House Finches are beginning to sing in my
backyard; I’ve heard Black-capped Chickadees,
Red-breasted Nuthatches, Northern Flickers, and
American Robins. I am happy to hear them,
even with snow on the ground and cold
I have been thinking about enhancing my
yard for birds; I know lots of you want a hand in
this respect. First of all, I am no plant expert.
Nor can I give you a fabulous list that will solve
all your problems at once.
What I am willing to do is give you some
ideas to assess your own yards and begin the
process. We can consider what birds need, then
how we can meet some of those needs.
If you have questions, send me a note via
email or to the PVAS PO Box 32. I can try to
incorporate your comments into the next couple
of months letters.
What do birds need? Food, water, shelter,
and space are what all organisms need to live.
What do I provide now; what could I easily
provide in the next year that will enhance the
experience of birds in and visiting my yard?
How can I keep my yard attractive to birds
during the whole year?
Selecting species or families would help
narrow down my process, but I could also
generally add items that would help. Before I
get too far with this track, I should make a
couple of other assessments.
How large is my yard? What types of soil
do I have for growing; can I enhance my soil to
grow plants better? How much water is
available and can I enhance this? How much
shade vs sunlight dominates my yard? Are
surrounding yards similar to mine or is mine an
oasis? What sort of shelter do I provide
near my feeder(s); what sort of predators or
dominant wildlife visit my yard? I am
thinking deer and pocket gophers
The presence of deer can drastically
affect what plants will be successful. Pocket
gophers can also wreak havoc with my
plantings. Domestically I have to deal with
prowling neighbor cats, one roaming,
unwelcome dog, and squirrels.
What do I already provide? How
successful is it? What type of feeders &
waterers do I have? Do I need baffles for
the feeders? Is my water enhanced with
dripping, to attract birds? Considering all of
these questions should help me prepare to
make some changes that will have greater
success than if I hadn’t tried.
Sally Roth, an author with lots of
experience in gardening for birds (Attracting
Songbirds to Your Backyard, among many
other titles,) suggests lettuce is a great
plant to attract birds for the whole growing
season. The tender leaves are eaten, along
with the insects it attracts, and the seed
head when it goes to seed. I think I will try
this, though I don’t know yet if deer like
I hope I have given you something to
think about, to help enhance your bird
habitat. Recently I have added
buffaloberry, and serviceberry bushes.
Canadian cherry is a hit. Flax and bachelor
buttons are fabulous for Lesser Goldfinch
and American Goldfinch.
My biggest goal is for variety of as
many natives as possible—trees, bushes,
Happy Birding and Gardening
May 2, 2021
We have returned from seven weeks in Palm Desert, CA and I am now hard at work in the yard raking and trimming. The deserts of California make for very interesting birding during the cool months of winter and there are lots of avid birders to hang out with when there is not a pandemic raging. Scout and I did not go down until we had both of our inoculations. Our best bird this winter was an Abert's Towhee, a lifer for us and a nice looking bird. My two favorite birds in the area down South are the Vermilion Flycatcher and the Northern Mockingbird. But now that I think about it the Boat-tailed Grackle is a fascinating creature in flight.
The big news here at the cottage is that I cashed out the cryptocurrency I forgot I had and used some profits to purchase a Vortex Razor HT spotting scope. An extravagance expenditure I would have never made if it had not been with done with essentially “free” money. The clarity and extreme ease of use make this optic a real joy. I hope to share it with all of you on future bird outings.
Our bird feeders here in AF are very popular with various goldfinches, chickadees, nuthatches and juncos. It looks as though spring is well underway. We have been out owling a couple of times but so far have had no luck. It is rainy today, so I may go out again today.
I hope you are all well and putting your binos to good use!