• Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Share your reflections on what you enjoy about your current outdoor space, and what you want to change. You can also offer your bird sightings, or your hopes for different birds you might see when you start gardening for birds.
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live on the Southern Gulf Islands in a coastal douglas fir ecosystem, and many birds nest and spend the summer nearby. This year an Anna’s hummingbird is raising two chicks in a cedar tree just outside my window! There are spotted towhees scratching under the salal in my yard and chickadees perched in the arbutus trees. Juncos and robins forage in the veggie garden and nuthatches race up and down the fir tree trunks. We often hear and see pileated, hairy and downy woodpeckers in our back yard forest, and flickers abound.  And the list goes on and on. The edge of the forest supports so many birds I guess I don't need a fancy garden!
    • Luis Lauro
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      I would like to create safe and attractive landscaping to attract pollinating birds such as hummingbirds, as well as migratory and regional birds. I have a century-old southern live oak tree (Quercus virginiana) that provides coverage and partial shade with the advantage of sunlight entering at different times of the day. My landscaping project revolves around this long-lived oak tree (+120 years old). I would like to select flowering plants from my region with trumpet-shaped or tubular flowers to generate nectar and seeds for food, as well as hanging plants to provide cover, protection and reproduction for different species of birds.
    • Monaliza
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have a lot of birds visiting my space. I live near Myakka River State Park, and my backyard faces a man-made pond. This attracts various birds throughout the year. Some common birds I see include: Great Egret White Ibis Osprey Red-shouldered Hawk Anhinga Wood Stork Northern Cardinal Blue Jay Mourning Dove Eastern Bluebird These birds often focus on the water and surrounding vegetation, engaging in activities like fishing, foraging, perching, and preening. However, due to non-native vegetation, turf grass, and pesticide use in my HOA community, I don't see many pollinators. I want to create a garden to provide a safe haven for birds and pollinators, with native plants and no pesticides.IMG_9123
    • Krystal
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I love my backyard where I have places to sit and watch the birds as well as bird baths and feeders to attract them. This time of year when we are going through our seasonal dry spell in Florida, the bird baths especially bring in birds that I usually only hear, such as great crested flycatchers and carolina wrens. I am lucky to be more or less surrounded by large, old live oaks and laurel oaks courtesy of my neighbors which seem to house an unending number of birds. In my backyard, I've planted quite a few firebushes and bougainvillea, both of which seem to be popular hangouts for the cardinals, chickadees, and carolina wrens. The main thing I'd like to change in the backyard is to get rid of the grass and replace it with native groundcover plus wildflowers to get a mini meadow effect that can withstand some foot traffic.     In the front yard, the change list is much longer. The grass there covers a large part of it and once the rainy season starts, it requires constant mowing. It's also very, very hot without any of the trees that give so much shade in the backyard. I'd like to replace the grass entirely with bushes and flowering trees (under 40' since I have power lines to contend with.) My dream would be to have a water feature of some kind to attract birds and butterflies to that side. My kitchen table looks out over the front yard and I would much rather see that than the current view of grass and the cars driving past.
    • Amanda
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I live on the prairies in Western Canada and while our pond allows us a lot of bird viewing during migration seasons (and usually a Canada Goose pair and Bufflehead nest), our yard needs a bit more work. Our feeders are on the deck so not in the best spot, but mostly I see the White-Breasted Nuthatch, a lot of Black-Capped Chickadees, two Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds and the American Goldfinch on them during the day. We used to have Baltimore Orioles but I never see them anymore since our older aspens were taken down. But we see a lot of bird species otherwise as part of our property we don't really tend to (we have a few steep hills and mature pines on the east side we leave be). In the fall our Mountain Ash tree is great for attracting waxwings and the crab apple trees always seem to have Ruffed Grouse eating in them. But other than very common species, I don't see many other types of birds like different warblers or sparrows. I definitely think there needs to be more flowers in our yard and away from the house! I know my mum has always wanted a bird bath too but it will be tricky to find a good spot since our place tends to be very dry in the summer. I'd love to try and landscape to get the Orioles back to our yard. I think that would be the best species I would want to attract!
