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June 25th, 2020

This is the season of babies, baby birds in particular. You can hear them in almost every tree. This year we had a nest of woodpeckers in the big ash tree out front. We heard the babies for a few days before finally being able to locate the nest.

We watched and watched to see the babies, after a week or two of them being super loud, we were able to spot them.

A week later, they fledged and it’s been quiet in the ash tree again.

July 1st, 2018

“Insects are less conspicuous and less glamorous than songbirds, dragonflies or hedgehogs are the foundation from which a healthy wildlife garden is built. The American word ‘bugs’ contributes to a profound misunderstanding of the importance of insects as part of the chain of life. The more varied the garden’s insects population, the healthier it will e. Without a healthy insect population, the whole food chain of birds, mammals and flowers starts to fall apart. Not only to we want more insects, we need them.”

Monty Don in Down to Earth

I love this and have always said all insects are good, even if they are one’s we don’t want to see in the garden. This week I’ve been seeing lots of insects I don’t necessarily want to see, but they’re part of the ecosystem. I’ve seen: cucumber beetles, squash bugs, mosquitoes, deer flies, but also butterflies, bees, tiny native pollinators, and so many more.

What insects are you seeing this week?

Oh Tom…

May 4th, 2017

One of things about having turkeys as livestock, is that it seems to attract the tom turkeys during spring mating season. We’ve been seeing this beautiful tom every so often. He’s the biggest, nicest wild turkey I’ve seen. On Monday we spent the entire day dancing for our turkey hens outside the electric fence. Of course our tom spent the day inside dancing right alongside him. He was too busy dancing to eat anything in the garden, which was the only reason I didn’t chase him off.

Amazingly, he was back the next morning as well, dancing away. Luckily we finally got him to move on. No bought this isn’t the last of him we will see.  Wild turkeys are such amazing birds (so are the domesticated ones we keep).

What sorts of wildlife you get to see in your back yard?

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:

Friday Favorite: For the Birds

April 27th, 2012

We love the birds that frequent the gardens of Chiot’s Run. I love watching them at the birdfeeder in winter, flitting around the gardens and nesting in the trees and birdhouses. Earlier this week I heard Mr Wren singing beautiful songs to me while I was out working and was happy to hear that he’s back. He’s already checking out the wren houses and will start building his nests, hoping one of them will attract a lovely lady wren.

The longer I garden here the more birds I see, not only in number but in variety as well. Birds aren’t just a pretty face in the garden, they provide valuable pest control. The more birds I have in my garden, the fewer pest problems I have. Wrens are especially great for cabbage worms, here at Chiot’s Run their broods hatch just about the time the cabbage worms are at their worst. Soon enough there are no cabbage worms in sight!

Another great thing about having lots of birds around is that you get to see them building nests and you get to watch the baby birds grow up and fledge. We have a robin that built a nest by our rain barrels the first year we put them up. They’ve come back to it every single year. I can’t get up and see the eggs, there’s not enough room, but I can spy the baby robins when they start to get big enough to barely fit in the nest.

We also have chickadees, hummingbirds, cardinals, finches, woodpeckers, and a few other varieties of birds that nest around here. Every year we see something new.

If you want to attract more birds to your garden there are a few things you can do:

*Don’t clean up your flowerbeds in the fall, allow seed producing plants to stand, this provides valuable food for the birds.

*When you want to add plants to your garden, focus on adding those that provide berries or seeds. For example, if you want a shrub rose, consider using ‘Rosa Rugosa’ which bloom beautifully, are very hardy and provide plentiful large hips in the fall for the birds.

*Add a source of clean water like a bird bath and refresh water regularly.

If I had to choose a favorite bird it would be the wren. I really love the male’s lovely song, I love watching them scurry around the garden gathering worms for their young and I especially love that they get used to me and will come almost right up next to me while I’m working and they’ll let me stand very close while feeding their young.

What’s your favorite bird to see in the garden?

If you want to read a little more about how to attract birds to your garden I did a whole series of posts about attracting and keeping birds in your garden, head on over to the Your Day Blog to read For Our Feathered Friends

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.