"Bird Friendly Backyard"
My neighbor called to me as I was walking up the street, "Hey Marilyn, come over and see my back yard." Wendell Brown and his wife Terry spend many hours landscaping. The front yard is beautifully decorated with lawn, flowers, shrubs, and trees. Could the backyard be any better? I saw truck loads of dirt and concrete being delivered to the back, so I was curious! What had they done? When he opened the gate and I stepped though to the backyard . . . it was awesome!
Wendell said, "I was wondering what I could do to attract birds." What? If I were a bird, this is where I would hang my hat . . . permanently. The yard was perfect. It was filled with flowers, plants, and trees . . . the ones birds like best. I didn’t think he needed any help. There was a small waterfall and pond; bird feeders were hanging in several places, and the setting was peaceful and secure. Then he said, "I was hoping to attract some of those big birds with the long bills and legs." Well, the only thing I could think of that he could possibly do that he hadn’t done to attract that kind of bird, was to move a couple blocks closer to the river, or stock the swimming pool with fish. The backyard was paradise . . . for man, bird, and beast!
Over the last two years this backyard has matured and become a major breeding area for Mother Nature. The air in his yard is full of birds and bird songs because of the thick ground cover that provides safety from aerial predators. So many birds hope to make his yard a permanent hangout.
Any yard can become ‘bird friendly’ with the right kind of effort. Perennials, like Pyracantha, will provide a smorgasbord of food and protective cover year after year. Their beautiful green leaves and shiny red berries are a delightful addition to any yard. Grapevines provide shade, greenery, and food (if you don’t mind sharing your grapes with the birds). Pine trees give a year-round green cover and a protection to birds when there’s wind and cold. Draw yourself a plan of what you want your yard to look like. Keep in mind it takes a few years for shade trees to grow to maturity. Make sure you add a walking pathway so you can enjoy each aspect of your backyard garden whenever you want. Remember . . . native flowers flourish with little care and a lot less water.
Who knows, you too might get a visit from the lovely Lazuli Bunting. It’s time for their return. Thank you Brenda Rusnell for sharing this beautiful picture with us this week. If you would like to know more about the Lazuli Bunting or other birds, give us a call at 435 673-0996 or come to our Red Cliffs Audubon General Meeting on April 14 and see wonderful photographs of the "Birds of Southern Utah" presented by the Camera Club.