tree which my Seek app tells me is a Cherry-plum? Birds seem to like this tree a lot for shelter, but I want to find ways to better support them with Native Plants.  I think I'd like to keep the tree for habitat and because moss grows well on it, and it is quite pretty in the spring when it blooms with dark purple flowers. However, I'd like to replace the shrubs with native varieties. If anyone reading this knows if this is best to do gradually or all at once, I'd love your input! An exciting development this spring is the little baby maple trees sprouting in my backyard (either red or sugar, not sure which). I'm hoping to cultivate at least one of them and let it continue to grow. Free trees, can't beat it. :)
    • Keith
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Plant cover is important for many different reasons from safety, roosting, and nesting. Having watched birds for a while I now realize how important having shrubs for birds to hide in is important to draw them around my yard and something that I'm looking to add in the future. I also didn't realize how important ground level water was. Assuming bird baths were all that is needed having a ground level water feature can be very helpful and nice addition to ones yard.
    • JadeJean
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      ***Seeds and nuts?
      • We grew out a forest in the late-2000s, mixed wooded/forested (former ag/cow land), so there are definitely plenty of seed- and nut-bearing trees throughout the near 30 acres. I also do not like mulching/bagging/blowing fallen leaves, which allows the fallen seeds and nuts to be gathered by the more ground-friendly birds, especially for my mourning doves (Zenaida macroura). For the summertime, we generally keep a mowed pathway along the borders of the leftover bit of pastured area with only a few evergreens, not wooded, for efficiently safe human-and-dog travelling, which allows for grass and other types of seeds to build up within the open space, attracting plenty of insectoids and whatnot for more birds to enjoy, as well as our other little critters. This also allows for ample space for nesting birds that use the ground. Our red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) enjoy nesting at the edges of the forest in the thicket of the ground, which we do absolutely no mowing or grass cutting whatsoever once in the true forested section, except the main pathway to be able to gain access to the center and back. I have only worked on lower-end branches to facilitate better tree growth, especially in support against any invasives, which I also prefer to leave cut or downed branches/trees if possible.  Also, the pastured section being an open-country-style spot allows for our resident red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) to perch at the edge of the forest and monitor the open-country spaces in secession with other pastures for local Mammalia, since they generally are too large and slow to go after most of the Passeriformes. Our mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) are very smart, and I rarely see them when I see our red-tailed hawk, which we named Brigid.
      ***Berries and fruit?
      • This is definitely something I would like to focus on with shrubbery (open-space and forest-type shrubbery) and some trees to provide some more berry and fruit types. I do have my large, multiple tree species that bear their own very small berries, but I have grown (intriguing choice of word) very interested in planting some plum trees (Prunus), which my grandmother used to have before we grew out the forest toward the back, so this is something I will continue learning about greatly, especially Blackland Prairie wetland-specific berry- and fruit-bearers for use with my work with our local Wetland Center. With ample wooded/forested and open-country spaces, I have the opportunity to really diversify with these plants.
      ***Nectar, flowers, and sap?
      • I have done a significant amount of studying this group more so for my Wetland Center (Blackland Prairie-specific) focusing on the varying wet/moist/dry needs. On my homestead, we have many flowering tree species, as well as ground flowers (Sun/shade/et cetera), which is only eight miles away, so it is still dead center in the Blackland Prairie ecological region. I have always allowed them to grow as they will themselves to, but this is another area that I would like to incorporate more specific ample groupings of flowering plants to facilitate more creature life and food sources for birds and others in those areas on my land that need little attention. My whole life though, I have always loved sunflowers (Helianthus). Being former Texan ag land, we have actually regularly seen and still regularly see local pastures, when transitioning out of using cows, plant a vast number of sunflowers (Helianthus) to "reset" the soil. They are vastly important as they heavily feed off of aged manure (e.g., former cow pastures) while putting beneficial bacteria, fungi and microbes back into the soil. I also love watching them follow the sun, but that is a very personal thing and has nothing to do with my Aves! It has always made me feel more connected to them and has allowed me to see them as they truly are, as well as other plant-life, and that is living.
