• 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.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I love to sit on my patio and enjoy morning coffee, meals throughout the day and drinks in the evening with friends!  We have many cardinals, robins and goldfinches in our yard.  I've always put annuals in the patio space for looks but am very intrigued to put native plants in instead to attract birds and butterflies!
    • Regina
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I began gardening in the PNW about 20 years ago. My MIL was a rose fanatic so I wanted that too. I have about 50 or so now. I also focused on just beauty without thinking about birds, bees, and wildlife. And yeah, it’s like park out there. But then I retired and started thinking about birds and how I could support more wildlife. I haven’t been focusing on natives AT ALL. So what I want to change is just that. I will identify the few natives that I have (a snowberry for sure) then try to figure out where I can put some others. I do have a lot of birds-chickadees, towees, wrens, woodpeckers including pileated, downy, and flicker. Robins, warblers, sparrows, junkos, and hummingbirds. I have recently started mulching with natural woody chips and I can already see birds preferring to hop around these beds and not so much just the feeder. Where you see the rock wall is where I lost a huge hemlock tree. It was a sad day when that came down as it displaced so many birds. I replaced it with a parrotia (not native) and the kousa dogwood. The native dogwood in the back is my neighbors and provides for some of what mine lacks. I would love to see more waxwings. B6E2BCC1-5E5C-4844-B09A-E68A723FA73E
    • I saw, on an Ebird photo, and orange slid over a branch. Like in this photo. And I learned, from this course, that water is more important than seeds, relatively. I installed 2 water baths, and 1-2-3, seed feeders. I saw, 6 American Goldfinches, all together, last week. And a male and female Cardinal, together, almost 5 times in the past week. This method, is more educated, than, say, putting a huge amount of seeds, and little/no water.IMG_1135IMG_1138 thx. bjorn k.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      We moved to Fort Collins, CO from Texas six months ago.  I have been taking a wait-and-see approach to the garden.  We have terraced beds on the north side of the house that will be a challenge, as half of the beds are in shade most or all of the day.  I'm hoping to identify native plants that will do well there.  One of the beds gets a lot of morning (and some afternoon) sun, and I plan to put a birdbath there with a solar fountain, surrounded by flowering plants to attached butterflies and (I hope) hummers.  I look forward to the challenge!
    • Kelly
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in a suburb northwest of Edmonton, AB, Canada.  My front yard faces North and  my bird feeder there brings in chickadees, nuthatches and downy, and pileated woodpeckers as well as the occasional flicker. My yard has no trees, but the neighbours’ trees which are tall spruce, ash and elm seem to bring the birds to the area.  I would love to remove our front lawn and replace it with mainly low maintenance evergreen species, complementary native plants and shrubs to provide cover, nesting habitat and natural sources of food.  My backyard, facing south, is where we spend all our time enjoying our deck, watching the birds at the feeders and bird baths and playing with the dogs.  We recently put in some raised vegetable beds at the back of the yard where I also have a small very productive Evans cherry tree, a couple grapevines growing along the chainlink fence and a couple haskap bushes that the birds eat all the berries off before I manage to harvest any.  The rest of the yard is lawn except for the entire east side along the fence which previously had a garden of perennials I had planted including a beautiful dropmore honeysuckle which attracted hummingbirds. Unfortunately, this farden has been overun by quack grass and so most of plants I put in have been strangled out.  Ideally, I would love to get rid of the quack grass ( without chemical intervention) and fill the garden with hardy native plant species including some trees for shade as well as food and cover for wildlife as I only have the cherry tree and a lilac bush with any height or density in the area. I would also love to see a variety of colours in the plants and flowers throughout the year. Because of the dog, I will need to maintain some lawn, but I am okay with reducing the amount we have. Overall, there is a lot of potential given the southern exposure and lack of trees right now and I would just love to increase the biodiversity in my yard.
    • Julie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I am taking out my lawn in the front yard inside my picket fence. I have two shade trees, very large: a flowering crabapple and a locust. I am in Denver, zone 5b.  I want a design that offers native bird and pollinator friendly plants in a more orchestrated design so that the birds who come have shelter, seed from the feeders, water and their own favorite plants and shrubs to hang out in. I want to be the neighborhood bird mom! It is an adventure I have been thinking about for awhile. The challenge will be the shade. I have high hopes that it will be just lovely in the end with patience.
    • JadeJean
