AS LONG AS I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by wild birds. I have to think it is their freedom of flight. Ah yes, to come and go wherever and whenever. Birds soaring in the wind, how grand that must be. I started feeding birds at age 10 and really began to garden for birds when I was 30 years old.
Things began to happen as my bird garden grew. Other wildlife besides birds began to make my yard part of their home. Not lions, tigers and bears, oh my, but squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons, bunnies and other furry creatures. I figure it goes with the territory and I have remedied most of that with baffles etc.
Other forms of winged life. Insects, lots of different insects came a calling. Oh sure, we all have out battles with aphids, mites and other plant sucking and chewing bugs. However, these bugs attract other good insects and attract more birds and even bats.
Throughout the seasons, my yard is now home to butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, katydids, praying mantis and a host of other beneficial insects. My yard is full of life! The various movements of flight and color. Different insect sights and sounds fill the air from spring throughout the summer into fall.
My birds find a place to nest and plenty of food to feed their young. I have birds doing nose dives in the ground cover. Birds fluttering in the shrubs to grab the protein needed to survive. There is something special in watching a Cedar Waxwing or Tree Swallow catching dinner on the fly. Now that is what I call “Fast Food!” Yep, never mind the 30 minute meals for my birds.
Frogs and toads have found a home as well. Three different species of frogs have adopted my little water garden. Toads help to keep the slugs and ground insects in check.
Several insects help to pollinate the blooms (In return, I’ve learned to plant several HOST PLANTS to keep the cycle going.) The old blooms produce seed, berries and nuts for the birds and other wildlife. Insect larvae and eggs offer protein for my birds in the cold winter months as well.
By offering fresh water, shelter and a cornucopia of food, my yard always has something new in store for me. My yard is always alive!
Planting for wildlife has paid huge dividends for me.
What’s in your yard?
WindStar Wildlife Habitat Naturalist
Michigan Certified Nurseryman
Ronald Patterson has a passion for wildbirds. He’s been feeding and caring for birds for more then 40 years. Ron is a “Wildlife Habitat Naturalist” and “Michigan Certified Nurseryman.” He also lectures and writes about birds and other wildlife. His expertise and knowledge on birds, habitats, and plants makes him the ideal person to help you learn to garden for birds. Ron Patterson’s writes a weekly newsletter called “Backyard Birding Tips.” You can sign up today and have Ron give you friendly and often humorous advise on Attractting, feeding and caring for wildlife. Go to: http://www.backyardbirdingtips.com/
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