    • Sari
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      First of all I enjoy wandering around the yard. I can use my imagination, when I make plans, and move and plant new perennials, prune bushes, construct paths and borders. After the dark and cold winter I awake alongside the early saffrons and narcissus. The highlight of the year is the flowering season of more than 100 peonies in my garden. I like that there are different habitats: sunny and hot frontyard, shelted garden, three small groves - very shady spruce forest, dry mixed forest growing on a bedrock and more humid mixed forest. They allure large range of animals. It's satisfying to detect many kinds of spiders and insects (despite my fobia), birds, rabbits, foxes and an occasional lynx visit or live in my garden. I'm excited when I find a flower I didn't bring here. Providing a place to live for a variety of creatures makes me feel I'm part of the nature and my actions mean something. What I'd like to change is the chaos: I need some structure. There's too many projects going on. Also I wish I'll eventually win the battle against six invasive plants. Some water would attract more animals, but I can't find suitable spot for a little pond.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 30
      I enjoy sitting on the porch to watch the birds at my feeders and building nests in my nest boxes.  It brings me joy to watch the process from nest building to fledging of the babies.  I enjoy puttering in my flowers and seeing birds sip nectar from my glads or eat seeds from my sunflowers in the summer. I enjoy harvesting herbs from my small herb garden and picking apples from our apple trees in the fall. I'd like to plant a variety of plants that will attract other bird and butterfly species I know are in the area but do not come to my yard.  I want to learn what to put in my feeders  (as well a what to plant) at what time of year for various birds.  I would like tips on how to keep my nest boxes for the blue birds rather than other species that try to take them over. I enjoy photographing birds and flowers and seeing my perennials return each year.  I am looking forward to all this course has to offer.
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I have several feeders both in the front yard and the backyard.  I am working on an area at the side of our house where I have planted shasta daisies, daffodils and tulips, a wisteria bush, and a forsythia bush.  It is a good spot for sunflowers when the deer stay away!  I want to learn what ground cover or other plants might work well in this area.
    • Last summer I found a landscape company that specialized in Native plant gardens and lawn alternatives. They have created 200 square feet of gorgeous native plants all around the house. They were very small plants in June but by August they were so much bigger. I actually saw hummingbirds feeding from the bee balm vs the hanging feeder. Lots of different little wasps, flower flies, bees visited. I saw several species of butterflies that had never been seen here before. Some of the plants aren’t native , like the Ornamental Onion, but they were included because they are popular with pollinators and they were covered with little bees and wasps. It made me so happy to sit and watch. This will be year 2 and I am so looking forward to seeing the plants return. Living in Manitoba Canada we have loooooong winters so having this garden really brightens my spring and summer.
    • Evelyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I recently moved into a new home, in a beautiful area in mountain foothills. The views are wonderful, and my neighbors and I are surrounded by 120 acres of woods and meadows teeming with birds and other wildlife. On the negative side, my property is steeply sloped and most of it is covered with turf grass that has been poorly maintained. My goals are to terrace and stabilize the slopes, to add woody and herbaceous plants for the benefit of wildlife and for my own enjoyment, and to greatly reduce the amount of turf grass. A lot of different birds visit my feeders, and I'd like for my gardens to provide additional food for them.
    • I have a little bit of everything now but I just want to add more cohesiveness to it.   There is too much blank space between plants and my bird area.  My yard is small, surrounded by the standard issue southwest block wall.  I hang planters for flowers and on the wall and pots of flowers along my patio edge that attract hummers.  These are a mixture of natives and typical easy growing annuals.  My neighbor has flowering crabapple trees along the wall and another wall buts up against the subdivision park which is lined with more trees, tall grasses, shrubs, and flowering trees which add privacy and shade.  We have mostly songbirds but live a block from fields full of raptors, crows and ravens, and, with the exception of a couple ravens, have not ventured here for hunting.  I set out sunflower hearts all year round; suet and nyjer seed in the winter; jelly, oranges and sugar water in the summer.  House finches year round (and House sparrows that I discourage); summer I get Black-chinned hummers and Bullocks orioles; fall brings the Rufus hummers stopping during migration (fun to have but glad to see leave - little meanies); winter I get a pair of Flickers, Pine Siskins, American and Lesser goldfinches, White-crowned Sparrows and when a wind or snow storms comes through will get someone new stopping by.  This winter Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Dark-eyed Junco visited a few times.  I'm in the Feeder Watch program so it's always fun to find someone new! I would like to go more native to the front yard but we have to look "consistent" with the neighbors so its a small yard with flowering shrubs.  At least we are all rock/gravel like the other areas.