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I am from the Texas Blackland Prairie Region. I have never personally grown a garden, but I have grown a mixed woods/forest on my acreage, which used to be ag land. I have spent special care and time into the trees and fixing the pH of my large pond, now nestled within the wooded area, with native species (plant life and wildlife) to facilitate the healthy production of oxygen and natural pond bacteria back into it, in the hopes that migrating Anseriformes, Galliformes, et cetera, will have a safe haven when stopping by. Of course, I will be looking into similar effects of native fish on water health. I have always had personal gardening in the back of my mind, but with the amount of pole-driving and other maintenance required on the land, as well as our rescues, that has been put aside. I am currently working heavily with my local Wetland Center and have finally decided to make that push back to studying what will be the most beneficial for myself, plant life, insect life, bird life, et cetera, which is all in turn cyclical in the grand scheme of a native ecosystem. The wetland ecology is very new to me with the vast biodiversity present. I have even made a point to work with the Center and a former university of mine to reintroduce Bobwhite Quail in the vast secession of open lands in that region still. Even though not passerines, our quail are a great sign of a healthy ecosystem as well, and so I hope to achieve multiple ecological benefits via working with native plants with my own gardening, the Wetland Center's gardening, and even the native ecosystem of the wetlands itself. Our local nesting pair of Bald Eagles would be very happy to have a new plentiful source of food for their young, as well as our Northern Crested Caracaras, Northern Harriers, the huge number of Turkey Vultures recently rereleased into the wetlands, our rare-for-Texas Barn Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, et cetera, as well as ultimately a great return of a very important species back into our natural ecosystem. P.S. This is why I am always looking for any new courses that pop up relating to Galliformes like the New World Quail. :D Here is a photo, March 19, 2022, of the nesting Bald Eagles, JBS 16 and JBS 17, finally popping up, still not fledging, but almost! They hatched in February of 2022. 276219421_5589917484358407_5109640837545100524_n
    • Sabina
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I love working, relaxing and hanging out with my dogs in the yard. My yard is a bit on the ‘wild side’ . It includes a large redwood and an oak tree, and fruit trees (orange, lemon, apple, pear and fig). There are also several different shrubs: salvia varietals, wild currant, abutylon, blackberry and blueberry. A few rose bushes and hydrangeas complete the landscape. Insects are welcome, including spiders. Several birds are already visiting: California Towhees, juncos, sparrows, scrub jays, hummingbirds, chickadees, and a nuthatch. Occasionally I get warblers, spotted towhees, and a horde of bushtits using my birdbath. I would like to increase diversity in my yard getting rid of some decorative plants that have become invasive and replace with California native flowering perennials or annuals. I am in Oakland, hardiness zone 10b and my soil has a large amount of clay. Summers are dry and have become dryer and dryer in the past 15 years.
    • Becky
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      We live in middle Georgia, and have been here almost 4 years. We recently worked with a local horticulturist to naturescape our front yard with native plants to help attract bees, hummingbirds, birds and butterflies. It's definitely a work in progress! We had a path made in the backyard so we could put in some planting beds. I have been slowly researching native plants that will be beneficial to all of our wildlife (squirrels, rabbits, small ground squirrels) and birds, in addition to the bees and butterflies. To be honest, it's a bit overwhelming! But I love planning it out and am hopeful this course will help me figure out good ways to naturescape our yard to be welcoming to everything. The one struggle I have here is the soil...it is heavy, red clay and is incredibly hard to work with (i.e. digging and moving) so I am trying to plan things in stages so I don't get discouraged and can work with the small yard we have to make it a special space.
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in the mountains at an elevation of around 7,000 feet.  There is snow on the ground nearly half the year.  Our home is saturated on 5 1/2 acres which is heavily forested.  I feed the birds year round using feeders and attract many birds..nuthatches, pine silken, chickadees, stellar jays, woodpeckers, flickers, juncos, grosbeaks and occasionally hummingbirds.   I would like to provide them with more naturally grown food as well as attract butterflies and pollinators.  This summer I hope to establish a prairie like garden in my backyard.  In the front and sides of our home I would like to establish some low growing shrubs and trees as well as create a water feature.  I would love to observe some nests and to date have been unable to do this.  Also if I could attract owls to my property it would be a dream come true.  We are visited by bears, deer and coyotes. Oh, I left out that I would love to also attract mountain bluebirds.
    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in Gloucester, MA,  in a house my grandparents moved into in the early 1900’s.  We are at the edge of the woods in an area where granite was once quarried.    There are good places to swim and huge piles of scrap granite in the middle of the trees and bushes.  We see deer, fox, raccoons, and lots of squirrels as well as occasional fisher cats.  There are plenty of birds in the trees and at the feeders - mostly chickadees, blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves, sparrows, juncos, and nuthatches.  I plan to add some perennials to the yard and would love to learn about what I can plant which would support and encourage the birds and butterflies and survive the deer and other creatures.  
