• Tricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      We have a fairly open 3 acres with some native pine trees, quaking aspen, cottonwood and some deciduous maple north of Colorado Springs Colorado, at 7400 feet.  There are pine cones and seeds, but we have very few bushes, flowering plants.  We are newly landscaping an area that was domesticated 13 years ago.  We have lots of finches, flickers, mountain bluebirds, juncos, red-winged blackbirds, pigeons, collared doves, and magpies.  In the summer we get a few hummingbirds, meadowlarks, hawks and an occasional eagle. I have 5 berms (mounds of dirt covered with rocks or groundcover) that will protect us from road construction in future years.  Trees also ring the house at a distance.  One berm is ready for a small water feature and has feeders. It needs a small tree and some bushes and ground cover.  It is about 30 feet from a small patio and grass area; and about 60 feet from a second story deck.  One berm has two small native bushes.  The others have no plants as yet.  We want to put in a raised bed of annuals and herbs and butterfly type bushes but I have no idea what grows well here or what would look good together and fill in over a few years. Our grasses are all native (no sparse in some places - no green lawns). We have 40 or so antelope that venture through daily or every other day.  They interact with the distant pines but tend to stay away from the house area.  We have a Sheltie who marks his territory via an electric/invisible type fence.
    • Jeanette
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We are in the northeast, 6b growing zone. We have 1/3 acre mostly grass, weeds and mud with mature trees and shrubs. Gray catbirds are seasonal in the forsythias. I started a hummingbird garden a couple years ago that has attracted hummimgbirds and butterflies. We grow hop vines to brew beer, and raised beds for vegetables as well as planters for annuals, tomatoes, herbs. We get a variety of common backyard birds, hawks, as well as migrating baltimore oriole and rose breasted grosbeak. Would like to make the overall landscaping more aesthetic with native plants to attract more birds and butterflies. I do contend with chipmunks, mice,deer and groundhogs. And have so far been able to keep the invasive Spotted Lanternflies to a minimum. Also concerned for puppy safe plants. Looking to learn where to start so I can have color and blooms for 3 seasons with native plants.
    • There are a couple elements of my yard that I really enjoy; the several older trees that provide a lot of shade in the summer, and the locations of the flower beds that allow me to see the flowering plants from the house. I want to change the variety of trees on my land.  All the ash and elm trees in my area have been wiped out by insects or disease.  As I replace the trees, I’ll use a more diverse group of native trees.  There are also several invasive flowers that I want to replace with natives. In the last 2 years I’ve taken pictures of 35 different birds at my house.  Now it’s far between new sightings.  Since I now know which birds are common, at least it is easy to spot something different.  There are still a few birds from our area Christmas Bird Count Common Checklist that could visit my house.  That’s one reason I signed up for Project Feeder Watch, it makes take time and look at the birds.
    • I live in the Treasure Valley area of Idaho, Nampa specifically.  We downsized from two acres with a TON of natural bird habitat in California to a new home that has, well a lawn and a sloped area behind the lawn up to the back fense.  Let the games begin.  My feeding stationsIMG-2093 are attracting a good amount of birds but there is no habitat for them to "hang" out so I feed them and they hang out in the established yards behind me. I need evergreens along the back fence to hide the behind neighbors, some terracing perhaps and plants and shrubs suitable for a small hillside. I am pretty much starting from scratch.  In winter our lawns go dormant.  Sorry for the messy picture, we just had a wind storm and my dogs agility equipment and bird feeding items went on a walk about.
