• 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.

    • Via
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      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.
      • Via
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Those are great ideas, and your lawn looks great! Keep up the ideas!
      • Jenifer
        Participant
        Chirps: 18

        @Via 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.
    • I live on a lake in South Carolina. I have a stand of pine trees and then mature hardwoods nearer to the water. I enjoy watching the bald eagles across the lake as well as other birds all through out the year. I have a good variety of birds, rabbits, plenty of squirrels, opossum, deer, snakes, and occasional beaver. Although I do have some bees and butterflies from time to time I'd like to see more. Would like to plant more plants to attract the bees and butterflies.
    • Stacey
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Hi All, I live in an urban yard in southern Ontario...part of what is called the GTA--or Greater Toronto area. I have been "naturescaping" our yard for many years...though I confess to having a few non-native, invasive plants (Amur Maple, White mulberry) that were planted long before I knew the problem they cause for biodiversity. I have been working at removing and replacing with native species everything from woodland understory plants to a pollinator patch in between my neighbours driveway and mine...this year I rebuilt my small garden pond and worked towards including native marginals and making it urban wildlife friendly --so they can get a drink and get out safely (sloped edge with mini steps). Though I have had nest boxes in my garden for may years-this year I had chickadees nest and successfully fledge their babies! They actually fledged yesterday:) I am hoping to continue to add native plants and look forward to seeing who else may visit the yard...
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Our 1-acre yard is primarily trees in the back and grass in the front. We love watching the birds and squirrels, the occasional deer, fox, raccoon, and opossum. We recently visited a native garden and now wish to replicate some of what we saw. We want to remove the invasive vines and plant shrubs and small trees, and some shade-loving plants in the back. In the front, we have been expanding the beds to reduce the grass. We are planting flowers and other plants that attract butterflies or moths and feed birds in the winter. We are hoping to switch over the lawn to some combination of native flowers or ground covers.
    • wendy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      i have a good sized yard, mostly bare of love.  there are 3 beautiful bountiful old growth lilac bushes, a mock orange, tree, lots of pine trees, and a few scattered unorganized plantings. there are always birds. several sparrow and finch varieties, juncos, warblers, mourning doves, blue jays, hummingbirds, starlings, vireos, sap suckers, flickers. there are plentiful bees, some squirrels, a raccoon or two, occasional skunks, bats, butterflies, slugs.  we are surrounded by farmed fields which spray pesticides :( i would love to attract corvids. i am in eastern canada and want to do most of the work myself. i am naive and untrained and a fits-and-starts type.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        Wendy, I love your candor, LOL, and saw myself.  Do it at your own pace, bit by bit over time...every native plant that gets added is a great thing!  Use your winters for learning!  I am in Nova Scotia on Cape Breton.
      • Margo
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        We are retired and rent out our farmland, but still live on our farm in Alberta.  We are surrounded by grain fields which are sprayed several times a year.  That is a big concern for us.  At least we keep our yard (about 8 acres) pesticide free.
    • Summer
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I'm blessed to live on 6 acres in rural Michigan. There's a large blueberry marsh behind my house, and wild blackcaps and blackberries growing on the property. There are several native forbs that grow naturally in the woodland strip that surrounds our property. I have established one native flower bed in front of my house, one flower bed full of nursery plants and one that is mixed on the side of the house. However, our house was built in the 80's on an old farm field, and then was vacant for 2 years before we bought it. My plan is to harvest seeds from my established native flowers, propagate them, and get some in the cool season grassland that surrounds my house. We are also finally getting to replacing last of the windows along the back and getting the siding up, after which I get to design the backyard. I'm thinking of going with a mix of patio and deck and then want to add a water feature and more natives around it. While I'm fairly knowledgeable in both native plants and birds, I'm hoping to gain some insight on how to incorporate them better in my landscaping. I'm also working on removing the invasive Honeysuckle, Multiflora rose, Autumn Olive, and Buckthorn. I pull as much of the garlic mustard I can each year with the hope of at least slowing its spread and reducing its allelopathic effects.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        If you have a good site, stewarding a native area is (IMHO) more important than trying to create a partial artificial one.  Both are good, but areas that are intact are super important.
    • Kristie
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Currently I am collecting plants for creating our garden. Inspiration Tuscan style. The space is large enough to create several different outdoor garden rooms. I want to change the fact that currently I do not have a plan and each room is jumbled due to lack of garden plan. Current birds that visit include blue jays, crows, occasional hummingbirds, pigeons, and finches. Birds mostly focus attention along the grass areas and spruce trees and primarily forage for food or nesting material, rest, and preen.
    • alex
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      An Almost Private Moment: This spring brings the third nesting of either House Swallows or Sparrows to an air vent in my 1920's upstairs apartment. As the chics have progressed they've become cheerfully and adamantly present through the wall with their cheeps for more food from the parent team. The parents do access the feeder, but I don't have yummy invertebrates to offer of course. It's a morning game to note who's up first the chics or myself. If I'm up first I do try to not wake them up.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        Do you have a deck or balcony?  Some people do wonders with container gardening of native plants.  Also, many conservation groups need volunteers and stewards of natural areas, as at this point, the invasive species problem is so big that natural areas don't stat that way without help!
    • Christopher