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I live in Southern New Jersey in a suburban area. We have 0.5 acre with multiple levels and areas of our yard. Have lots of bird feeders. Want to plant native plants and perennials to support birds and other critters.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in western Missouri and attract birds to my yard through bird feeders.  Kansas City has neighborhoods that resemble suburbs but are within the urban environment.  We don't abut any large tracts of trees or nature areas so I want to start planting to attract more birds by providing a more natural habitat for them and for us.  We have dogs so the area will have to have space for them to run.  Right now I have three elevated beds where I plant herbs and flowers for butterflies but the rest of the yard is sparse and needs some loving care.
    • Rose
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      We have a large yard with a woodland bordering a pasture (not ours). We have several mature trees and this habitat is frequented by cardinals, tufted titmice, chickadees, nuthatches and several varieties of woodpeckers. I love the trees, but having so much shifting shade and deep shade limits the perennials and shrubs I can grow successfully. I’d love to have more color but am not sure what would grow. We are zone 7-8 in upstate SC.
    • Liz
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I live north of Boston,  about 1/4 mile inland from the ocean;  I am fortunate enough to have the view of the neighbor's lovely pond which hosts great egrets,  grey herons, red-wing blackbirds, mallard ducks, and an occasional cormorant or green heron. I also have a large lawn,  pine trees and several flower gardens abutting the pond.  Although I have tried over the years to plant these gardens with native perennials, these don't always result in new birds although they do attract bees and butterflies.  I would like to find plants that attract  a wider variety of birds;  in winter the bird feeder and garden are populated by blue jays, juncos, purple finches, nuthatches,  chickadees, cardinals, mourning doves, goldfinches (in their early spring plumage)but summer visitors are not as varied,  with Carolina wrens,  redwing blackbirds and various raptors passing through.  It could be that the native plants need to be repositioned to better attract the attention of birds, or I need to plant more.  I look forward to learning what and how in this course.
    • Kate
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I live in Maine have been slowly phasing out the invasive/non-native plants that were put in by the previous owner of our house.  There are some areas that are very sparsely planted with non-native shrubs that I am looking to replace with native plants that will provide more shelter and berries/fruit.  During the summer I have a flower and vegetable garden, but would like to focus more on choosing plants that will attract more birds and beneficial insects.  Though I already see quite a variety of birds visiting our yard, I am curious to see how changes to the garden and landscaping might impact that.
      • Val
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        Hi Kate! We also live in Maine, in the very southeast region. What part of Maine are you from? We would love to chat about plant ideas and such! :) – Cam and Val
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We live outside of Boston on about 3 acres. I put up feeders with suet, hulled sunflower hearts, and thistle seed and have flocks of goldfinches and  juncos; smaller numbers of house finches, white throated sparrows, house wrens, nuthatches, chickadees, mourning doves, downy/hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers, occasional bluejays and cardinals, robins and 3 nesting pairs of bluebirds. We used to get Evening Grosbeaks but haven't seen them in years. Very rarely see a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. I have a large perennial garden that draws Ruby Throated Hummingbirds in the spring (seem to love Coral Bells). The lawn is rimmed with maple trees and white pine and there are a number of apple trees. My biggest problem are several very happy families of woodchucks that LOVE echinacea, sunflowers,  and asters, so I haven't been able to plant those for the birds and butterflies. Any suggestions about managing them (or working around them) would be greatly appreciated. Many efforts over the years to reduce their numbers haven't been very successful!
    • Pamela
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I live in southeastern Pennsylvania in a mixed rural/residential landscape. I am keenly aware that development has encroached on habitats for many creatures and birds. When we moved into the house, I was delighted with the large flower garden created by the former owner. But after observing the birds, and particularly the hummingbirds, I have started removing the hybrid cultivars planted by the former owner and am phasing in native plants. The change is remarkable - I now have butterflies I have never seen before, and the hummingbirds return every spring!  This winter goldfinches and juncos are feasting on the rudbeckia seeds! So, it is well worth going the whole way to plant all natives.  We have dozens of mature white pines, and some deciduous trees - but we need some understory plants and bushes.  The goal is to add some bird houses - and have plants that the deer won't devour!
    • Chelsey
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in the dense, urban part of Seattle, and for a year I have lived in an apartment with a small balcony that is North facing, but with a good bit of access to Western light as well. There are two very large trees in the alley next to the balcony that have a lot of wildlife, especially for being in the middle of the city! I often see sitting in the tree: hawks, bushtits, dark-eyed juncos, robins, multiple types of woodpeckers, crows, stellars jays, and the most common: Anna's hummingbirds. Also as a squirrel that lives there and for a few weeks a racoon sleeping in squirrel's nest during the day. I love having this habitat right outside my window and I want to learn how to complement it with the limited space on my balcony. I think my options will be limited given the North orientation, but I am excited to give it a try!
