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    • Bird Academy
      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.
    • Margo
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      MargoHa
      Front yardMy front and backyard are huge, with little area that supports gardening.  The area is heavily wooded, and the soil quality is not great.  I do have several areas that support some gardening, almost like gardening zones.  We moved here five years ago, and I am reading more and more about woodland gardening!  I have been a bird feeder for over 30 years, and a gardener at least that long.  For most of that time, I saw those activities are parallel, not intersecting.  I have many birds visiting.  The pileated woodpeckers and Stellar's jays are probably my favorites.  I have lived in NJ and WA where the American Goldfinch is the state birds.   I never saw one until I moved to WA, and I have dozens visiting!  I feed hummingbirds year round.  As I inventory my bird tools, I have: 2 seed feeders, 2 suet feeders, 3 hummingbird feeders, and 3 birdbaths.  Two of the birdbaths have solar features, but my hummingbirds love to fly and linger in the hose spray when I am watering the garden! I started thinking more about gardening for birds after the pine siskin finch swarming this winter.  My area of WA State experienced extreme swarming behavior including the spread of salmonella and the death of hundreds of birds.  I had never seen anything like it before, and I brought my feeders in for more than three months.  I am focusing now on gardening for birds with a goal of reducing my feeder use and the risk of swarming behavior and disease spread.  While the experts say that is a cyclical behavior, I do hope I don't see it again.  I would like to offer more native plants and natural food for my bird visitors.  I know I will also need to improve the soil in my yard to support more gardening.
    • Margo
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      MargoHa
      Front yard
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Sidney Jo
      My backyard is huge!  I have four seed feeders spaced throughout the yard and multiple hummingbird feeders for when the birds are migrating.  During bird migration, I do have a large variety of birds as well as my permanent residents.  I live in North Central Texas where July and August can be dry and hot.  I planted iris about 12 years ago, and while they are beautiful for about two weeks and drought resident, they don't attract wildlife.  I have Turk's Cap and Trumpet Vine which the hummingbirds like and two large shade trees.  There's not a specific species of bird that I want to attract.  I would like to do more for the hummingbirds although they are only here about 3 months.  My goal is to create a more natural environment for all my bird visitors.
    • Leonard
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      SDommin
      My wife and I live in a very developed area of Long Island and we both very much appreciate nature. In our own small way we wanted to 'give back' by planting a native garden in a section of our front yard. After only two years, and being very much novices, we are already seeing the rewards of both improved aesthetics to our yard as well as drawing more birds and insect pollinators. We are definitely hooked! IMG_6259
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        babybirdisinthenest
        These all look so well together! I recognize the coneflowers of course, but the others I don't. Would you kindly tell what other plants are included in this garden? Thank you!
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      sarahcheungchau
      Hello, I live in Hong Kong and a garden is something very few people have around here. But I’m doing this course to help shape the garden of my friends place where I stay about once a week. The garden is on a birdy island, borders a little forest and is on the edge of an eco system. Its very hot and tropical here, the soil is not very good to grown in but I want to find a way to attract the birds to come down.
    • Doris
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      peacefuldb
      living in Texas so trying to plant native that will survive our drought and then way too much rain all in the  same week. We have an HOA so it is mandated that you keep 50% of your lawn. (Makes no sense to me in an area prone to drought so am working to change that.)  In the meantime removing most of the grass I am allowed to. Putting in a mixture of rocks and mulch. In the mulched area I plan to plant more butterfly/bird friendly natives. In the rock areas cactus are a natural fit. I have 2 cactus gardens already that I have turned off the sprinklers in-the wrens love the cactus! I want to explore putting in some kind of water feature but it needs to be low maintenance.  I have seen something at a birding area near us where it is a very thin drip line connected onto a log that does a very very slow drip onto a large rock/stone.  Intriguing.  What are some water features you guys have done? I have a bird bath so this doesn't need to be where they can immerse themselves but did want it to give the birds, and insects, frogs etc a place to get a drink during our hot summers and beyond.  Also when its cold of course.  It will be interesting to see what comes to a slow drip water feature. We live in the Central Flyway so there are quite a few migratory birds that come through.  This last year I noticed quite a few different warblers so I am going to look up what sort of trees/plants they like on their way through. Any hints for me? We have a huge greenspace behind us so the forest is full of life, I would like to supplement that if I can. I look forward to your suggestions/ideas-and reading what you are doing as well. Thanks!
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      blerner
      We are landscaping a steep area next to our house that was overgrown with weeds and too steep to mow. We are adding retaining walls, a patio, and steps up to the small backyard. I want the area to be pretty and relaxing. We want to design with birds and butterflies in mind, and also to put in some bushes to provide privacy from the (not very busy) road. We live in Western Massachusetts, on the edge of a very large wooded area that also includes some small ponds. We hear many kinds of birds, identifying more by their songs all the time (thanks to Merlin), but do not see as much variety as we hear. I would love to attract cedar waxwings, among others.
    • Julie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      locklinj
      I live in New Hampshire and am new to both birding and native gardening.  I became interested in birding through watching live safaris online, and they often do spots of birding.  I thought, if they have such variety of birds in South Africa, all of our birds here can't just be brown and boring.  So I started watching the birds in my backyard, and have really come to be amazed at the variety we do have.  We have seen over 30 different types of birds, and are just getting started transforming the gardens and yard from a random mix of 'pretty plants' to a more intentional mix of natives.  I am hoping to keep the good parts of our property - the woods are mostly native trees and we have a few wild growing beautiful natives, such as New Jersey Tea, that I have found - and swap non-natives in my flower beds to natives, as well as hopefully add some additional gardens along the edges of the woods which are currently lacking any understory/shrub layers.  I have seen almost all of the birds that I initially had on my wish list, except for the scarlet tanager and indigo bunting.  I have also added the Cedar Waxwing and Evening Grosbeak to my wish list, as well as hopefully one day starting to discern between the many types of warblers!
    • Candlin
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Candlin
      I am a beginner gardener.  A lot of what I’ve done in the garden is remove bad things from the previous owners, and plunk in trees and plants.  I really want a plan!58A12A1A-1B87-49DE-8F86-724493CEF31D
      • Sarah
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        sarahcheungchau
        It already looks very beautiful and has a lot of potential!
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      MaryThayer
      CBC4245F-7074-4079-9D24-9983F8AB4E79I love to garden and enjoy the many birds we see in our yard. I have chosen plants I like. Now I want to learn about what native plants are best for the birds. I am willing to remove plants that don’t benefit the birds and bugs and substitute native ones. I don’t use any chemicals in my yard. Many birds enjoy our pond. We keep a small section of it open in the winter too using a heater to melt the ice, and put up bird feeders. I would love to attract a wider variety of birds all year long. I like to tidy up the garden now and then, and at the end of the growing season. I’ll have to work on changing that habit too! I live in Massachusetts.
      • Margo
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        MargoHa
        This looks so lovely and peaceful.  What birds do you attract to this area?  While I live in WA State, I am also working toward more native plants, especially as a food source.  I do have birds year round, including Anna's hummingbirds.  Do you have any bird feeders?
    • lindsey
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      cliffordmontessori
      We use our outdoor space for growing food, for walking and enjoy nature, and for viewing from inside. Sometimes we have events outside like the wedding a few weeks ago. We would also like to have a walking path through the woods. We like that this is our space to create. We have never owned our home before. I like the trees and the sounds of birds, I like the plants 🌱  that surprised me with the coming seasons. changing the space; I would like to grow more food for me and for the birds, I would like to know the plants and birds that are present and bring in some plants that would bring beauty and nourishment for the soul.
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 28
      kathleentitus
