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    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      Did the keys to gardening for birds surprise you? Are there keys that you are already doing in your yard, or maybe keys you think might be particularly hard to do? Share your thoughts in the discussion below.
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    • lulu
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      nznoys
      birds only signbird sanctuary signkea + kiwi I have been mostly encouraged to learn that without knowing it, I've created a naturescape. I love my garden and love seeing birds enjoy it too, I feel very connected to my ecosystem. BUT!!!!! How do I keep the neighbours' cats out? Well, asking their owners to discourage them doesn't work - they bring the cats with them when they visit, grrrrrrr! They won't put a bell on their cats. They (the neighbours) regularly climb my gates/fences looking for their cats. So, in exasperation, I advertised my back garden as a bird sanctuary. I put up signs (for the neighbours, not the cats) and made cut-outs of birds (including some native to my home country, New Zealand) and hope the neighbours at least will get the message. I also hope the big wooden owls and the kea will scare the cats, not the birds. Can I mention I have a big water pistol too?
    • Christopher
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      goldeagle Kroll
      I recently purchased a new bird feeder pole. It has a cylinder baffle to control squirrels, rats and raccoons. It's quite fun giving an IQ test to squirrels. IMG_20210603_165048602 IMG_20210603_162139644_HDR Sadly, I have to put the feeder approximately six feet from the house. Due to its height. Most of the birds are aware of my window ironically. I can generally tell when a new bird has come to the feeder. The birds that are residents of the property will frequently hover in front of the window. Mostly to annoy the cat.
    • Marguerite
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Birdsonghouse
      I'm going to find crabapple trees and other native berry shrubs to add to the food sources when the weather turns colder.  A challenge will be developing a year-round water source.  I tried to seed my "meadow" area with native wildflowers that bloom at different times so I really hope that over time, the flowers will bloom - I won't cut off the deadheads! I was surprised to discover that I had so few native plants and shrubs on my property, except for the variety of tall trees, so I have been trying to plant more and more native plants and shrubs.
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      svalett
      The two areas I'd like to improve in our yard are year-round abundance and keeping birds safe. I leave the seed heads on my plants, but we need to provide more overwintering berries and nut sources. We have many screened windows, but a few casement windows have screens on the inside. I have marked vertical stripes with a white paint pen on the largest window, but that was challenging to make attractive. I bought sticker tape for the remaining windows and need to put them on the remaining windows. We also need to re-locate our feeders closer to cover or add cover to the current locations.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      VolvoSoccerMom
      Our yard has a fairly good assortment of trees, shrubs and some newly planted native perrenials.  I had never really thought about yard waste and brush piles though.  I am thinking of creating corners of brush piles where it can be tucked away but still provide resources (we live in an area of  "perfect lawns").  I have been slowly getting rid of our front lawn, initially with some raised bed planters, and now am working on a perrenial garden so I will definitely try to incorporate more tall grasses, shrubs, ground cover, etc.
    • Monica
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      mmsf0315
      When considering trees and shrubs, I focused on bloom time for the pollinators.    I gave minimal consideration as to when the fruits, berries, and nuts would be available.    I will be revisiting this soon to ensure seasonal availability and tweak if necessary.   I also will be revisiting vertical diversity.   I have different layers but they are mainly scattered throughout the yard.  I will work on incorporating different heights within the same bed or in close proximity.   Year round water source is a perennial problem.   Finally, my mindset is getting better regarding "messiness".   So that is a plus for me.  As for the neighbors, I hope to plant some shrubs/thickets to camouflage the garden behind the barn (although they say they enjoy watching the birds).
    • Janet
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      chops99
      The addition of a constant water source is my challenge.  I would love a natural looking source that I can use all year, not just my simple bird bath.  I am starting on my "messy" yard, so have lots to think about.  I think patience is a key to allow the plants to fill in naturally and not over plant all at once.  So much to think about.
    • LAURA
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      cleozbirdz
      I definitely have seed-bearing plants (coneflowers, sunflowers, buttonbush, grasses), some fruit-bearing plants (serviceberry, crabapple, viburnum), and some nectar plants (columbine, cardinal flower), but I never thought to look at the seasonality of food supply. Does anyone know of a website where you can determine what time of year, for example, different berries might ripen?
    • Martin
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      mjroncetti
      I had never given any conscience thought to "vertical" diversity until this lesson!  I was aware of it of course by walking though woods and other natural areas but as to landscaping my yard up and down to promote biodiversity would have been done accidentally.  As with many 30+ year old city neighbourhoods, lot size can impose landscaping limits.  I live in a duplex and my "half" of the lot is ~30' x 100'. Fortunately for me, one of my immediate neighbours has a large lilac bush following our shared fence which is quite full.  My other neighbour has mostly lawn but has landscaped the boarders of her yard with Easter White Cedars, a Flowering Crab Apple and several flowering plants.  My third "neighbour is a K-8 school where the school board has a mix of shrubs and trees along the boarder between the parking area and my yard. As to my vertical landscaping, I have some lawn in both my front and back yards.  The front yard has a couple flowerbeds, a small shrub line and a 20+ year old Norway(?) Maple that is quite full and ~35' tall.  Earlier this spring, I dugout and replaced a small circular flowerbed around the truck of the maple where I transplanted some hostas species and a couple of plants from the mint family.  My back yard has several raised beds where four raised beds where I grown strawberries and various vegetables for our consumption.  In amongst the vegetables are marigolds and borage.  The other beds I have planted flowers to primarily attract wildlife.  As I have already mentioned my small pond in early discussion boards, I will add that I have directed any overflow from the pond into a bog/peat garden where I have iris species growing.  The Pin Cherry is providing about a 25' vertical height and the pergola over my vegetable beds also provides some vertical habitat and I do have some messy areas in my back yard which are not too large (and yet still bother my wife...;)).
    • Barbara
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      bnjrenz
      I prefer to use leaf litter as mulch in my yard. It’s free! Since I have a natural area on two sides of my yard it’s easy to leave fallen limbs and brush piles there. I am experiencing some bird strikes in the spring so I need to work on that.
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