    • Jackie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      We have lived in the St. Croix Valley of Minnesota on about 2 acres with almost 100 red pines situated around our house for almost 30 years.  We have created a beautiful garden space that many birds come to, nest and breed during the spring, summer and fall.  We also feed them year-round.  We have been birdwatchers for many years but I am now formalizing this process for myself as I am on the cusp of retirement.  I'm hoping to increase my learning of what to add to this garden to improve the bird/insect attraction and build an additional wildflower garden space in an area where we had to take down some diseased pines last year.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      We live in southeastern Michigan and are fortunate to have a park and golf course nearby, providing green space in an otherwise heavy residential area. We have a large lawn area that I hope to gradually change to have more native plants and trees. Our backyard is part woods, and when we sit outside in the evening we can see and hear all kinds of activity, including owls and doves.  I am hoping to attract a wider variety of birds into my yard- a bird sanctuary of sorts.
      • Pat
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        I live in central Illinois and am surrounded by corn and soy bean fields. I want to provide food, water and habitat for all birds and animals on my 2:2 acres.  I would like to have both cultivated and natural spaces and significantly reduce the amount of lawn. I am concerned, however, about attracting wildlife and pollinators because of the spraying done on the farm fields. I essentially have a blank canvas.   There are a few trees white pines, soft maples, a cottonwood and a red bud plus a few I don’t know.  There are also a few bushes, forsythia, lilac, elderberry, tiger eye sumac, viburnum, holly, yew, and a few I don’t know.  Am looking forward to gaining knowledge and resources to create a natural habitat.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We live on a residential street in Los Angeles and will build a “granny flat” in our small backyard for my parents.  This means our green space will be reduced to a small patio space (for us) and an L-shaped narrow corridor for my parents.  We will have a common area in our driveway and have a thin green perimeter of tenuifolium pittosporum (had to look that up) that Black phoebe and maybe some finches seem to like.  A phone line is a favorite spot of some doves, but not sure what type (we have experienced the absence of mourning doves, when we used to hear them all the time). I want to make sure we design our green space to maximize hospitality to our local birds.  I like working in my front yard to tidy it up, but haven’t given a lot of attention to actually gardening.  I am new to birdwatching (pandemic-related) and so all of this is quite new, and I admit a little exciting, to me.
    • Madalyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I live in a house we recently bought in Northern New Jersey.  We like to read, eat, and watch birds in our yard.  Right now it's a lot of grass and, thankfully, many old (and healthy) trees.  We have everything from hemlocks to a Maple to a holly tree.  I'd like to eliminate a lot of our grass with colorful native grass, and turn the leftover grass into a clover lawn.  I'd also like it to feel more fairytale/magical-like in general.  The folks who lived her before us had it highly landscaped- bushes cut into shapes- the whole nine yards. As for current birds, we have five feeders and have managed to attract, house sparrows, white-throated sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, bluejays, house finches, white and red-breasted nuthatches, black-capped chickadees, cardinals, robins, and both American and fish crows.  Also, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, and yellow-bellied sapsuckers.  The smaller birds definitely love hiding in our bushes, so putting in a lot more different kind of ground cover makes sense. During spring migration we got a few warblers- I'd love to get many more.
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in Lebanon, NH and have noticed over the past 3 years a decline in the number of birds and bird species. If there's gardening to be done that will help the birds, I'd like to try to help them.
    • Christina
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We moved to a new house this past summer.  My backyard is wide but not as deep and almost a blank slate.  We do have 2 mature trees              (a sycamore and pin oak) and an area the previous owners used as a vegetable garden.  I have a suet feeder and block feeder up to supplement the black oil sunflower seeds.  I do get downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, house finches, house sparrows, and a few cardinals.  I see juncos in the winter.  I think part of the problem for the birds is they have no place to hide from predators except in the trees.  In the winter, the bare trees don't offer much protection.  I also have very little gardening experience.  In our last house, we had the landscaping all done professionally.  I am not opposed to this, but would like to try to do some planting/designing on my own.  My front yard is also pretty bare, minus 2 ash and 1 maple. A garden with colorful native plants and shrubs would be nice.   I would like to attract butterflies and plan on adding a bird bath too.  I do know it will take time for the plants to grow.   Any suggestions would be appreciated.   I'm in Zone 5b.  I know there's a lot to unpack here.  