      I have been gardening for wildlife for over 10 years. It has been more and more fulfilling each year. I've been seeing a greater diversity, as well as greater numbers of birds as I improve the sanctuary. I have learned a great deal and continue to learn. I have created a hummingbird courtyard garden, a large native prairie garden and an open woodland look to the front yard. I am still working on getting rid of lawn in the front yard and adding native plants. I live in southeastern Michigan, so the red bud trees, red twig dogwoods, elderberry and serviceberry bushes that I had planted are native to my area. I planted large masses of wild geraniums and blue bells under a hickory tree and mayapples under pine trees. I planted a dozen purple coneflowers out in full sun around the mailbox. In particular, I’d like to get rid of the rest of the lawn and plant native groundcovers around the red bud trees and the berry bushes. I participated in Project Feeder Watch this past year,  so I set out more bird feeders. I enjoyed working for PFW a great deal and see a lot more birds around our home. One of my favorite times was in late spring, with the stunning arrival of a small flock of Baltimore orioles in my back yard.  Other highlights that stood out from the usual ‘backyard birds’ were a pileated woodpecker, pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks, and a pair of mallards.  We have a small pond area that I’d like to make more attractive to the ducks, who unfortunately left after staying a few weeks in late spring. My favorite place to spend time is in the hummingbird courtyard. I love waking up in the morning with a cup of coffee, watching the hummingbirds!
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      nancybassis
      I have a large yard set into a 41 acre horse farm.  I hung a bird feeder outside the kitchen window in December and no birds came.  We moved it to the south edge of the yard and hung it from a tree.  Chickadees flocked to it from neighbouring trees.  But none of our Windows gives a very good view.  I realized that outside the kitchen window there are no trees or bushes close by so it is not attractive to birds.  I need to develop that area to make it attractive—to birds and people.  I am mainly interested in winter birds since where we live there so many bears that we are not supposed to hang bird feeders in the summer. So I have an area on the east side of the house that is odd shaped.  A screened porch projects from the house on one side and a bay window projects from the kitchen.  The septic tank is several feet out from the kitchen window.  It needs to be dug up every three years, so we can’t plant perennials close to it.  I’d like to put in a couple of raised planters for herbs and veggies.
      • Jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        jsmolnik
        Hi! 41 acres - wow! It is wonderful to have that much land. There are great articles available on the internet including ones by Audubon that give recommendations for safe placements of feeders for birds. Those offer important guidelines.  It can be a life or death decision for a bird to visit feeders. Also, great guidelines for what foods to offer (and avoid) and for cleaning feeders. Recommendation - keep your feeders sparkling clean. I would clean my oriole and hummingbird feeders daily and clean out my seed feeders (10% bleach water) every 2-3 weeks. As you know, there is a disease plaguing birds in the south so Audubon is recommending that all feeders be taken down. I have put in some native plants in my yard - although I have a long way to go to get rid of most of my monoculture - so I am seeing more birds in my yard taking advantage of these plants than I would otherwise because I do not have my feeders up.
    • Ken
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Kelcom
      83891A1C-6811-43BA-99DB-E00FCC8A3D17I host two 24/7 live bird and garden cams on YouTube (www.YouTube.com/c/kenlittle) and am gradually building out a garden and attempting to create an environment that provides more of what birds need, including flowers, insects, trees, cover, nesting boxes and food.  Feeders are just a complement to the natural environment, as three seasons of the year birds for the most part feed on seeds, fruits, nuts and other insects in the area.  My goal is to create an environment where they won’t have to leave to get what they need.  I’m also gradually trying to build out a website (https://www.kenlittleblog.com) where I continue to add helpful information for subscribers seeking to attract birds to their yards.
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      DrDebbie2018
      I live in SE PA.  I am hoping to slowly convert my too big lawn into native plants.  It will be a project for years to come.
      • Margo
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        MargoHa
        I live in WA State, and when we bought this house it had no lawn!  We've never lived on a property with no lawn before.  You certainly look at a yard and garden differently!  The previous owners had hummingbird feeders; so I added those first.  I tried a seed feeder in the backyard, but I attracted no birds.  Most of my feeders are now in the front yard, and the number of bird visitors has just grown and grown.  As I've added plants, the birds certainly don't seem to mind that there is no lawn!
    • elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      pease
      Last summer I saw my first ever yellow billed cuckoo in my yard. Also Scarlett tanager and both were in a pecan tree. This spring I saw a common yellowthroat warbler under a button bush. Also a flock of cedar waxwings. I have been planting for birds and would love to attract more.
      • Jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        jsmolnik
        Wow - I have never seen a yellow billed cuckoo! That is fantastic. I would love to attract them to my yard. I live in Connecticut. Any recommendations on plants that attracted them? I don’t think pecan trees easily grow so far north but last year I planted a peach tree. It seemed to do ok this past New England winter.
    • MarianWhit
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      marianwhit
      M6143230 This was a 10 year project to return this little creek to its natural state...there were no trees, and invasive buttercup, moneywort, coltsfoot, and forget-me-nots all along its bank.  We brought in ferns, wild strawberry dogwood shrubs, ash, willows, and many other native plants.  We still have to clear the above invasives at least once a year, since we never seem to get them all.  Our "coffee porch" overlooks this area, and we have photographed many, many birds that never come to feeders as well as the feeder birds all naturally doing what they are supposed to do.  We put out one cup of black oil a day, only when bone dry, and in different locations and put the savings into restoring habitat...bird seed is a tiny part of what birds need!  I was a garden designer, and kind of made the connection with using native plants over time.  My property is STUFFED with plants, many exotic.  Keeping after the invasives, and trying to convert the lawn into a functioning native grassland are the current projects.  The lawn is the largest area right around the house, so the non-natives will remain until there is no more room to add natives and/or until I can find someone with muscle, as I am not very strong any more...I want to encourage everyone to think about their garden legacy...if you plant native plants and trees, it will not be a negative one.  I visit gardens of older gardens, and they are a scary mess of exotic invasives that they thought they could control.  As I get older I am planting more trees and shrubs that I can enjoy with less work. We totally love all the cool new insects and our many species of warblers. I have to say I would love a redstart (a tall order, I know)...so one thing I do is "reverse engineer" the garden...I find out as much as possible of all the needs of the species from food to nest materials and try to provide it.  I would really like to keep up with e-bird better!  Finding a new species is so rewarding to us...this work feels more meaningful and something I can do that is good in a world of woes.
      • Kevin
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        kwfloyd
        So many good points and ideas in your post, but I particularly like the idea of reverse engineering the yard to attract particular species.  We do that for hummingbirds a lot, but now I'm thinking about other species I'd like to see and what they need!
    • Sue
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      bonitasue
      Id like to attract Painted Buntings, Orioles, Blue Birds I have areas along my fences that i can add native grasses and plants. I also have an area in middle if yard that is covered in mulch. I can remove some of that for more native plantings
    • Diana
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      q8K#wcM
      I garden for us humans and for the birds, insects, and animals. We live in an urban/suburban area in the Mid-Atlantic with lots of concrete, but with back yards, some of which have large trees. So our neighborhood has snakes, squirrels, opossums, groundhogs, foxes and deer that come out from nearby woods, and, of course, birds. I don’t use pesticides, removing some pests manually and letting other insects and birds take care of the others. My garden is the opposite of neat, and very crowded since our yard is small, but by June it is under control and every plant is there because I planted it, or I allowed it to stay. Other than some vegetables, I’ve planted mostly (but not exclusively) natives. There are flowers from very early (crocus, early iris) to very late (New York Ironweed, aster), so there’s always something for the bees. On some of them I leave the seed heads for fall and winter birds to forage. I also leave most of the dead plants as hiding places for birds and insects over the winter, and when I do clear it in the spring I am careful to look for, for example, preying mantis egg sacs, or cocoons, so I don’t throw them away.
      • Sue
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        bonitasue
        Your yard sounds like heaven to me
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        Sounds wonderful to me!  I hope you check into the difference between exotic praying mantises and native ones.  The big exotic ones will take hummingbirds.
      • Jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        jsmolnik