    • IMG_3153
    • The National Wildlife Federation certified wildlife habitat sign they sent me, that I posted on the large Red Maple in the front yard in November 2016, works wonders.  My front yard has a very modest effort at conforming to the cultural american expectation.  The back yard is a jungle.  Providing a water source is challenging, though it is not scarce in Ohio.  Native wetlands and  prairie are rare.  There are recreated or created wetlands, a bit of old(er) growth forest, and some old cemeteries.
      • That is great!   I never knew this existed.  I don't have the space to create something like this.
    • Colleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      We live in the Detroit area and have a typical suburban yard. I have been gardening with native plants for about fifteen years, and the garden is always growing and evolving. It is a completely organic garden - no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers (other than our own compost). This year I hope to add more berry-producing shrubs. While I believe our garden provides a nice habitat for the critters, it tends to look messy.  I do try to make it aesthetically pleasing for the neighbors, but I have never managed to achieve the "showplace" look that my neighbors want. The garden began as a pollinator garden, and we enjoy an abundance of native bees, beetles, moths and butterflies. I especially enjoy seeing great, black wasps. They really are gentle giants. We also have chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels and the occasional possum and skunk. The standard, backyard birds visit the garden. However, by adding more berry bushes this year, I hope to attract a wider variety of birds.  
    • Megan
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I just moved into a new place in central Massachusetts with about a quarter acre surrounded by other houses. My favorite thing so far is how many birds we've had come to our bird feeders: tufted titmice, house finches, nuthatches, bluebirds, chickadees, goldfinches, and woodpeckers! Adding a finch feeder and suet feeder to the tray feeder I started with has made a big difference! Our newest visitor is a northern flicker who has been coming to my suet feeder. The thing I'd most like to change is that we don't have much vegetation yet. We have three big trees that our birds gravitate to, and we've embraced our messy/leafy yard, but I'd like to do more planting so we have more natural food sources and plant diversity. I also would love to establish a small pond for wildlife and set up an outdoor seating area for the warmer months so I can sit and enjoy watching our visitors!
    • Carolyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      My current space is not huge and is located near a city park with mixed evergreens & deciduous trees about a half mile from a river. My back garden borders a steep slope with invasive Himalayan blackberry but that still provides cover for many birds as well as raccoons & cotton tails . As a result there are a number of birds that fly by, over, and thru my garden.  I’m trying to have a mix of native and other bird & pollinator species . I try to garden pesticide free.  Many of the “usual” birds in my garden have become comfortable having me around. I’m working towards a more sustainable and nature friendly mix of plants.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I live in Florida and enjoy the outside temperatures during this time of year.  I have made many mistakes and have learned from them so now I am looking forward to native plants and bird friendly areas. I tried some new plants but also rescued a puppy and let's just say he loves to garden also! So I have to keep him in mind when planning my area this time. Looking forward to just sitting and enjoying what is going on in my yard. I do not live in a development that has restrictions.
    • Renee
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I live in a suburb of Atlanta. We have a partially wooded yard that is adjacent to a county park. Lots of birds visit our feeders and birdbath and there is plenty of wildlife in the area. I have started working on removing the invasive ivy planted by a previous owner and adding more native plants. However, it seems that there is monkey grass lurking under the ivy (at least it doesn't climb up the trees). I need to figure out how to remove it and what to replace it with. The yard is on a slope so erosion around the roots of large trees is a concern when removing ground cover. We have multiple tulip poplars and pines. Determining which native plants will do well in our soil/shade conditions is also a challenge. I've had a bit of luck with beautyberry and bee balm thus far - not so much with jewelweed, asters, or swamp sunflower. I also have a vegetable garden and am about to try adding some blueberry bushes.
    • polly
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in suburban Chicago area, and I have loved gardening and birds for my entire life. Last year my husband and I finally took out a portion of our lawn in the backyard and put in prairie plants. They did well for the first year, and I look forward to see how they come back this spring. We plan on expanding the prairie eventually but want to do it in stages. Last year was the first year that I started a gardening journal, where I keep track of the plants that I put in. I habitually will buy perennials and put them in, then forget about them and can't remember what I planted the following year. We also vegetable garden and have some flowers. We feed the birds safflower seed, and we get quite a variety at our feeders. We also feed the hummingbirds when they are here in the late spring and summer. I look forward to adding to my knowledge through this course!