    • Sandra
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I have a few different places that I would like to make more bird friendly. Our home in Chicago, Illinois has a small yard and I would love to remove as much grass as possible and put in native plants to attract birds. I have planted a garden but end up battling rabbits. I put up bird feeding station and made the sparrows really happy as well as mice! We have a home in Cedar River, Michigan was previously used to graze livestock and horses. It has about 5 acres cleared the the remaining 35 is wooded. There is a nice pond. The concern here is that I have a lot of non-native buckthorn and phragmites grass that have taken over the pasture area. I need to work to remove that in a non-chemical way if at all possible before I can start over. Deer and bear are problems here for any bird feeding station. In the future I would love to have a very large garden for food production and include berry and fruit trees. Our last location is in Watersmeet, Michigan. We have a home on a private lake and our 20 acres is adjacent to the Ottawa National Forests. It is mostly wooded. I have feeders on our porch near the house but bear have been a problem as well as birds hitting my kitchen window. I would like to plant more native flowers that are hopefully deer resistant. I would also love to learn more about gardening at the water's edge to improve nesting sites for aquatic birds. We have loons and I would love to make things as favorable for them as possible. As you can see, I have my work cut out for me!
    • We moved into our house on Hilton Head Island a year ago. We have a lagoon in the backyard and tall live oaks and pine trees. I have put out feeders and had some landscaping done to attract the birds. We have a long way to go to reach our goals of providing an oasis for the birds and wildlife. I have 4 feeding areas for the birds and they visit all day long. I would like to create a lusher garden full of plants that offer natural food to them as well as the option for feeding on seeds at the feeders. I do have issues with deer and raccoons as well as feral cats. Feeders are baffled and up high as well as camouflaged with branches to keep the occasional feral cats at bay. The deer eat everything so that is also a challenge. I plant something and the next day they are gone or pulled up out of the ground. I am taking this class to learn more about our native plants and to hopefully find ideas that will enrich the biodiversity but also discourage the “trouble makers.”
      • Sandra
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        I battle deer too and am looking at native plants to deter their grazing. We also have black bears. They have destroyed some feeders. The Michigan DNR wants feeders removed for at least 30 days after a bear visit which can certainly make feeding the birds a challenge. Best of luck on your bird gardening. I look forward to learning more from this course as well.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I live in Washington, DC.  We have a deep, sunny back yard with a pond at the back (lots of frogs and dragonflies).  There's a healthy rabbit population in the neighborhood so we bought a raised garden bed to grow herbs and lettuces. We recently started planting more native plants in our perennial beds such as bee balm, turtlehead and cone flowers.  I'd like to remove a lot of the Siberian iris which is non-native and has become somewhat invasive and add some shrubs or even small native trees to provide year-round cover and perches.  Weeds are a huge problem.  We use one corner of the back yard to grow annuals for cutting and I'd love ideas on what natives might be appropriate for that purpose.  We put seed out once or twice a day on our deck railing and also have a bird bath that attaches to the railing.  These attract a lot of birds brave enough to get close to the house such as sparrows, blue jays, cardinals, mourning doves and an occasional red-bellied woodpecker.  Carolina wrens often show up after the big guys have moved on.  Squirrels also show up on the railing for seeds and water.  We used to see a lot of chickadees and titmice and I'd like to try and attract them - don't know where they went!  The back lawn has almost no grass, but it greens up every spring and looks fine when it's mowed.  In the fall a purplish pink ground cover in the lawn attracts lots of honey bees.
    • Arleene
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      I just really enjoy being outside both in winter and summer whether it is in my yard or the big outdoor yard of nature. My back yard has many vegetable garden boxes which I love tending. I also have an evergreen, mountain ash, chokecherries and native roses, snowberries and silver willow bushes, a fire pit and flower pots. This is all packed in a medium sized city yard. I am happy with my back yard. I don't sit in the yard that often but enjoy working in puttering. My front yard has a dogwood and two evergreens but the rest is grass which I don't tend very well. A couple of years ago I made two garden boxes and filled them with native plants and seeds. I would like to grow more native plants in my front yard as the grass does not provide any diversity for wildlife. Merlins. Robins, House Wrens, migrating sparrows, Juncos, House Sparrows, Cedar Wax Wings, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Northern Flickers, Grackles and Crows are some of the birds I see in my yard along with mice, jackrabbits and squirrels. Generally I see them foraging for food and robins, sparrows and wrens will nest in my yard if there are not a lot of Merlins around that year. I feed the birds i the winter both seeds and suet. Birds and squirrels come for the fare. I would  like to bring more insects, butterflies, bees and birds into my yard by changing what I plant and grow providing a suitable habitat as many species are losing more and more of their habitat.