    • Jocelynn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We just rented a home in San Luis Obispo, CA. Despite an under-abundance of funds and the fact that our home is rental, I just have to do this for the neighborhood! This yard has so much more to give. Plus we've been given free reign over the yard. We love to be outside; coffee, sunbathing, birdwatching. But there are virtually no birds in my yard. As a bird biologist and birder, this is a source of daily melancholy. My yard is dominated by thick grasses (non-native? Seems like quack grass), Bermuda buttercup, petty spurge, musk stork's bill. We have a Taiwan firethorn that a mockingbird sampled once, a lemon tree, and a stately Chinese elm. Nothing native as far as I can tell. What we do like is the size of the property, the 10x10 raised garden bed, the angles of light (plentiful!), and that it is essentially a blank canvas. We also think the elm is nice, but could use some companion veg to make it an appealing perch.
    • Nina J
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      One of my favorite birds is the Eastern bluebird. This tagged male is back again for the fifth season. His first mate was also tagged but she did not return last March 2021. He has a new mate :) To date, I have identified 46 species but know that I could attract more birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects with a thoughtfully planned out "naturescape." IMG_5478
    • Gail
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      We live in Wilton, New Hampshire and have 5 acres of forest and gardens.  We abut several hundred acres of conserved mixed forest and fields which adds to the habitat quality of our property.  This is our third home and we are long time birders and conservation activists so have always focused on improving our properties to optimize habitat for birds and wildlife.  Our last home was Certified Habitat for Wildlife by National Wildlife Federation.  When we moved into our home in Wilton, we had to uncover gardens and prune old apple trees.  We also cut some trees and shrubs to make pollinator gardens.  I raked and then dug into the soil to open it up an area for seeding native wildflowers.  Goldenrod and asters germinated and added to the Purple Coneflowers, daisies, clovers, phlox,lupine, and other wildflowers.  We created  a small pool which is enjoyed by the birds, frogs, and even an American toad which laid eggs in it and we had toad tadpoles.  Wood and brush piles are scattered around our forest and we added native shrubs/vines that offer fruit like dogwoods, virginia creeper, serviceberry, raspberries and high-bush cranberries.  At last count, we have had 110 birds migrate, breed, visit or live on our property over the past 7 years.
      • Ted
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        You are my aspirational role model!
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We live on 1.3 acres of land above a bird preserve called Potter Marsh in Anchorage, Alaska.  I have fenced, raised gardens for moose free vegetables, and some flowers beds that are generally buffets for the local feral rabbit population.  A large portion of the front is in lawn.  Although I have seen an increase in the numbers of bees since I started throwing clover seed out every spring, it is still pretty sterile from a native plant standpoint.  I am hoping to build native plant islands to encourage more butterflies and birds to spend time in the yard.  We can only have bird feeders out for the winter since we need to be mindful of the bears visiting, so finding plants that the birds will enjoy is going to be a fun project.
    • Pat
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I live on a hill.  At the top of the hill, about 50 ft from my windows are my birdfeeders, water, and native grasses.  Down the hill a way, is my cultivated raised garden for veggies and cutting flowers, native perennials and a pollinator garden.  Beyond that is a grass field and pine/deciduious forest.  I get common birds (morning doves, sparrows, finches, cardinals) flying in for the birdfeeders but rarely see them in my gardens.  Question:  Are they just taking the easy way to get food?  Is this not helpful for them?  Should I not have feeders when I have so much natural diversity?
    • Ann
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We live in western Massachusetts high on a hill that we fondly refer to as hawk knoll. Yes, lots of hawks soaring overhead We have an overgrown garden that is challenging as it is shaded off and on during the day. I would like to replant it with mostly large perennials and shrubs. I am hoping to learn more about bird attracting bushes for my planting zone from this course. We have many redtail hawk, owls, some piliated woodpeckers, indigo buntings, Northern flickers and many gold finches to name a few of our visitors. I am a novice in bird observations. I am sure we have many other species. Now in January we have few feathered friends. But come spring the yard will be teeming. I watch mostly from my sun porch office with windows on three sides. In some ways this is ideal as I don't frighten the birds away and I can observe them. Some of the mating dances are quite entertaining.  
    • Tally
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      My husband and I purchased 5.5 acres in 2020. In 2021 we planted 12 fruit trees, 25 chokecherry saplings (from our state forestry service) and numerous perennials. It's been amazing to see the number of pollinators that have visited this first year. I'm hoping to plant more native trees and shrubs in the coming years to provide both food and shelter for the birds. While I fill many feeders, I want to be able to plant a natural buffet for the birds as well.
