• 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.
      • Tricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        Gardening at elevation is a challenge!  Lots to learn.  I just put up a mountain bluebird house today with my grandsons.  It is in the field, facing somewhat east, about 50 feet from two  pines for the future fledglings to land on.  It is on a pole about 6 feet in the air.  I have seen a few bluebirds in the summer at the feeder or in the yard.  Hoping one of them likes the box!  We have little shade on the house and have added some deciduous trees in the hopes they will grow and do well.
    • 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: 5
      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!
    • 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.