• 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
    • 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: 3
      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.