        @MarianWhit Yes, I read that in an article. How do you control them though? Any recommendations? I always worry about placement of hummingbird feeders (no feeders up now though) to avoid branches that come to close to the feeders.

      • Margo
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        MargoHa
        For years now I have not "cleaned up" the plants, seed heads, etc. in my garden.  I leave the seeds and stalks for winter birds.  I am really working to improve the food I provide for birds from plants rather than seed and suet feeders.
    • Cynthia
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      ccooney
      I love sitting out on the deck and enjoying the flowers.  I have been trying, over the years, to get more hummingbird loving perennials, as that is my favorite bird.  I have a Purple Martin house that is occupied by sparrows but they are fun to watch too.  I want to try to continue to change the landscape to more of a naturescape without looking overgrown to encourage a larger variety of birds to come visit.
      • Jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        jsmolnik
        Hi Cynthia! Sounds nice. Make sure the sparrows you have are not house sparrows. They were an introduced species that outcompetes our natives. If they are house sparrows, reduce the size of the hole so that they cannot get in and re- nest. Smaller birds such as chickadees or wrens will then use the box. (If you live in the North East.) The size of the hole determines a lot!
      • Sue
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        bonitasue

        @Jenifer Good to know about the size of the holes

      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit

        @Jenifer Excellent points!