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I live in the Hampton roads area of Virginia. I'm currently going through the process of reorganizing my yard. Well organizing one of the goals is to remove as many invasive species as possible. And replace them with better plants. I'm going to the rule of it has to do more than just be pretty. The plants for replace in the yard get points for what they can do in the yard. Such as does it make a good screen/hedge. Does it make good nesting habitat. Is it a host plant for a butterfly or moth. What type of food does it provide for birds. And on and so forth. I know I will not complete it in a year. But I want to say is a nice long-term goal. In addition besides plants I do plan to include structures for birds and wildlife.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        It is a wonderful hobby, and not something that is done in a year.  My great grandmother said "it takes 5 years to build a garden."  With a native garden, give yourself 10, lol.
    • Marguerite
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I live north of Nashville and this spring we designated an area approximately 60'X90' on the downward slope of our property, as a "meadow"........I left whatever was going to grow, grow, without interference or cutting back and planted wildflower seeds, native wildflower bulbs inside the designated "meadow" area.  I have also planted butterfly bushes in the grassy area and near the area, we planted mulberry and redbud bare root trees.  Also nearby we planted white oak bare root trees.  All the trees and shrubs are growing!  I still do not have any wildflowers blooming!  My husband mowed a swirling path through the middle of what I hope will be the "wildflower meadow" (in a year or 2 or 3??) and I plan to place a small bench there to watch the birds and other pollinators.  I have placed a birdbath with solar sprinkler there, near where there is also a small bird feeder.  I seem to have lots of birds around my house all the time, even during the winter.  There were days in the early spring when the bird calling and bird songs were very, very loud - it seemed they had to compete with the noise of the neighborhood and raised their voices accordingly to be heard over the cars and lawn mowers!  We moved to this area a little over a year ago from a ranch located in the-middle-of-nowhere, New Mexico.  I can hardly believe how many birds are here in the Nashville area............I LOVE it here
      • Kathy
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        It sounds lovely!  Nice to have lots of birds to begin with.  Good luck with your meadow!
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        Be sure to recognize plants that can take over.  Especially check the "butterfly bush"...if it is Buddleia, as it can create a LOT of backbreaking work for you when you realize they want to rule the world.  There are many native species that will also be host to eggs and larvae, which this plant is not.
    • Jenifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 18
      I have a beautiful dogwood tree in my front yard that attracts migrating birds in the fall. But, it also attracts lots of starlings who eat more than their share. I have several pines that border my property that are beautiful. Feeder birds use them as a landing to go to and from my bird feeders. I put in a split rail fence on one corner of my property and it provides a beautiful border where I have put in some liatris and lobelias and also some creeping phlox. I would like to continue to develop that area with more plants. I also have a wisteria plant (not sure if native) that drapes across the top of the fence. I put in several small winterberry plants I am hoping will be larger and a larger serviceberry which is gorgeous. I would like to replace the border in the back of my yard that has burning bushes -enormous ones- that I unfortunately inherited from previous owners. They form a great barrier to not see neighbors in the back yard, so I would like to replace with natives that will grow large as well as some flowering fruit trees. Any recommendations - I live in Connecticut - would be great. I started by purchasing two elderberry bushes, but this task is overwhelming and expensive, so I am starting small.
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        Evergreens on the burning bush replacement.  Is Arborvitae native there?  On fruit trees, high bush blueberry, crab apple, and hawthorne.
    • Clarisse
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I want less concrete, less grass, and more native plants to create a small ecosystem in my yard. I have seen how birds are immediately attracted to any new native I bring home. It is like love at first sight. And pollinators favor natives as well. IMG_20210117_082656_523
      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        LOL I know!  I try to grow natives from seed, and the wildlife are like, "oooh, CANDY!"  So we are building enclosures, which seems counter productive, but need the natives to be able to reproduce to restore habitat!
    • Stephanie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We recently moved in to our house in Southwestern NY (Orange County) this past August. Having never owned my own home before, my prior gardening experience is limited to container gardens on condo porches. This spring, I have created two new small garden beds and have tended to the large bed in the front of the house and the medium size beds that are next to our shed. I have, somewhat regretfully, supplemented the plants that were already there when we bought the house with other beautiful perennials that are not native.   We have plenty of space to do some nature-scapung, but the place I'd most like to start is an area where an above ground pool was taken down prior to us buying the house. It is about 12 feet in diameter, flat, and has a bed of solid sand. I hope to build this area up with fresh dirt, and plant plenty of flowers that are attractive to both birds and pollinators.
    • LAURA
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      We live in NY (not far from Cornell) on about 3 acres. Most of it was just lawn when we bought the house 3 years ago. So far we have installed a native plant garden, a number of fruit trees, evergreen trees, and shrubs, a sunflower patch along our fence, two raised beds for vegetables, another raised bed for flowering bulb plants, and most recently (this year) a pollinator garden. One benefit to native plants that I didn't even realize when I planted them is the overall hardiness of the plants. NY has long, cold, winters, and some of the non-native plants (even if planted in a zone they technically tolerate) have struggled. All of the native plants have thrived. It makes gardening easier and cheaper (not having to buy replacement plants frequently). I am enjoying our bird visitors more and more, and I'm hoping to get a few tips on making our property even more bird-friendly.
    • Lyell
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Version 2
      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        I wasn't sure how to include text about an image.  The image above is the goldenrod meadow I referred to in my earlier post.  The goldenrod is exuberant and seems to dominate other plants.  I am interested in adding a little more diversity to this area with plants that can hopefully coexist with the goldenrod.
      • Stacey
        Participant
        Chirps: 3