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      My husband and I just moved from a large city to his family's ranch in Northeast Texas after both of us retired.  The ranch has forests, hay pastures and water sources.  Our home is on 1.8 acres with mostly oak and pine trees.  We have one flower bed in the front of the house.  We have been birders for many years and are very excited about improving what is already a good habitat for birds.  We have documented over 120 species of birds on the ranch and are currently enjoying our wintering sparrows, Brown Thrashers and Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets among others.  During recent colder weather, I started putting out Sunflower seeds as supplement for the birds. My husband gave me this course as a Christmas present and we are anxious to see what we can do to improve our space for the birds and ourselves.  Supporting our year-round resident birds, in addition to the migrants, Summer nesters and Winter residents is an important goal for us as we plan our retirement activities in this beautiful place.
    • Greg
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Native plantings and how flowers evolve through the seasons: May-daffodils; June-geraniums, shasta daisies; July-daylilies, coral bells, coneflowers. Would like to attract more berry-feeding birds and discourage feeding on blueberries.
    • Carolyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      8E056B8B-DD91-4ABA-91A3-696A69AAD911 We have a small property in Eastern PA.   Whether I realized it or not, it was the landscaping that sold me on the home when we bought it.  However, I had no experience in gardening - just a love of beautiful flowers and birds inherited from my mom and the beautiful Central VA area when I grew up.  Over the years I’ve grown to appreciate the value of natives and less lawn.  All the stories here are so inspiring!!  We added a small pond to our backyard a couple of years ago and the birds are over the moon with it.  Love the little frogs that call it home too.
    • Brian and Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We live on Bogue Banks in NC. We are working on our native plant gardening in Maritime Forest which is low light and sand. We have pots for herbs and raised bed for other food plantings. Our biggest challenge is using the outdoor space. In our area mosquitoes are present and very active 24 hours a day and about 9 months of the year. Not wanting to cover ourselves in DEET just to sit or work outside we miss a lot of the enjoyment of our yard space. Wanting to protect our bee population and insect feeding species, we do not spray our yard to control the mosquitoes. Are there any suggestions for natural mosquito controls for a mosquito challenged area like ours? Thanks and Happy Planting!
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I live in Laramie, Wyoming - elevation 7220, zone 4 if we're lucky.  We just moved into town from a prairie setting that had wonderful native birds (mountain bluebirds, goldfinches, 3 hummingbird species, tree swallows..).  We are starting from scratch with a front and back yard that are mostly grass, and that we are excited to convert to pollinator and bird habitat.  Audubon Rockies has a habitat hero program, which has good information for this area.  Our bird feeders and bird baths are attractants for a lot of invasive bird species (Eurasian collard doves, English (aka house) sparrows, starlings), so we have realized we need to focus on habitat and food sources for the native bird species.  We have mountain chickadees, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, flickers, and downy woodpeckers regularly visiting.  Any/all suggestions and ideas are welcome!
      • jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        I am in Denver, and have found Audubon Cheyenne (WY) to have especially useful info and events (online recently, but maybe also in person in future).  (In case you are not familiar with this resource:)  If you ever drive towards Denver (but not as far south and definitely not in the urban traffic!), consider visiting High Plains Env'l Center.  It's a non-profit where we can see lots of native plants that grow with very little or no water beyond precipitation.  May not represent your zone optimally, but...  And they sell native plants that they grow themselves.  My experience with these plants is that they thrive in my yard, which has no soil amendments, little irrigation, and suburban.  https://high-plains-environmental-center.square.site/ and https://suburbitat.org/ .
    • Marilyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      23B49A11-4ED0-48D7-9318-17CE4E9F951AI live near Georgian Bay in Ontario Canada. We have large gardens and lots of birds. I want to plant more native species that support bug and bird life. This will likely mean swapping out some of our plantings.
    • Tamar
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in northern Virginia and have a busy bird feeder: chickadees, downy woodpeckers, tufted titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, bluebirds, a few goldfinch...  And I'm the proud host of two groups of baby bluebird hatchlings for the first time this summer.  I love throwing clover seed into my lawn.  Most of my favorite plantings get gobbled by deer, and we have some actively-munching caterpillar varieties, too.  On one side, there's a fairly busy road, so I want to plant some more plants to reduce the noise from the road and create 'quieter' areas for visiting birds.
    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in central Alabama, with wooded/forest on 2 1/2  sides of my back yard. I enjoy watching birds coming to my feeders.  Each year I see more and more.  The cardinals have homes nearby in the forest--sometimes I'll see as many as 12 (6 male/6 female). My favorite is the Carolina Wren.  Also have frequent visits from Tufted Titmouse, Chickadee, and Mourning Dove.  I want to grow natives that cater to the needs of birds and pollinators and use feeders more as a supplement for them. I have also created raised beds and hope to grow fruits and vegetables for myself and neighbors--see if we can co-exist.