      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        If you have room, more trees and shrubs!
    • Armando
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      ArmAce3000
      • I don't do much in my outdoor space but watch the birds and enjoy my rose flowers, and breath the fresh air. I enjoy the simple fact that I have an outdoor space with plants. Without the plants, I feel like life would be a lot more drab, boring or depressing so I enjoy that there is space for plants here.
      • I want to change the ratio of native to non-native plants in this area. There are hardly any native plants at all, and even I have contributed in planting non-natives simply for the visual value. Now though, I understand the importance of planting natives and hope to spread this idea.
      • I have House finches, goldfinches, and Juncos visiting my space most often. At different times of the year I also see White crowned sparrows and Mourning doves. The birds focus most of their attention on my hanging feeders and the lime tree in front of them. The Juncos however prefer to forage on this one open area on the ground as well as the mourning doves.
      • Sue
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        bonitasue
        I'm going mostly native in  my yard, 90%.  But I do like roses, so a few roses. I like ferns, so a few ferns and Impatients.  II do notice that around my ferns, there isn''t much activity... so looking for native ferns.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        There is nothing wrong with "mixing in the natives"...some make striking visual combinations while fulfilling their roles in the ecology.  Also, look for little niches, micro-habitats where, say, a couple of  ferns can be tucked in, or a deck where a vine can grow.
      • Jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        jsmolnik

        @MarianWhit I read somewhere that about 70% natives to 20-30% non natives is an ideal mix. Keep those roses if you love them and the ferns. But, perhaps there are some native ferns you could add. I read that there are good substitutes for pachysandra - native types of ground cover instead. I just have to find more local green houses that carry some of these plants. I have to spend a fortune on shipping from out of state and never know what shape the plants are going to arrive in.

    • Olivia Afre Segui
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      NightwingMoonwatcher
      In my tiny outdoor space I enjoy seeing American Robins hop, swallows dive, Thrushes sing, and the usually annoying squirrels run around. I still want to make everything squirrel proof, though.
      • Sue
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        bonitasue
        agree on the squirrels.
    • Raj
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      drewshah
      I live in Texas.There are some woods behind my backyard, so many birds come to visit, like cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, carolina wrens, tufted titmouses, carolina chickadees, house finches, American goldfinches, lesser goldfinches, red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, mourning doves, white-winged doves, American robins, ruby-throated hummingbirds, crows, ravens, chimney swifts, purple martins, red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, Cooper's hawks, black vultures, and cedar waxwings.Other animals include squirrels, raccoons, foxes, lizards, deer, and opposums. I am planning to lessen the amount of lawn we have and add more native plants to my garden and install more bird feeders and houses so a more wide variety of birds come to my backyard.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        This is a great idea!  Most people who only have a bird feeder or bird bath are simply borrowing birds from the landscape that supports them.  To add back is terrific!
    • Jeri
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      jeronima
      YARD We are on three-quarters of an acre in Sonoma County, California.  As you can see we have a large lawn; we plan to remove a large portion of the lawn and put in native plants and plants that attract birds and butterflies.  We will also install a water feature for birds - perhaps a shallow "creek" for bathing and drinking. We are very interested in what sorts of plants will do well here and will attract birds and butterflies.
      • Olivia Afre Segui
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        NightwingMoonwatcher
        Those are great ideas, and your lawn looks great! Keep up the ideas!
      • Jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 18
        jsmolnik

        @Olivia Afre Segui You have such a nice sprawling space to work with! Your options are practically unlimited!!