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      We live in suburban Virginia, with part of the yard in lawn but a nice wooded area along the side and in the back.  Our rear wooded area joins similarly wild areas of our neighbors' yards, and we enjoy the local birds and wildlife.  I inherited a pole and feeders a couple of years ago, and I love feeding the birds (typically about 15 different species every day).  I recently retired and finally have time to get back to gardening.  I've been learning about native plants, and I've been busy digging up the non-native invasives (privet, mimosa, ivy, Bradford pear, honeysuckle, and more).  It's been fun to identify some native plants hiding in my yard that I never noticed before, and I've been adding more.   I am trying to pay more attention to birds in other parts of our yard (not just near the feeders).  We have lots of nests in our trees, evidence of woodpeckers, sources of water, evergreens for shelter and a brush pile.  We don't use chemicals so I hope we have lots of insects that the birds are eating.  (I learned to appreciate insects in an entomology course at Cornell many years ago.)  Our yard is generally shady and the soil is not great.  The timing of this course is just right.  I'm hoping to get ideas and guidance to make our yard even more bird-friendly.  I'd love to eventually see a few more bird species in our yard.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      We live in the northern part of Southwest Ohio. My husband had a stroke two years ago and no longer help take care of the yard. I have left parts of it go to "weeds". I want to add color and food to my wild areas. The deer like them and stop to eat. I have made small brush piles and left tree trunks for perches. I had cats dumped here last spring and now my feeders are kind of bare looking as I had to start trimming the grass around the bases. 20230212cover pg2
    • melisse
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and, with my husband, we've gardened for 30 years...a mixture of vegetables and small fruit-bearing plants on about an acre within a ten acre piece of mixed hardwoods and conifers. We've established an orchard of apples, plums and crab apples...all of which attract birds at various times of the year. As we enter our 80th year...our needs have changed...and our love for just watching what's "out there" is what is important. Last year we seeded half of the vegetable garden in native plants. I keep bird feeding stations and participate annually in Project Feeder Watch.  The pollinator plants now are seed-bearing plants...a large natural bird feeder! The goldfinches and dark eyed juncos are busy demonstrating the value of letting everything stand through the winter. I have two well established sitting-places, but I want to develop another one. I love reading what everyone else is doing...
    • Dave
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      During the COVID lockdown, for the first time in the 15 years I had lived in my home,  I started to pay attention to my yard and its role in attracting birds and other wildlife. I decided to buy and install some bird feeders, bought a bird guide and began to educate myself about the birds that came to my feeders. It was so enlightening and delightful and very exciting whenever I saw a species for the first time. As I read more and more about attracting wildlife, I began to pay more and more attention to what was growing on my property and learned of the importance of native plants. I soon realized, my first priority was to properly identify and remove invasives which sadly had overtaken most of my backyard. My front yard was mostly lawn. I soon joined my local Wild Ones chapter, enrolled in the Tennessee Master Naturalist Program and my local Master Gardeners program. All of these resources have made me much better educated about the ecosystems in my area and how to manage them. I slowly developed a plan to populate certain areas of my property with native plant installations and have been implementing it very slowly every since. I've transformed bits of my front yard to pollinator habitat and continue to remove invasives in my backyard and replace them with native perennials and trees. It's a slow process, but I'm making progress and gradually transforming my property to how it may have looked 60 years ago before my subdivision was developed. I'm taking this course to find ways to attract even more wildlife. I'd especially like to add a water feature and attract frogs and other amphibians. I'd also like to develop a strategy for having multiple natural food sources available year round for birds and have something blooming for three full seasons for pollinators.
    • Jill
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I'm in central west coast Florida. Lots of invasive Brazilian Pepper plants to control but the birds love them for cover. My birds favorite tree is my Lacebark Elm.  I have suet and many orchids hanging there.  Several seed feeders in the yard as well as bird baths, blue bird houses, and a bubbling goldfish pond. In this area of Florida you have to buy tons of dirt and create raised gardens. This is very laborious and hot work.  I have several with many species of plants including native species.  All of which were planted with birds and butterflies in mind.  I have had 13 species of birds nesting in my yard in a season.  I have frequent visitors that return every year to nest. My flycatchers, hummingbirds, and yellow throated warbler are my favorite but I enjoy all of them - almost - could do without Mr. Blue Jay. Being in central Florida I'm surprised every year that some of my birds leave and migrate south maybe only 150 miles to Venice or Naples.  I'm trying to get Painted Buntings to visit my yard during migration. I did get a female Indigo Bunting this fall at the feeder.  Happy Gardening.
      • Lisa
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        I live on the west central coast of Florida and had my first painted bunting stop by in the yard this past December. I was so excited!!!