    • Christi-June
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      We just bought our property in October and we are lucky to have a Native Plant Identification group. Since our land was "properly landscaped" to sell, it seems there are mostly invasive plants (including 2 trees) and almost all nonnatives. We have a large front yard and sizeable backyard, a long driveway with land behind it that is a new mound septic system that we would like to turn into a wildflower meadow. We also live next to and across from a wooded area. I would like the front yard to have some sitting spaces for birding and nature journaling. I would like to have some paths and  garden areas sectioned off for plants and wildflowers. We get robins, woodpeckers dark-eyed juncos, white throated sparrows, some cardinals and starlings. I would like to attract hummingbirds, tufted titmouse, chickadees and cedar waxwings. I would like to see a greater variety of birds. The previous owners left a birdbath which I believe brings up water from underground but I am unsure how it works.  They also left a pond kit which is not installed and am hoping to install it this spring. We have a window bird feeder but our birds are more interested in seeds I throw on the ground. I have a couple of other feeders I have yet to put out, I need a place to hang them.
    • Daniel
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      We have a couple of acres of land in Kentucky that we are trying to increase overall biodiversity on.  Some is fairly mature deciduous forest like in the picture (taken from my hammock), but much was just grassy yard.  We are trying to plant native plants and replace much of the grass.  I have already planted over 90 small trees and many shrubby plants as well.  We are a little limited in the front yard due to our ground mounted solar array.  We have several bird feeders and a river/lake at the bottom of the property.  We have a good beginning but look forward to more natives in the future!664A107E-F89D-409A-9FA2-B03718CBD42B
    • Michael
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in central Virginia in the downtown area of a smaller university town. I have been on a "grass elimination" project for most of the last 18 years that I have lived here. I am blessed with an enormous oak tree that rules over the property and am now down to a tiny patch of grass, which will soon be gone. I was alerted to the importance of native plants a number of  years back, but without any training I have been "winging it" reading and talking with various individuals more knowledgeable than I, all extremely well meaning, but some, like myself, not always fully informed. I finally got more deeply involved after taking a "Master Naturalist" class. This increased my understanding of both where and how to find accurate information as well as where to purchase the proper plants. I just recently began working with a local landscape architect who is quite knowledgeable (as well as kind and patient) to continue to transform the property into one hospitable to people, plant and animal life. One final note: it was suggested that I take down an Eastern Red Cedar tree on the property to permit more sunlight to penetrate the area beneath it. I said I couldn't do it, but agreed to "limb up" the tree for more light. A few days later I was sitting out in the garden reading when I suddenly noticed an enormous number of robins converge on the tree gorging on the beautiful berries. Just spectacular and all the encouragement needed to keep me learning and doing! I'm even thinking of adding a water feature (as opposed to a bath) which I have long avoided as too much maintenance. Thanks to all for your stories!
    • Ana
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      In my outdoor space, I garden for food, & take walks. I do some bird watching... I try to identify plants & animals that catch my attention. I want to reduce the amount of invasive plants and increase the native plants. I want more flowers & more trees that support wildlife. I want to create habitat and beauty at the same time.
    • Arjun
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      WhatsApp Image 2021-09-24 at 12.33.56 PM I just love birds when they come to visit our garden and have a sip of water.Currently we have three nests each made by different species of birds: i)Scaly breasted Munia ii)little Spiderhunter iii)Common Tailor bird . I am very happy that our garden turned out to be great for our little feathered friends .
    • Margo
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      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: 10
      Front yard
    • Peggy
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      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
      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
        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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
        It already looks very beautiful and has a lot of potential!
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      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: 10
        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
      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
      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
      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
        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
      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
      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: 10
        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
      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
        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.
      • Margo
        Participant
        Chirps: 2