      • Carol
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        carollynn
        Would love to see your finished project!  We are in the process of “killing” our lawn and plan to replace with a pollinator/bird border and hard scape.  We are on 1 acre in Western Sonoma County, near Graton.
    • Kathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      kossmann
      We are lucky to live on a small lake in Michigan surrounded by about 6 acres of woods. There is about an acre of lawn immediately around the house so our current goal is to transition some of the lawn to native wildflowers. We've decided to start with a teardrop shaped area in the middle of the driveway.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        Wow, an acre, that is a lot!  Consider transition zones, as birds love these.  So many people have big trees and lawn and nothing else...try a graduated approach with smaller trees, shrubs, then tall perennials and grasses.  Also, open native grasslands and meadows are rare...ground nesting birds are in trouble from mechanization (mowing) and the fact that these areas are consumed for agriculture and living space.  I am concentrating on these, because I also realize that many invasive plants like these habitats too, so it is a challenge, but very rewarding!
    • Graeme
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Umsmi529
      We have a huge Mountain Ash tree and a smaller cherry tree in the yard that has always attracted a pretty wide range of birds for feeding, but I want to offer them landscaping that will help them shelter here.
    • Alejandro
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      AMHbirds
      I live in Mexico City at 2700 meters above sea level, where there are still several green areas in the neighborhood and a forest few kilometers away. I have a small garden where I have several plants as ornament and as fruit trees of apple, peach, pear, plum and lemon. With a couple of hummingbird feeders and a water source for the birds to drink and bathe. In my garden, I like to see plants and birds coming in, as well as other animals like butterflies and bees. Several plants produce flowers (such as roses and cactus), fruit trees at the time, and others. I would like to attach plants that attract more variety of birds, such as those insectivorous and granivorous. Birds have an interest in almost all plants (lesser in roses) and in the land, apparently in search of food. Some species often sing (mainly early morning) since the top of the trees, like Hose Finch, American Robin and Curve-billed Thrasher. Occasionally, some have nested, as swallows (Barn Swallow) at the high of a wall and in a flower pot (Inca Dove). The Spring and Summer are the best seasons to see nesting birds. But Autumn and Winter is better for migratory birds as Wilson's Warbler, Townsend's Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Just as I want to improve my garden to attract birds, so too do the green areas at my university.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      platelet
      I live on a lake in South Carolina. I have a stand of pine trees and then mature hardwoods nearer to the water. I enjoy watching the bald eagles across the lake as well as other birds all through out the year. I have a good variety of birds, rabbits, plenty of squirrels, opossum, deer, snakes, and occasional beaver. Although I do have some bees and butterflies from time to time I'd like to see more. Would like to plant more plants to attract the bees and butterflies.
    • Stacey
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      S E Wilson
      Hi All, I live in an urban yard in southern Ontario...part of what is called the GTA--or Greater Toronto area. I have been "naturescaping" our yard for many years...though I confess to having a few non-native, invasive plants (Amur Maple, White mulberry) that were planted long before I knew the problem they cause for biodiversity. I have been working at removing and replacing with native species everything from woodland understory plants to a pollinator patch in between my neighbours driveway and mine...this year I rebuilt my small garden pond and worked towards including native marginals and making it urban wildlife friendly --so they can get a drink and get out safely (sloped edge with mini steps). Though I have had nest boxes in my garden for may years-this year I had chickadees nest and successfully fledge their babies! They actually fledged yesterday:) I am hoping to continue to add native plants and look forward to seeing who else may visit the yard...
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      svalett
      Our 1-acre yard is primarily trees in the back and grass in the front. We love watching the birds and squirrels, the occasional deer, fox, raccoon, and opossum. We recently visited a native garden and now wish to replicate some of what we saw. We want to remove the invasive vines and plant shrubs and small trees, and some shade-loving plants in the back. In the front, we have been expanding the beds to reduce the grass. We are planting flowers and other plants that attract butterflies or moths and feed birds in the winter. We are hoping to switch over the lawn to some combination of native flowers or ground covers.
    • wendy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      barefootwendy
      i have a good sized yard, mostly bare of love.  there are 3 beautiful bountiful old growth lilac bushes, a mock orange, tree, lots of pine trees, and a few scattered unorganized plantings. there are always birds. several sparrow and finch varieties, juncos, warblers, mourning doves, blue jays, hummingbirds, starlings, vireos, sap suckers, flickers. there are plentiful bees, some squirrels, a raccoon or two, occasional skunks, bats, butterflies, slugs.  we are surrounded by farmed fields which spray pesticides :( i would love to attract corvids. i am in eastern canada and want to do most of the work myself. i am naive and untrained and a fits-and-starts type.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        Wendy, I love your candor, LOL, and saw myself.  Do it at your own pace, bit by bit over time...every native plant that gets added is a great thing!  Use your winters for learning!  I am in Nova Scotia on Cape Breton.
    • Summer
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Summtyme95
      I'm blessed to live on 6 acres in rural Michigan. There's a large blueberry marsh behind my house, and wild blackcaps and blackberries growing on the property. There are several native forbs that grow naturally in the woodland strip that surrounds our property. I have established one native flower bed in front of my house, one flower bed full of nursery plants and one that is mixed on the side of the house. However, our house was built in the 80's on an old farm field, and then was vacant for 2 years before we bought it. My plan is to harvest seeds from my established native flowers, propagate them, and get some in the cool season grassland that surrounds my house. We are also finally getting to replacing last of the windows along the back and getting the siding up, after which I get to design the backyard. I'm thinking of going with a mix of patio and deck and then want to add a water feature and more natives around it. While I'm fairly knowledgeable in both native plants and birds, I'm hoping to gain some insight on how to incorporate them better in my landscaping. I'm also working on removing the invasive Honeysuckle, Multiflora rose, Autumn Olive, and Buckthorn. I pull as much of the garlic mustard I can each year with the hope of at least slowing its spread and reducing its allelopathic effects.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        If you have a good site, stewarding a native area is (IMHO) more important than trying to create a partial artificial one.  Both are good, but areas that are intact are super important.
    • Kristie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      major88
      Currently I am collecting plants for creating our garden. Inspiration Tuscan style. The space is large enough to create several different outdoor garden rooms. I want to change the fact that currently I do not have a plan and each room is jumbled due to lack of garden plan. Current birds that visit include blue jays, crows, occasional hummingbirds, pigeons, and finches. Birds mostly focus attention along the grass areas and spruce trees and primarily forage for food or nesting material, rest, and preen.
    • alex
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      jade40