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

      • Summer
        Participant
        Chirps: 6

        @Stacey There are several birds that will eat the Goldenrod seeds (Goldfinch, Chickadees, some sparrows, et. al.). Goldenrod also attracts several insect species which makes them beneficial to insectivores.

      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8

        @Stacey @Stacey apologies for the late reply.  I do occasionally see birds eating the goldenrod seed, but I would say the most activity I see on a plant in our habitat is goldfinches eating Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose).  This plant is a volunteer to the garden.  It is tall (around 4 feet), and often there will be 2-3 birds per stalk.  I was happy that the goldenrod was volunteering because they are supposed to be great hosts for many caterpillar species which are important food for baby birds.  However I don't often see caterpillars on the goldenrod.  Maybe the birds are getting them before I see them!

      • Sue
        Participant
        Chirps: 6

        @Lyell Purple Astor? Adds a pop

      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8

        @Sue @Sue  Purple Aster with the goldenrod would be beautiful.  I had some Aster laevis (a beautiful purple color) in the meadow but it seemed very tasty to rabbits (I believe) and they are all gone now.

      • MarianWhit
        Participant
        Chirps: 16

        @Lyell Joe Pye, Tall White Aster, Pearly Everlastings, tall native grasses, wild roses, etc.  Think about early bloomers like raspberry, wild strawberry, and blue eyed grass in the spring.  A backdrop of one or both bays (Myrica sp.).

      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8

        @MarianWhit Thank you @MarianWhit,  I do have some Joe Pie weed.  I do have to make sure I edit the goldenrod around them so they don't get overwhelmed by it.  The small patch is doing well this year.  I like the idea of a backdrop.  I have one blueberry in the back (out of the picture) that is doing well.  Also a Beach Plumb (Prunus maritima) on the right in the photo.  I have recently learned that Canada Goldenrod can be particularly vigorous and that thinning that species may help other plants thrive.  I will put all of your suggestions on a list to add!

    • Lyell
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      We are located west of Boston, Massachusetts.  Over the years, I have added more and more native plants.  In the back yard, we removed an in-ground pool.  Despite ideas to plan a garden, nature took its course, and the area is now mostly filled with 5 species of volunteer goldenrod plants and a few asters.  I have added a few shrubs along the way.  Grape and Blackberry bushes have also volunteered.  This area is filled with many species of dragonflies, wasps and other insects in the summer and fall.  I have also gotten rid of most of the grass in the front yard after observing that I was sadly killing moths and caterpillars as I mowed.  One thing I am interested in exploring is adding some more diversity to the goldenrod area.  The goldenrod seems to be very robust and will take over everywhere if I do not edit them a bit around other plants like Monarda and Joe Pye Weed.