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Monday, May 18, 2009

Three Years Later

  This month marks the 3rd year anniversary my wife and I moved into our new house. As many know, the whole house buying experience can be very exciting one minute, and stressful the next. The hardest part for us (besides coming up with the $) was finding something that we both liked. I wanted a nice house like my wife, but I also wanted a large lot with it - a place I could enjoy gardening and creating habitats for birds and other wildlife.

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Providing natural habitat for wildlife, especially birds, has always been important to me no matter where I’ve lived, and our new place offered many new challenges. The lot was once open farmland with few trees and no shrubs or evergreens. It doesn’t sound like an ideal place for birds, but I saw lots of potential and it provided a clean slate to work with.

Planting a diversity of plants and trees, paying special attention to native species, was my first step. Creating diversity in the landscape provides cover, nesting sites, and food for birds. For instance, thick compact shrubs like evergreens make great nesting sites for birds like chipping sparrows.

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Keep in mind that birds nest from ground to treetop. Creating brush piles and un-mowed areas in the landscape not only provide cover for ground feeding birds, it also provides areas for ground nesting birds like the Killdeer.

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Always take advantage of what you have. Living in open rural land is not a bad thing, especially when there’s a lake nearby. It’s the perfect ingredients for swallows like Purple martins…

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and tree swallows…

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Open landscape is also the preferred habitat of bluebirds. Providing nest boxes for cavity nesting birds is an easy way to attract certain species to your backyard. Just remember to be a good landlord and protect those houses with predator guards.

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Even your own house can be made “bird friendly”. Hanging flower pots make good nesting spots for birds like wrens and house finches. There may not be much left of the plant afterwards but it’s worth the experience. Here’s a house finch nest on our front porch in a hanging flower pot.

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Even better…here’s a female blue bird setting on eggs in what’s called a “Williamsburg Bird Bottle”. It's attached to our deck pergola.

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…and don’t forget the hummingbirds. Their fun to watch and can be drawn in close by setting up a nectar feeder.

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Thanks for taking this brief tour with me around my yard. There's always more to do but I'm pleased with my progress so far. Now, go out and take a quick survey of your yard and see what things you can do to make a better habitat for the birds.

All photos were taken by me in my yard; however, my Wingscapes BirdCam provided a little help on some of the photos.

 

20 comments:

Janet said...

What a nice assortment of birds who have made their homes in your landscape! Really fun to watch the little ones become old enough to learn to fly.

Kelly said...

...you have turned your yard into an ideal bird habitat. I love that Williamsburg Bird Bottle (for that matter, I probably love anything with "Williamsburg" in it!). The mama looks so safe and snug in it.

mick said...

A very interesting post. Its not always easier to make a good environment for birds and you look to have done a great job.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Looks like you found the perfect place for your family and the birds' families. How lucky to have such a nice variety and that they've chosen to make their homes near you!

Mary said...

I so enjoyed the tour of your yard, Alan but I am amazed at how much is going on only after three years? YOU are amazing - the nesting birds, your choices of shrubs, and everything is just perfect for wildlife. I have been in my house for three years and you are way ahead of me! LOL!

Good job, Alan. Isn't it a wonderful feeling to purchase a perreniel or tree that the birds, butterflies, hummingbirds will love?

MaineBirder said...

WOW! Great series of photos! Looks like you have made your yard a friendly place for wildlife.

dAwN said...

Excellent Post Alan,
Loved it and loved looking around your garden seeing all the birdies that nest there...love that bottle thingy...very cool!

animtreebird said...

Very beautiful birds. Your hard work work has paid off so well. Great photos of all those birds. :)))

DaveABirding said...

Very interesting, do you have any natural water features, or have you added any? Keep up the good work, I am sure they appreciate it.

Dirt Princess said...

Great shots!!! I love the babies with their mouths open!! Feed me!!!

Neil said...

Love the bird bottle great idea.

April Lorier said...

You are a very good landlord, Alan. And those cute little spotted Killdeers are just adorable. This is, indeed, Our Father's World and you're taking good care of it! :-}

(Thanks for dropping by my blog, too!)

gwendolen said...

You must be proud of the result of three years landscaping for birds. Absolutely wonderful.

Chandramouli S said...

I am a bird guy too and your blog has been a great source of knowledge for me. I am waiting for that day when I'll have a land to work on and make little homes for the birds! How satisfying it'd be to see birds in your yard! I enjoyed the tour around your yard!

Valeriannah said...

What a great post. I've thought about putting up some bird houses down here in my backyard in Arizona. I'm just not sure if its a very wise idea. I live in a new home so there is not a lot of cover in the backyard yet. I worry about the tenants becoming sitting ducks due to the abundance of raptors. Oh and I saw a Roadrunner eat a finch the other day(wasn't expecting to see that).

Bradley Myers said...

A fantastic post and photographs, I have tried my best to protect my feathered friends also, now if I could just get the neighbor to keep their cat indoors.

Moria said...

Wow, your yard is very impressive! I am taking notes on how to attract nesting birds... I have a lot of feeding birds, but the hedges I've planted haven't quite grown up yet. And a Killdeer nest! How exciting!

Orlando Realtor said...

I just love your photos and following your blog. In my yard I have had many varieties of birds show up, however putting out the bird food, they were followed by the squirrels which I tolerated...but then mice and rats going right into the feeders, even during the daytime. I couldn't handle that so I stopped putting out the food and only have the birds that come for my landscape. Thanks for sharing...I really enjoy it.

Amber Coakley said...

This is the first I've heard of the bird bottle. Very cool - I'm glad to have learned about them from your blog. Looks like you've done a great job with your wildscaping!

Squirrel said...

I loved looking through all your photos! Young birds are so much fun to watch because often they are really awkward at first :-) Thanks for the wonderful post!