      An Almost Private Moment: This spring brings the third nesting of either House Swallows or Sparrows to an air vent in my 1920's upstairs apartment. As the chics have progressed they've become cheerfully and adamantly present through the wall with their cheeps for more food from the parent team. The parents do access the feeder, but I don't have yummy invertebrates to offer of course. It's a morning game to note who's up first the chics or myself. If I'm up first I do try to not wake them up.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        Do you have a deck or balcony?  Some people do wonders with container gardening of native plants.  Also, many conservation groups need volunteers and stewards of natural areas, as at this point, the invasive species problem is so big that natural areas don't stat that way without help!
    • Christopher
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      goldeagle Kroll
      I live in the Hampton roads area of Virginia. I'm currently going through the process of reorganizing my yard. Well organizing one of the goals is to remove as many invasive species as possible. And replace them with better plants. I'm going to the rule of it has to do more than just be pretty. The plants for replace in the yard get points for what they can do in the yard. Such as does it make a good screen/hedge. Does it make good nesting habitat. Is it a host plant for a butterfly or moth. What type of food does it provide for birds. And on and so forth. I know I will not complete it in a year. But I want to say is a nice long-term goal. In addition besides plants I do plan to include structures for birds and wildlife.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        It is a wonderful hobby, and not something that is done in a year.  My great grandmother said "it takes 5 years to build a garden."  With a native garden, give yourself 10, lol.
    • Marguerite
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Birdsonghouse
      I live north of Nashville and this spring we designated an area approximately 60'X90' on the downward slope of our property, as a "meadow"........I left whatever was going to grow, grow, without interference or cutting back and planted wildflower seeds, native wildflower bulbs inside the designated "meadow" area.  I have also planted butterfly bushes in the grassy area and near the area, we planted mulberry and redbud bare root trees.  Also nearby we planted white oak bare root trees.  All the trees and shrubs are growing!  I still do not have any wildflowers blooming!  My husband mowed a swirling path through the middle of what I hope will be the "wildflower meadow" (in a year or 2 or 3??) and I plan to place a small bench there to watch the birds and other pollinators.  I have placed a birdbath with solar sprinkler there, near where there is also a small bird feeder.  I seem to have lots of birds around my house all the time, even during the winter.  There were days in the early spring when the bird calling and bird songs were very, very loud - it seemed they had to compete with the noise of the neighborhood and raised their voices accordingly to be heard over the cars and lawn mowers!  We moved to this area a little over a year ago from a ranch located in the-middle-of-nowhere, New Mexico.  I can hardly believe how many birds are here in the Nashville area............I LOVE it here
      • Kathy
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        KSakamoto
        It sounds lovely!  Nice to have lots of birds to begin with.  Good luck with your meadow!
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        Be sure to recognize plants that can take over.  Especially check the "butterfly bush"...if it is Buddleia, as it can create a LOT of backbreaking work for you when you realize they want to rule the world.  There are many native species that will also be host to eggs and larvae, which this plant is not.
    • Jenifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      jsmolnik
      I have a beautiful dogwood tree in my front yard that attracts migrating birds in the fall. But, it also attracts lots of starlings who eat more than their share. I have several pines that border my property that are beautiful. Feeder birds use them as a landing to go to and from my bird feeders. I put in a split rail fence on one corner of my property and it provides a beautiful border where I have put in some liatris and lobelias and also some creeping phlox. I would like to continue to develop that area with more plants. I also have a wisteria plant (not sure if native) that drapes across the top of the fence. I put in several small winterberry plants I am hoping will be larger and a larger serviceberry which is gorgeous. I would like to replace the border in the back of my yard that has burning bushes -enormous ones- that I unfortunately inherited from previous owners. They form a great barrier to not see neighbors in the back yard, so I would like to replace with natives that will grow large as well as some flowering fruit trees. Any recommendations - I live in Connecticut - would be great. I started by purchasing two elderberry bushes, but this task is overwhelming and expensive, so I am starting small.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        Evergreens on the burning bush replacement.  Is Arborvitae native there?  On fruit trees, high bush blueberry, crab apple, and hawthorne.
    • Clarisse
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      ClarisseCespedes
      I want less concrete, less grass, and more native plants to create a small ecosystem in my yard. I have seen how birds are immediately attracted to any new native I bring home. It is like love at first sight. And pollinators favor natives as well. IMG_20210117_082656_523
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit
        LOL I know!  I try to grow natives from seed, and the wildlife are like, "oooh, CANDY!"  So we are building enclosures, which seems counter productive, but need the natives to be able to reproduce to restore habitat!
    • Stephanie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      stephlynn1022
      We recently moved in to our house in Southwestern NY (Orange County) this past August. Having never owned my own home before, my prior gardening experience is limited to container gardens on condo porches. This spring, I have created two new small garden beds and have tended to the large bed in the front of the house and the medium size beds that are next to our shed. I have, somewhat regretfully, supplemented the plants that were already there when we bought the house with other beautiful perennials that are not native.   We have plenty of space to do some nature-scapung, but the place I'd most like to start is an area where an above ground pool was taken down prior to us buying the house. It is about 12 feet in diameter, flat, and has a bed of solid sand. I hope to build this area up with fresh dirt, and plant plenty of flowers that are attractive to both birds and pollinators.
    • LAURA
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      cleozbirdz
      We live in NY (not far from Cornell) on about 3 acres. Most of it was just lawn when we bought the house 3 years ago. So far we have installed a native plant garden, a number of fruit trees, evergreen trees, and shrubs, a sunflower patch along our fence, two raised beds for vegetables, another raised bed for flowering bulb plants, and most recently (this year) a pollinator garden. One benefit to native plants that I didn't even realize when I planted them is the overall hardiness of the plants. NY has long, cold, winters, and some of the non-native plants (even if planted in a zone they technically tolerate) have struggled. All of the native plants have thrived. It makes gardening easier and cheaper (not having to buy replacement plants frequently). I am enjoying our bird visitors more and more, and I'm hoping to get a few tips on making our property even more bird-friendly.
    • Lyell
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      llsrvd
      Version 2
      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        llsrvd
        I wasn't sure how to include text about an image.  The image above is the goldenrod meadow I referred to in my earlier post.  The goldenrod is exuberant and seems to dominate other plants.  I am interested in adding a little more diversity to this area with plants that can hopefully coexist with the goldenrod.
      • Stacey
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        StaceyHeadey

