• 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.
    • 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/ .
      • Tricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 8

        @jenifer Thanks so much for the websites.  They look great.  We are in Black Forest at 7300 feet in the front range so a good resource for me.

    • 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.