• 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: 5

        @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.
    • Janet
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I have a small area on the side of the house which the deck and the bedroom windows overlook.  The sounds of the birds create a natural alarm to wake up.  I have several feeders and a raised vegetable bed already on that side, I want to create a space for birds and pollinators using native plants.  Living on a east coast bay, I would like to provide for more migrants and take the opportunity to expand my neighborhood's use of native landscaping.  I am looking forward to sitting on my deck listening and watching.
    • Maura
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Our yard is a bit of a mess right now trying to establish wildflowers and a natural feel. My wife has objected to mowing in the past not wanting to disturb any wildflowers from getting established. We use about 400=500 sqauare feet for vegetable gardening. Our front yard we use as a birding garden with several bird feeders and a small bird bath. Although a nice ground cover has been established it  also could use a good weeding. My energy is a little dissapated by the aging process and I'm spending several hours a day establishing the vegetable garden. We have some hummingbird feeders but havent attracted many this year. My vision for the birding garden is to add a few nectar bearing flowers perhaps in containers to further attract hummers.
      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        Depending on where you are, I can recommend Lobelia cardinals (Cardinal Flower) for hummingbirds.  I live in Massachusetts, and these flowers have attracted hummingbirds every year.  They like a moist sunny spot and in a good year can have foot long flower spikes filled with tube like red flowers for humming birds.
      • Lonicera sempervirens work well also for hummingbirds. I have them and Cardinal flowers and wild bergamot (monarda). I live in NJ and the hummers use all three and saucer type feeders.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      I have a raised bed garden that is a mix of vegetables and flowers and a greenhouse.  We have a lot of bird activity at our backyard feeders and have had success with our solitary bee hotel.  I want to replace our grass front yard with a perrenial garden of native plants to attract more birds and butterflies.
      • Lyell
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        I am in the process of replacing our front yard grass.  I have replaced at least 80 percent of the front yard so far.  To keep the soil life and structure intact, I used a technique called sheet mulching.  In the fall I laid down cardboard (from large boxes) on the grass and spread about 4-5 inches of much on top of it.  It has worked very well.  An occasional blade of grass will pop up through a crack but is easy to remove.  I am still trying to formulate  a plan for planting, but the native plants I already had in several islands are helping out by advancing into the mulched area:  Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Sedge), Whorled Loosestrife (NOT the invasive plant), Anemone canadensis and blue-stemmed goldenrod (Solidago caesia)
    • My family and I enjoy our backyard immensely.  Our newly replaced deck was designed with our fruit trees and bird feeders in mind, and we now have year round views of the many birds that visit us and live in our yard.  My husband loves the lawn, but has been tolerant of my aversion to chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and to my encroachment with vegetable and native plant gardens.  Our yard abuts a wild area that separates our yard from a golf course, full of wild life, and not far from a small river.  Last year’s overwhelming gypsy moth caterpillar invasion was a challenge, but we are learning about the life cycle of these “new” neighbours and trying to learn how to protect our trees and our pollinators, as well as the birds that live with us.  Interestingly, my husband is frightened for our trees’ foliage;  and our 3.5 year old grand daughter was So Excited to share her swing set with nature that she ran to get me, and show me how the caterpillars were everywhere, even on the slide!  There is no accounting for a love of nature... I am really enjoying the Cornell Lab’s bird courses, and getting to know the birds in my yard better.  I look forward to learning more about attracting and supporting birds, butterflies, and other pollinators around us.
    • Amy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      We have numerous birdhouses and hummingbird feeders, but I want to add additional natural sources for food and shelter.
    • Cindy
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      With our close friends who live in Switzerland, we built a small energy-efficient “second” home on the border of evergreen forest and meadow in the mountains above Ashland OR. It was mostly finished when we moved in late March 2020, to reduce our Covid-19 risk (we share our house in Oakland CA with an essential worker). We have lived here full time for over a year enjoying the birds, including dark-eyed junco, pine siskin, vesper sparrow, flicker, Stellar’s jay, Western bluebird, red tailed hawk, spotted towhee, green-tailed towhee, pileated woodpecker, red-breasted sapsucker, and mountain chickadee. To our great delight, last year we observed a pair sandhill crane raise two young and a pair of great gray owls raise three young. We have also regularly heard the Wilson’s snipe give it winnowing flight call as it flies above the meadow after dusk and in the early dawn. We want to add native plants that are good habitat for the birds, as we landscape the extensive slope below our flagstone patio. We are at 4600 ft. elevation, in planting zone 7, and need to plant species that are fire resistant because the danger of wildfire is substantial. The meadow has a diverse mix of grasses and wildflowers, which we hope will repopulate the disturbed soil of the slope below the house. That process has started, but we also want to add bushes and ground cover that will provide good habitat for birds. The meadow includes some serviceberry bushes and a few ponderosa pines, which the birds use and which provide us with great viewing opportunities. I created a small vegetable garden last year and will be expanding it this year. Last fall I planted seven blueberry bushes and this spring I planted three more. They are doing well so far, in spite of the snow and frost we had as recently as last week. The silverberry bushes and coffee berry bushes I planted last fall suffered quite a bit,  but survived the winter. Only two of the three Oregon grape plants survived. Our friends, who co-own the house with us, are finally able to join us here and will be arriving next week. So it is time for us to jointly make decisions on plants and get them planted. I look forward to learning from the course and from this group!