        @Lyell I'm just wondering, do birds use/eat the Goldenrod?

      • Summer
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        Summtyme95

        @Stacey There are several birds that will eat the Goldenrod seeds (Goldfinch, Chickadees, some sparrows, et. al.). Goldenrod also attracts several insect species which makes them beneficial to insectivores.

      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        llsrvd

        @Stacey @Stacey apologies for the late reply.  I do occasionally see birds eating the goldenrod seed, but I would say the most activity I see on a plant in our habitat is goldfinches eating Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose).  This plant is a volunteer to the garden.  It is tall (around 4 feet), and often there will be 2-3 birds per stalk.  I was happy that the goldenrod was volunteering because they are supposed to be great hosts for many caterpillar species which are important food for baby birds.  However I don't often see caterpillars on the goldenrod.  Maybe the birds are getting them before I see them!

      • Sue
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        bonitasue

        @Lyell Purple Astor? Adds a pop

      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        llsrvd

        @Sue @Sue  Purple Aster with the goldenrod would be beautiful.  I had some Aster laevis (a beautiful purple color) in the meadow but it seemed very tasty to rabbits (I believe) and they are all gone now.

      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        marianwhit

        @Lyell Joe Pye, Tall White Aster, Pearly Everlastings, tall native grasses, wild roses, etc.  Think about early bloomers like raspberry, wild strawberry, and blue eyed grass in the spring.  A backdrop of one or both bays (Myrica sp.).

      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        llsrvd

        @MarianWhit Thank you @MarianWhit,  I do have some Joe Pie weed.  I do have to make sure I edit the goldenrod around them so they don't get overwhelmed by it.  The small patch is doing well this year.  I like the idea of a backdrop.  I have one blueberry in the back (out of the picture) that is doing well.  Also a Beach Plumb (Prunus maritima) on the right in the photo.  I have recently learned that Canada Goldenrod can be particularly vigorous and that thinning that species may help other plants thrive.  I will put all of your suggestions on a list to add!