        @Jenifer We had a yellow billed cuckoo in our yard once, also a western tanager but never the scarlet one. That was on our farmyard in Alberta.  

    • MarianWhit
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      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
        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!
      • Mika
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        Oh, I would love to learn how you manage to control the coltsfoot. It blew into my yard from somewhere and boy, what a nightmare. I thought garlic mustard, buckthorn, thistles & bishops weed were bad, but coltsfoot is a whole new level. Any tips would be much appreciated! And your garden looks fabulous!
    • Sue
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      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
      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
        Your yard sounds like heaven to me
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        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

        @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: 10
        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
      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
        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

        @Jenifer Good to know about the size of the holes

      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16

        @Jenifer Excellent points!

      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        If you have room, more trees and shrubs!
    • Armando
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      • 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
        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
        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

        @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.

    • 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
        agree on the squirrels.
    • Raj
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      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
        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
      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.
      • Those are great ideas, and your lawn looks great! Keep up the ideas!
      • Jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 18

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

      • Carol
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        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.
      • Daniel
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        The Audubon society has a list of plants, by region, that are native and will attract insects (bird food) and birds.
    • Kathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      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
        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
      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
      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.
    • 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
      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
      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
      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
        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.
      • Margo
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        We are retired and rent out our farmland, but still live on our farm in Alberta.  We are surrounded by grain fields which are sprayed several times a year.  That is a big concern for us.  At least we keep our yard (about 8 acres) pesticide free.
    • Summer
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      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
        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
      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
      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
        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
      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
        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
      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
        It sounds lovely!  Nice to have lots of birds to begin with.  Good luck with your meadow!
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        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
      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
        Evergreens on the burning bush replacement.  Is Arborvitae native there?  On fruit trees, high bush blueberry, crab apple, and hawthorne.
    • Clarisse
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      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
        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
      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
      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
      Version 2
      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        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

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

      • Summer
        Participant
        Chirps: 2

        @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

        @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

        @Lyell Purple Astor? Adds a pop

      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8

        @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

        @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

        @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
      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
      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
      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
        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.
      • 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
      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
        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
      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
      We have numerous birdhouses and hummingbird feeders, but I want to add additional natural sources for food and shelter.
    • Cindy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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
      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: 6
      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!