      ***Insects and spiders?
      • Oh, man, this is the funniest question for me. We have never had a problem with lack of insects and spiders ... at all. Again, Texas, Blackland Prairie, Rural, we have plenty regardless of what we do. I will say this, though. I do not and have NEVER used pesticides and have also never seen local pastures using pesticides, as they are mostly used for cows. If anyone ever needs proof, I will take them to the back of my forest to see the four-inch Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) that use our forest for protection/cover, as well as the numerous butterflies that surround my house. Last year, we had one butterfly that started out early and stayed throughout the fall. I would watch it fly past me every day. Butterflies really seem to like the way smell. He was a little bit of a loner, and I am quite unsure what type he was, but he was always there to greet me with his unique wing shape. For anyone that loves Monarchs (Danaus plexippus), they like milkweed. They need forested/wooded space for that protection as I have said, but they will travel to where the milkweed is! This is another reason why I love the way our forest has grown. The very center has a nicely sized clearing within the trees where a lot of these sun-loving plants will grow, but they are still safely within the forest for a variety of creatures to come to but still have that quick escape back to coverage and safety. Finally, we have trees that spawn NUMEROUS common green darners (Anax junius) EVERY year. We have one large, very old tree at the very front corner entrance of our entire property, and every year during spawning/mating, you can see thousands and thousands in a mostly green iridescent cloud above this particular tree. I am sure resident birds and birds passing through enjoy this.
      ***Other tasty invertebrates, like snails, slugs, or woodlice?
      • We have a natural spring and very large pond surrounded by the oldest trees in the newly formed forest, which they were there long before deciding to grow out the trees. We have a variety of all of these already throughout the land, as it is easy to tell after a rain when they come toward the top, but they are definitely more prevalent and larger the closer you get to the main water source.
      ***Water?
      • Other than the large natural spring pond that we have, there is also another very large pond in the pastured plat adjacent to ours. Other than that, I have numerous dog rescues that I use a cow-style, very large, 500-gallon tank that I regularly fill with clean water. Our dogs will use it to climb in and out when wanting to cool down, but we have seen larger birds, like blackbirds, perch along the edges and drink out of it. I make sure to keep the water topped off to allow them to not have to bend over so much. I REALLY want to get a solar-powered water fountain or some type of solar-powered watering system/trough-type that I can have in the back of my smaller backyard at the front of this property in tandem with our standalone, small birdbaths, which are a great size for our smaller bird friends, like our Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis). The reason why this very specific location is because I have done some experimenting with letting out fresh water from our washing machine, which will dump into this region where a small pile of mostly large limbs that I had set up for many Aves to use as protection when bathing in the fresh water that builds up within it, and the birds get absolutely ecstatic as they love the sound of rushing/moving water. I was hoping to do something similar with a drip-type or solar-powered-enabled water trough-type system that is lower to the ground, so I can keep making these types of birds happy, too, which allows them to not have to travel so far to the ponds for that ground water, avoiding risks of aquatic threats like the cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), or I may create a ground water fountain in this location and then replace the system of large branches back over it as protection and another food source.
      • P.S. If you ever hear someone talk about birds being dirty, well, then they clearly have a lack of fresh, clean, non-stagnant water in their area. Any time we have fresh water on the ground or in a shallow setting, we are always watching our varying-sized birds aggressively bath in their famously cute ways. Any chance they get to bathe, they do! I see it as no different than humans in the days of yore not being able to always safely and readily bathe when no suitable access to HEALTHY water. Finally, the fact that they are drawn to moving water, even with the slightest ripples, is another way to show they are smart enough to understand the benefits of clean, healthy water, which is usually connected with moving water, not stagnant. Give them the resources if you want clean birds!