    • sara
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We bought a house in Lake Arrowhead, CA and live there half the week to be closer to nature. Our house is surrounded by huge conifers and black oaks, but unfortunately we lost 10 huge trees during a big storm, which also means fewer birds are visiting. We want to be mindful and intentional in what we plant to replace the trees, especially since it will take decades for anything to mature to what was lost. Not only with trees that we plant, but native shrubs and smaller trees as well. We also have a seasonal creek, and are curious to see how things evolve throughout the seasons. Right now we have a lot of Steller's Jays, Red-Winged blackbirds, Northern Flickers and occasionally Eurasion Collared Doves. We had hawks and falcons who would visit in the big trees before they fell, and are hoping they'll come visit us again.
    • Jeremy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We started converting our existing garden to Natives last year and any new gardens like this one has been Natives only. We have seen a huge increase in biodiversity in our yard. From birds to insects, reptiles and mammals. It has been fascinating to watch them all come in. We also have a very difficult task or removing many non-native invasive species in our yard that have created monocultures in are surrounding woodlands and lawn. Our dream is to recover our entire property and then slowly start removing the non-native invasives in the surrounding woodlands. We put this Native hellstrip in, in late spring/early summer of 2021. This year during our extreme heat and drought we witnessed a number of things we’d like to reassess this fall and winter. However, most of the plants thrived regardless of these factors. This picture is from this year about mid summer. 7285BEDC-B182-4221-A83E-51479D96D917
      • Tricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        Beautiful.  This is something I would like to get to in my yard.  Of course "seeing" ahead a couple of years is difficult. And learning the native species is challenging.  We also have wind at various times off the mountains... 30-40 mph !
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      My husband and I purchased our first home near Albany, NY early this past spring, on about 1.8 acres in a suburban area, with a lot of development in one direction and a nature preserve in the other. We decided to hold off on doing more than basic maintenance to the yard and property for our first year - partially out of necessity (the house itself was in relatively dire need of some love) and because we could tell the yard contained some mature garden that we knew nothing about from the previous owners, who lived here for the last 70 years and clearly cherished their outdoor space. The time we were able to spend outdoors has been occupied enjoying the front porch, and the feeder and bird bath I've put nearby, and having the occasional fire in the backyard. I mowed the grass areas (sporadically), and my husband waged war against the oriental bittersweet that had grown to horrific proportions and was threatening many mature trees on the property. I spent a lot of time on iNaturalist learning about what was already growing on the property, and unfortunately it appears that much of it is non-native, and worse, some is invasive. All is very overgrown. Our goals for next year are to establish a small vegetable / herb garden, and to begin the slow and gradual process of reclaiming or completely re-doing the gardening and landscaping on the rest of the property. There is a steep bank that leads down to a seasonal stream bordering one side of our yard, and another steep section in the back drops off to a small creek and marshy area. It's currently almost impossible to physically access either due to dense growth of bittersweet, invasive honeysuckle, buckthorn and some poison ivy, but I'd love to be able to clear a small space to sit and birdwatch in these areas. I read a bit about permaculture and decided to try starting from the areas nearest the house and work outward; this will also allow me to prioritize permanently removing the wisteria and English ivy that has decided to try and grow inside, as opposed to outside, the house. I'm hoping this course will help me learn how to incorporate native plants that will attract and provide for more birds, especially hummingbirds, and develop a long-term plan for the property that will be reasonable to maintain and supportive of the local ecosystem. I imagine I will be revisiting the course material MANY times over the coming decades!
    • Cathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have slowly increased the planting of natives around the house and am slowly expanding with annual flowers and perennials. I have loved seeing the increase in birds. Small puddles in areas I have laid a tarp to clear vegetation, have attracted even more birds for the water. I make sure to keep the puddles present.  I want to  make the backyard full of trees and flowers and other natives that not only attract birds, but make the space a natural and friendly environment for men too :)
    • 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.
    • 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.