Parker County Today June 2017 - Page 74

Home Sweet Habitat BY THE WILD BIRD CENTER, WEATHERFORD, TX According to recent surveys, backyard bird feeding is the second most popular outdoor hobby, following, and maybe even closing the gap on, gardening. The two are so closely related that is inevitable that more and more people are combining their two favorite outdoor activities to produce bird gardens designed to bring delight to gardeners and birds alike. Few of us have the opportunity to restore 10,000 acres of woodland to its natural condition, but we can still contribute to recreating healthy habitat. With some attention and care, we can make our little piece of the world a better place for wildlife and for the people that respect and delight in it. Bird gardens do that and more: They also increase your daily exposure to birds and other wildlife, provide a calm center for your yard, and create a visual delight for your eyes. plants –form thickets, which provide excellent cover for birds and other wildlife. Brightly colored flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. You can create a pond or stream, which will enhance the habitat and increase the number of species that visit your yard. You can leave bits of the yard untended, which is gener- ally how the birds prefer it, and use only bird-safe organic fertilizers and pest-control measures on the parts that you do maintain. And don’t be too hasty to prune dead wood or take down trees that continue to provide housing for cavity nesters for years. Landscaping for wildlife reflects appreciation for nature rather than domination of it. The look is softer, less manicured than that found in Titmouse 72 Creating a bird-friendly garden is a fairly simple matter. Feeders, bird- baths, nest boxes, and other garden amenities provide a focal point. You will also want to learn how to select and place bird-friendly plants. There are many good resources that will help you enjoy bird garden- ing, including the local library, garden clubs, nurseries, and of course, the internet. Do a little research now and be ready with a plan as the seasons change. Ask yourself how each decision you make contributes to the basic survival needs of birds. Whether your yard is large or small you can create a bird friendly envi- ronment. First up, plant bird-friendly plants, with berries for eating and thorns for protection and heavy branching for roosting (and ducking out of the way of a hungry hawk). As we head into the summer months, look for plants that produce fruit and berries. These plants attract juncos, woodpeckers, jays, along with deer, raccoons, and red foxes. Many of the summer food plants – such as raspberry and blackberry