      ***Spots for shelter and nesting?
      1. Water: Massive natural-spring pond for the water lovers. I would love to introduce wood ducks (Aix sponsa) one day, as they can be permanent residents in this region and will even make use of bird boxes surrounding water sources as such, or for any wintering hooded mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus), as they LOVE thick trees surrounding water sources to use as protection. Our blackbirds also love being in the surrounding ground areas close to a water source, too, of course.
      2. Forest: We have a lot of evergreens intermixed within the wooded area, so we have significant lovers of this such as our Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) and all of the other numerous evergreen-loving bird-types. We do have great-horned owls (Bubo virginianus), as they replace the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) as the bird-of-prey during the nighttime, and I have personally spotted barn owls (Tyto alba) in the wee hours perching on haystacks, which can be rarer in this region of Texas, so I hope it stays away from the great-horned owls (Bubo virginianus), of course! I have yet to start the Wonderful World of Owls, but I did purchase it for this very reason. The other is due to the numerous owl-types at our Wetland Center eight-miles away from our homestead. When we were cleaning the surrounding roads for a yearly adopt-a-highway event, I personally and sadly found a former resident barn owl (Tyto alba) that had been hit due to a speeding vehicle. It is one of those unfortunate areas where the road suddenly takes a steep decline in a short distance, which there is no way for even a quick bird-of-prey to be warned, as you will not see headlights in time. I only prayed that it did not have nestlings anywhere, as barn owls (Tyto alba) already struggle a lot more than other owl-types when it comes to the way they choose to raise their young, which is fascinating in itself. I have also talked about and will continue to talk to them about how if we ever receive more resident barn owls in a walkable location that DOES NOT MEAN TO KEEP PESTERING THEM DURING THEIR SLEEPING DAY HOURS, especially if they are raising young!!! The point of bird-WATCHING is to not harass, of course.
      3. Woodland: Since this is a mixed wooded/forested region, our same friends above, as well as varying other different types, have a completely different source of tree-types to enjoy. This is a very diversified woodland. Our resident pair of turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), NOT BUZZARDS, will leave during the day to go searching for their tasty carrion, but they always come home to the center of our woodland where a very old barn, which I have reinforced, to sleep and raise their young. I will not lie. I was terrified when I heard them the first time. It was years back and thought we had a bobcat (Lynx rufus), as I have found feral cat skeletons up there, but instead these two revealed themselves with a beautiful display of opening their large wingspans for me before flying off. Luckily, I did not permanently scare them off, and they have been living there ever since, which could be up to 20 years. I have always left quite a few bales of hay up there at the top, which is why I originally was going up there and believe they used them for nesting with the way they were formed after the fact. I eventually plan to throw some more hay bales back there for their and anybody else's free use.
      4. Open-country: This is the final ecological region-type that I have on my land. A good chunk towards the front, as well as in secession with neighboring pastures, is open-country. This is the area that our resident red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) will regularly monitor at varying points, but always comes home to our forest when the day is done, and then, I presume, is replaced by some type of owl(s) during the night. Sometimes our resident blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata), when the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is not there, will perch in Brigid's spot. I have far-reaching binoculars that I use for my red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). The first time I noticed this replacement of bird, it was too far to tell what it was. When I pulled up my binoculars, the blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) was perched in the exact same spot while doing its famous hawk-style cawing. Some people question whether or not they are warning or in fact only pretending to be a hawk, but I definitely assume the latter due to the fact that they would do this in the exact same spot and when the hawk was nowhere nearby. I do know they home in the evergreens directly below that area too, so it could be a deterrent for local competitors or a hope to keep the hawk itself away, but probably mostly the former. We have plenty of oak trees (Quercus) for them, too, although we do not get as many species as in more eastern parts of the country.
