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Quote of the Day: Bernd Heinrich

July 15th, 2012

Early the next morning, I awake to a wild melee of bird song. Far sweeter than any symphony I could possibly imagine, it comes from all around.

Bernd Heinrich (A Year In The Maine Woods)

We love the birds here at Chiot’s Run and do what we can to provide for them naturally. New plants are often chosen with the birds in mind. I find myself often going to the Cornell Bird lab page to identify birds I hear when I’m out working in the garden.  Little mr wren is probably my favorite with his sweet songs that he sings all day long. Just this past week I’ve been listening to our resident bald eagle screeching down by the lake.  I must take the time to head down and look at their nest one of these days.

Birds aren’t just pretty to look at in the garden, they provide a very valuable service in the form of pest control. People always ask me about dealing with specific pests and I always recommend putting up a bird feeder and a bird bath to keep them coming to your garden all year long. Once you do you’ll notice the birds constantly harvesting insects. The more birds I notice in the garden the fewer problem insects I notice.

As a result of our efforts every year we see/hear a few new species of birds. We should have kept track but we’re up to about 25-30 different species of birds including owls and bats. We’re excited to see both new and familiar birds at our new place. No doubt our bird identification books will come in handy for a those that we don’t see much here in Ohio.

How many different birds do you think you’ve seen in your garden?

I highly recommend adding a bird id book or two your library. We always have one with us when we’re traveling. These are our 2 faves:

11 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Bernd Heinrich”
  1. Songbirdtiff on July 15, 2012 at 7:47 am

    We have more birds than I could count. Lately I have been enjoining golden finches snacking on my sunflowers while I work. We have a plague of grasshoppers this year due to our mild winter. Traditional gardeners are having a terrible time controlling them. No problems here! I always have a flock of birds in the garden so the grasshoppers don’t last long.

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  2. Melissa on July 15, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Seeing new birds each year is one of my favorite parts about gardening. I don’t know how the last tenants of our house gardened, but since we haven’t used any chemicals and planted lots of stuff- we’ve seen a huge growth in the bird population around our house over the past 3 years. A bluejay has been visiting over the past 2 weeks. I watched him most of the morning yesterday while puttering about in my garden! Such a beautiful bird!

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  3. Nebraska Dave on July 15, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Susy, what a novel idea you have inadvertently accomplished. Most bird watchers tramp all over the woods looking for new birds to add to their find list. You, however, just create a special environment to bring the birds to you. I have wild turkeys on my new garden (Terra Nova Gardens) property which is a sizable bird for sure. Whoever said that turkeys are not smart, are just plain wrong. Being able to observe them up close and personal has changed my mind. Maybe they are talking about the turkeys that have the wild bred out of them. Robins of course were around when I was digging in the dirt last spring. Soaring high in the sky unless that see lunch are the hawks that keep watch ever so closely over the property. Other wise there are not so many birds in the garden yet. So far there have not been many bugs either. I’m truly surprised at that since this has been wild virgin land for ever.

    Have a great bird watching day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Susy on July 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

      We have some wild turkeys here too, don’t see them too often, but we hear them all the time. You’re right, creating a place to attract birds is best. We happen to be lucky with the variety of habitat we have since we’re surrounded by lots of old woods and have a few scrubby/brushy areas too. We seem to see just about all the different kinds of birds.

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  4. Sherri on July 15, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I totally agree. Since putting up feeders and birdhouses, we have seen an enormous jump in the numbers of birds on our property. Such a welcome addition to the garden and the pest control plan :)

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  5. Linda on July 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I, too, enjoy my bird “friends” in the garden. But this year we have had such a problem with them eating our fruit, ie:strawberries and blackberries. We netted our blackberries and that has helped some. But a thrush has nested in my blackberry arbor and has “divebombed” me numerous times. Any ideas to help alleviate this problem without harming the birds?

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    • Susy on July 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      The nets are an issue since birds often get caught in them. Generally, I just plant extra for the birds. Covering with agribon or cheesecloth is best because the fruit still ripens and since the birds can’t see the fruit they don’t try to find it and get caught in the netting. The lightest kind of agribon is best. You can find it at Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

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  6. Lexa on July 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Love that picture you posted of the Piliated Woodpecker. We hear them in our woods and see one every once in a while. I think that they are the king of the forest. We are lucky to have both open grassland and forest on our property. Thus we have a nice mix of birds that we see at our many feeders – easily 20-30 species I would say. The new one on our “list” this year was a pair of Kingfishers at our old quarry pond.

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  7. Donna B. on July 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I’m always trying to expand my knowledge of the birds that visit my garden. I am still in the process of crafting a bird bath, but a feeder is very high on my list of things I need/want for my yard!
    Although, I’m very proud that I can identify at least identify a good handful of them! Woodpeckers, Jays, and Robin’s are easy to hear by their calls, and I know the House Sparrows, Titmouse, and Chickadee’s by their looks. I get Gold Finches when the sunflowers are about… but my newest garden friend is the Catbird! It loves to talk to me from the Forsythia hedge between my neighbor and my own yards – and follows me around when I’m weeding. I throw it grubs. Hehe.

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  8. The Prudent Homemaker on July 17, 2012 at 12:42 am

    We saw a great blue heron just two days ago on the roof next door. Since I live in Las Vegas, we were pretty surprised! I took pictures from my living room window :) It was right before a big storm, so she must have been here because of that.

    Some of the rarest birds we’ve seen here: a roadrunner two days after we moved in, an ibis (he died in our yard and we found him and identified him; he was behind the bushes and one day we noticed him!), and a burrowing owl that would visit many evenings and eat crickets off of our back patio (that’s the blessing of not spraying our house every month with chemicals like almost everyone in town does; the downside is the spiders, scorpians, ants and roaches! I need to attract birds that wil eat those–and the black widows and pill bugs! Wht eat bugs when there are fresh peaches, I’m sure they think!)

    We’ve seen orioles, robins (this year only; they are not usually here since we are too far south!), red-tailed hawks (only flying above the garden, not landing in it), morning doves, vireos, house finches, blackbirds, ravens and pigeons. We also have hummingbirds. I had a couple of women stop in the middle of one of my garden tours to sit and watch the hummingbirds. They fly real close and get right next to your face.

    Last year we had 3 nests in the garden.

    I’m just in a .24 acre suburban lot in the desert.

    And we see the Thunderbirds fly over on occasion :) I also once saw an airplane fly over that looked like a giant bird! It was a commercial jet; I have no idea what airline that is! I know those don’t count . . . .

    I appreciate your bird guide recommendations; I have The Western American Audobon Field Guide, but there are other birds in my garden that we cannot identify. I have been wanting to get another guide.

    Reply to The Prudent Homemaker's comment

    • Susy on July 17, 2012 at 7:55 am

      Sounds like you’re on the right track. And you’re right, I think that the birds flock to the areas/yards/gardens where chemicals aren’t used. We have way more birds in our gardens than the neighbors directly across from us, and they even put up a bird feeder.

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Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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