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I currently have a blank slate to work with.   I want to use native plants to attract the most wildlife possible.  I plan on adding a vegetable garden, greenhouse, shed, sitting areas, trees, planting beds, rain garden.
    • Connie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I just bought a small cottage in Mount Shasta, Ca.  The yard has been neglected for years.  Both sides of the yard have mature lilacs and there are some plantings and lawn, but I'm basically going to be starting from scratch.  I want to make my small yard into a place to relax and meditate and attract different bird species...So far, I've seen alot of jays and ravens but not alot of other species.
    • Paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      My wife and I regularly see northern mockingbirds, ruby-throated hummingbirds, goldfinches, cardinals, bluebirds, and some not so common birds to our area (yellow bellied sapsucker, pileated woodpeckers). The flowers/tree we have in our yard are rose, Zagreb, black-eyed Susan, hydrangea,  and a mature Elm tree.
    • Yvette
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I enjoy my large backyard space with a large oak tree, backing up to a horse farm.  I have made a butterfly garden. I’d like to learn what to plant to attract more Michigan  birds. I currently have feeders that attract gold finches, house finches, tufted titmouse, nuthatch, cardinal, red breasted grosbeak, red bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, as well as sparrows and grackles, a pair of mourning doves, baltimore Orioles and hummingbirds (I can’t identify which ones.). I’m hoping to learn how to attract indigo bunting and bluebirds.
    • Caroline
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      we plan to reduce the mowing area of our outdoor space, incorporate more natives, and expand our backyard woods.  And we're trying to reduce eliminate if not eliminate some of the invasive species like multiflora rose, honeysuckle, and oriental bittersweet.
    • Monica
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Almost 6 years ago, we moved to the outskirts of a metropolitan area.   What attracted us was not the house, but the property.   The house sits on a small mound above a flood plain dotted with groves of locust trees.      Woods were further back.    As we looked at the house, deer were foraging along the tree line.   We enjoy watching nature pass in the peaceful, tranquil surroundings.   We added a gravel patio w/ fire pit to compliment the overlooking deck, and have talked of adding a third sitting area beneath the apple trees.  (the views for each area are different.). The landscaping was overgrown.   But what to do with the yard?   I casually thought of adding some native plants, so I stopped by a local nursery specializing in natives grown from seeds collected locally.   I was hooked by the proprietor's passion.   I now have four beds with native plants and try to select species listed on the state's rare species list.   Watching the birds forage and butterflies flit among the plants is fascinating. Once, when I was outside, a bright orange bird flew by.   An oriole.   Jelly feeders have attracted more orioles with each passing year.   But that can't be healthy.   I have recently planted serviceberries for them and other birds.   Other additions included wild black cherry, hackberry, mulberry, hazelnuts, elderberries, and paw paws.
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      In my outdoor space I walk around at different times during the day and enjoy the various planting beds. I weed and mulch the beds. I grow various vegetables, flowers. and herbs in raised beds. During warm weather months, I sit and enjoy the area and listen to the birds. In colder months, I watch activity in feeders. I especially enjoy the different colors throughout the year. I hope to expand the planting beds and add more bird-friendly plantings.
    • Martin
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Good day to all.  My back yard is a space where: 1.  I grow some fruits and vegetables for consumption in raised beds that I made in 2017; 2.  I grow bird/insect friendly (mostly) native plants; 3.  I have my Project Feeder Watch (PFW) site located; 4.  I have an approximate 50 gallon above ground three-season "pond" where I keep three goldfish and some aquatic plants.  I planned and placed my "pond" in the spring of 2019; and 5.  My wife, the family dog Blue and I enjoy the small, occasional summer's night fire. I live in Kingston, Ontario which is located on the north-east corner of Lake Ontario/mouth of the St. Lawrence River/Seaway. I do greatly enjoy my yard and continually make small landscaping changes/alterations in order to continue in making my yard more attractive to the natural world, be it birds, insects, (small) mammals and even people!