    • Lyell
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      llsrvd
      We are located west of Boston, Massachusetts.  Over the years, I have added more and more native plants.  In the back yard, we removed an in-ground pool.  Despite ideas to plan a garden, nature took its course, and the area is now mostly filled with 5 species of volunteer goldenrod plants and a few asters.  I have added a few shrubs along the way.  Grape and Blackberry bushes have also volunteered.  This area is filled with many species of dragonflies, wasps and other insects in the summer and fall.  I have also gotten rid of most of the grass in the front yard after observing that I was sadly killing moths and caterpillars as I mowed.  One thing I am interested in exploring is adding some more diversity to the goldenrod area.  The goldenrod seems to be very robust and will take over everywhere if I do not edit them a bit around other plants like Monarda and Joe Pye Weed.
    • Janet
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      chops99
      I have a small area on the side of the house which the deck and the bedroom windows overlook.  The sounds of the birds create a natural alarm to wake up.  I have several feeders and a raised vegetable bed already on that side, I want to create a space for birds and pollinators using native plants.  Living on a east coast bay, I would like to provide for more migrants and take the opportunity to expand my neighborhood's use of native landscaping.  I am looking forward to sitting on my deck listening and watching.
    • Maura
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Mohegan84
      Our yard is a bit of a mess right now trying to establish wildflowers and a natural feel. My wife has objected to mowing in the past not wanting to disturb any wildflowers from getting established. We use about 400=500 sqauare feet for vegetable gardening. Our front yard we use as a birding garden with several bird feeders and a small bird bath. Although a nice ground cover has been established it  also could use a good weeding. My energy is a little dissapated by the aging process and I'm spending several hours a day establishing the vegetable garden. We have some hummingbird feeders but havent attracted many this year. My vision for the birding garden is to add a few nectar bearing flowers perhaps in containers to further attract hummers.
      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        llsrvd
        Depending on where you are, I can recommend Lobelia cardinals (Cardinal Flower) for hummingbirds.  I live in Massachusetts, and these flowers have attracted hummingbirds every year.  They like a moist sunny spot and in a good year can have foot long flower spikes filled with tube like red flowers for humming birds.
      • Alfred
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        alfredN
        Lonicera sempervirens work well also for hummingbirds. I have them and Cardinal flowers and wild bergamot (monarda). I live in NJ and the hummers use all three and saucer type feeders.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      VolvoSoccerMom
      I have a raised bed garden that is a mix of vegetables and flowers and a greenhouse.  We have a lot of bird activity at our backyard feeders and have had success with our solitary bee hotel.  I want to replace our grass front yard with a perrenial garden of native plants to attract more birds and butterflies.
      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        llsrvd
        I am in the process of replacing our front yard grass.  I have replaced at least 80 percent of the front yard so far.  To keep the soil life and structure intact, I used a technique called sheet mulching.  In the fall I laid down cardboard (from large boxes) on the grass and spread about 4-5 inches of much on top of it.  It has worked very well.  An occasional blade of grass will pop up through a crack but is easy to remove.  I am still trying to formulate  a plan for planting, but the native plants I already had in several islands are helping out by advancing into the mulched area:  Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge), Whorled Loosestrife (NOT the invasive plant), Anemone canadensis and blue-stemmed goldenrod (Solidago caesia)
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      supersunce
      My family and I enjoy our backyard immensely.  Our newly replaced deck was designed with our fruit trees and bird feeders in mind, and we now have year round views of the many birds that visit us and live in our yard.  My husband loves the lawn, but has been tolerant of my aversion to chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and to my encroachment with vegetable and native plant gardens.  Our yard abuts a wild area that separates our yard from a golf course, full of wild life, and not far from a small river.  Last year’s overwhelming gypsy moth caterpillar invasion was a challenge, but we are learning about the life cycle of these “new” neighbours and trying to learn how to protect our trees and our pollinators, as well as the birds that live with us.  Interestingly, my husband is frightened for our trees’ foliage;  and our 3.5 year old grand daughter was So Excited to share her swing set with nature that she ran to get me, and show me how the caterpillars were everywhere, even on the slide!  There is no accounting for a love of nature... I am really enjoying the Cornell Lab’s bird courses, and getting to know the birds in my yard better.  I look forward to learning more about attracting and supporting birds, butterflies, and other pollinators around us.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      aroseadkins
      We have numerous birdhouses and hummingbird feeders, but I want to add additional natural sources for food and shelter.
    • Cindy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      cetrueblood
      With our close friends who live in Switzerland, we built a small energy-efficient “second” home on the border of evergreen forest and meadow in the mountains above Ashland OR. It was mostly finished when we moved in late March 2020, to reduce our Covid-19 risk (we share our house in Oakland CA with an essential worker). We have lived here full time for over a year enjoying the birds, including dark-eyed junco, pine siskin, vesper sparrow, flicker, Stellar’s jay, Western bluebird, red tailed hawk, spotted towhee, green-tailed towhee, pileated woodpecker, red-breasted sapsucker, and mountain chickadee. To our great delight, last year we observed a pair sandhill crane raise two young and a pair of great gray owls raise three young. We have also regularly heard the Wilson’s snipe give it winnowing flight call as it flies above the meadow after dusk and in the early dawn. We want to add native plants that are good habitat for the birds, as we landscape the extensive slope below our flagstone patio. We are at 4600 ft. elevation, in planting zone 7, and need to plant species that are fire resistant because the danger of wildfire is substantial. The meadow has a diverse mix of grasses and wildflowers, which we hope will repopulate the disturbed soil of the slope below the house. That process has started, but we also want to add bushes and ground cover that will provide good habitat for birds. The meadow includes some serviceberry bushes and a few ponderosa pines, which the birds use and which provide us with great viewing opportunities. I created a small vegetable garden last year and will be expanding it this year. Last fall I planted seven blueberry bushes and this spring I planted three more. They are doing well so far, in spite of the snow and frost we had as recently as last week. The silverberry bushes and coffee berry bushes I planted last fall suffered quite a bit,  but survived the winter. Only two of the three Oregon grape plants survived. Our friends, who co-own the house with us, are finally able to join us here and will be arriving next week. So it is time for us to jointly make decisions on plants and get them planted. I look forward to learning from the course and from this group!
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      bnjrenz
      I currently have a blank slate to work with.   I want to use native plants to attract the most wildlife possible.  I plan on adding a vegetable garden, greenhouse, shed, sitting areas, trees, planting beds, rain garden.
    • Connie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      tharaa
      I just bought a small cottage in Mount Shasta, Ca.  The yard has been neglected for years.  Both sides of the yard have mature lilacs and there are some plantings and lawn, but I'm basically going to be starting from scratch.  I want to make my small yard into a place to relax and meditate and attract different bird species...So far, I've seen alot of jays and ravens but not alot of other species.
    • Paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Big Pauly
      My wife and I regularly see northern mockingbirds, ruby-throated hummingbirds, goldfinches, cardinals, bluebirds, and some not so common birds to our area (yellow bellied sapsucker, pileated woodpeckers). The flowers/tree we have in our yard are rose, Zagreb, black-eyed Susan, hydrangea,  and a mature Elm tree.
    • Yvette
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      yrosier
      I enjoy my large backyard space with a large oak tree, backing up to a horse farm.  I have made a butterfly garden. I’d like to learn what to plant to attract more Michigan  birds. I currently have feeders that attract gold finches, house finches, tufted titmouse, nuthatch, cardinal, red breasted grosbeak, red bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, as well as sparrows and grackles, a pair of mourning doves, baltimore Orioles and hummingbirds (I can’t identify which ones.). I’m hoping to learn how to attract indigo bunting and bluebirds.
    • Caroline
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      cpgraettinger
      we plan to reduce the mowing area of our outdoor space, incorporate more natives, and expand our backyard woods.  And we're trying to reduce eliminate if not eliminate some of the invasive species like multiflora rose, honeysuckle, and oriental bittersweet.
    • Monica
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      mmsf0315
      Almost 6 years ago, we moved to the outskirts of a metropolitan area.   What attracted us was not the house, but the property.   The house sits on a small mound above a flood plain dotted with groves of locust trees.      Woods were further back.    As we looked at the house, deer were foraging along the tree line.   We enjoy watching nature pass in the peaceful, tranquil surroundings.   We added a gravel patio w/ fire pit to compliment the overlooking deck, and have talked of adding a third sitting area beneath the apple trees.  (the views for each area are different.). The landscaping was overgrown.   But what to do with the yard?   I casually thought of adding some native plants, so I stopped by a local nursery specializing in natives grown from seeds collected locally.   I was hooked by the proprietor's passion.   I now have four beds with native plants and try to select species listed on the state's rare species list.   Watching the birds forage and butterflies flit among the plants is fascinating. Once, when I was outside, a bright orange bird flew by.   An oriole.   Jelly feeders have attracted more orioles with each passing year.   But that can't be healthy.   I have recently planted serviceberries for them and other birds.   Other additions included wild black cherry, hackberry, mulberry, hazelnuts, elderberries, and paw paws.
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      bhildebrant
      In my outdoor space I walk around at different times during the day and enjoy the various planting beds. I weed and mulch the beds. I grow various vegetables, flowers. and herbs in raised beds. During warm weather months, I sit and enjoy the area and listen to the birds. In colder months, I watch activity in feeders. I especially enjoy the different colors throughout the year. I hope to expand the planting beds and add more bird-friendly plantings.
    • Martin
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      mjroncetti
      Good day to all.  My back yard is a space where: 1.  I grow some fruits and vegetables for consumption in raised beds that I made in 2017; 2.  I grow bird/insect friendly (mostly) native plants; 3.  I have my Project Feeder Watch (PFW) site located; 4.  I have an approximate 50 gallon above ground three-season "pond" where I keep three goldfish and some aquatic plants.  I planned and placed my "pond" in the spring of 2019; and 5.  My wife, the family dog Blue and I enjoy the small, occasional summer's night fire. I live in Kingston, Ontario which is located on the north-east corner of Lake Ontario/mouth of the St. Lawrence River/Seaway. I do greatly enjoy my yard and continually make small landscaping changes/alterations in order to continue in making my yard more attractive to the natural world, be it birds, insects, (small) mammals and even people!
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