    • Nicolas
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I live in an apartment and don't have much space for gardening. However, I do have a pedestal-style bird bath near some shrubs (not sure if they are native or exotic). The areas surrounding the shrubs have pine tree bark as mulch, providing invertebrate habitat. I have a large tube feeder and a ceramic ground feeder that are both filled with black-oil sunflower seeds. Near the apartment complex, there is a grassy area next to a mixed forest; I've seen and heard a variety of birds, such as Blue Jays, American Crows and Carolina Chickadees. At my feeders, I've seen Carolina Chickadees, House Finches, Song Sparrows, Tufted Titmouses, and Northern Cardinals. I've seen the aforementioned species using the bird bath as well; Northern Mockingbirds and Mourning Doves have also used it. Some of my neighbors have tube feeders with mixed seeds that mainly attract House Sparrows. Once the weather warms up, I plan on buying some ferns, flowers and other plants that will help the birds!
    • Sabina
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I added additional mulch to my yard as a substrate for invertebrates. I would like to add a water feature with moving water that can work as a bird bath. The challenge is for it to be visually pleasant and easy to keep clean. I was able to see what I learned in action. I cleaned my birdbath and filled with clean water and in the space of five minutes I had three different visitors: a towhee, a chickadee and a sparrow. It was a clear message that they were grossed out by my bird bath prior to cleanup!!
    • Becky
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Our front yard offers quite a bit of bird-friendliness...we have a beautiful river birch, as well as some holly trees that the birds really love (and we've noticed some nests in the last couple of years). We have a very large pecan tree in the back yard that is wonderful when it's fully bloomed. I'd like to add some more shrubs and perennials to the back to give more fruits, nuts and shelter. Also researching a good option for a bird bath, and would like to add a solar fountain of some kind to keep the water moving (we definitely have enough sun here in Georgia to support that!). We do have an old log that was removed from the pecan tree that we left near the butterfly bush and some of the daylillies...and I noticed this week it has lots of little bugs all over it, and also had some wonderful fungus. So we'll leave it there and possibly add more from larger fallen limbs (rather than cutting them up and using them for firewood!). This lesson was very helpful and got me thinking of how we can add some plants and shrubs to the back to help provide a more hospitable and sheltering area for our birds!
    • Robin
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      We are lucky to live in an area surrounded by spruce trees, birch, choke cherries as well as all kinds of other native plants and dense forest.  We have gardens too, both ornamental and some fruits and veggies.  Thought there is a wet area nearby, it isn't running water, so a good bird bath with running water is needed.  I've also just picked up a nesting box that we'll hang up in the next couple of days, I'm still thinking about where is the best place.  Our feeder birds love black sunflower, so I plan to grow some straight from our bird seed around the yard!
    • Rose
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      We have plenty of nuts, a nice mixed woodland with living and dead trees, leaf litter, birdbaths and lots of shrubs and trees for shelter. We lack fruits and berries. I’ll need to research what might grow well in our shifting and deep shade.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I have a variety of bird feeders and several sources of water that birds and squirrels love. Use a heater for winter to keep water from freezing. Also have one bird house/nest box that is getting alot of business this spring from sparrows, last year house wrens. Will be re-doing a small patio garden this year to be native plants/perennials. Plan to remove the butterfly bush, want to replace with a shrub that is native as the birds love the shelter of the bush being near the bird feeders and water sources.
    • Liz
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      This was a very helpful lesson,  booth because I see that my garden already has many  features for attracting birds:purple cornflower, purple aster, crab apple trees, pine trees, leaf mulch, stumps, honey suckle etc,  but also has many gaps.   I would like to plant sunflowers this year,  find space for a native oak tree, a chokecherry and a willow, and particularly improve on the bird baths I have,  none of which has many of the recommended features and placement.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I am considering a water source for the birds that visit my yard. Also, I am keen on attracting blue birds- so I will be looking at the appropriate nesting box and possibly supplying mealworms. I am also planning two gardens that should help improve the current habitat
    • Kate
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I have focused on improving my feeder setup this year and have enjoyed the winter bird watching.  I have a bird bath, but am considering a heater so that I can keep it functional through the winter.  I'd also love to add a solar pump for water movement.  As warmer temperatures come I am looking forward to planting more flowers for nectar.  There are already quite a few oaks, birches and a willow tree that becomes quite a hub of bird activity in spring and summer.  This year's big project will be replacing the burning bush with a native shrub that will provide better shelter and fruit.
    • Colleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      We just built a house last year on what used to be a farmer's field, so our yard was an acre of flat, blank slate. No mature landscaping. I had the chance to get some plantings in last summer. I concentrated on mostly native plants for pollinators but have a few "well behaved" non native favorites as well. In the summer I have 2 birdbaths (one has a solar waterfall feature), several birdfeeders and a few birdhouses but I have learned now what better kinds of seed to offer and where to better place my houses. Unfortunately we had to get the foundation of the house sprayed for spiders which I was not thrilled about but my flower beds went untouched. Anyways, I have lots of great ideas planned for my future gardens... Small to medium sized trees, berry bushes, tall grasses, and flowering perennials from all-native-selling nurseries. Possibly a small pond or water feature. There are so many possibilities it makes my head spin (in a good way)!!
    • laurel
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I have a new feeder, not very popular yet.  I think I have to experiment with types of seed. As for plants--lots of mustard garlic, and many black walnut trees.  Not much light. Many volunteer plants like snow drops, winter aconite, squill, dafs, forget-me-nots, dame's rocket, a few strawberries.  Not very bird friendly.  I'd like to add coneflower, spiraea, other natives.  But I don't know if there's enough light.  Maybe I have to cut down some walnuts? I'd like to have different kinds of trees, but walnuts are very pushy. I've noticed as I walk down my street that the block to the south of me sustains more birds than our block.  I think it's because there are lots of sheltering trees and bushes and shrubs.  I'm always struck by the birdsong that becomes apparent as I walk south.
    • Christi-June
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      We leave feeders and scatter seeds as well.  As for berries we unfortunately have some invasives that we need to get rid of (one is known to poison birds which explains why we never see them eat it, I have clipped all the berries and discarded them for now.  We do have some holly.  The flowers I have are not natives, I would like to have native wildflowers and plan on making our mound septic a wildflower meadow. I have seen a lot of daddy long legs in our yard and I suspect we have other insects under the fallen leaves which we have not raked.
      • Bruce
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        What is the invasive that you need to get rid of, and where are you geographically?  Thanks, Bruce
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I have two oak trees.  I have quite a few boxwoods and  nandinas as one of our local horticulturists swears by them.  The cultivars don't have berries which is good, but the old one that was in our yard when we bought the house does.  Next year I will prune out the berries.  I put in two pollinator gardens and plan to covert more areas to native plants this spring.  I already had two Turk's Caps which the hummers love.  I live in North Central Texas.  Fortunately, we have a native plant society which I belong to.  We have several nurseries that carry native plants, including one that has a large selection.  The native plant society also has a plant sale in the fall.  On my to-buy list are a Mexican plum and some type of evergreen tree.  I also believe that I will plant a Yaupon holly which will give me another small tree.  And I will add some native grasses (I have a very large backyard.) as I learned this fall that butterflies like to rest on the blades of these grasses.  I do have a bird bath and added a small plastic bowl to one of my pollinator gardens, put some rocks in it and added water for the butterflies.  My sparrows discovered it and prefer it to the birdbath.  I have many bird feeders: peanuts in and out of the shells, safflower, sunflower hearts, a flaming hot seed cake and a squirrel feeder on the back fence.
    • Ilona
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I'm in the process of adding native plants to my yard. I'm removing all non-native shrubs and have added a pollinator garden.  I have an oak tree and shagbark hickory, but most of the remaining trees are Norway maples which I can't get rid of. I'm also eliminating my entire front lawn and adding native plants. My biggest challenge is finding the native plants for my area. Most nurseries carry invasive plants or cultivars.