Ann’s Yard – January 1, 2013
I entered my weekly data for the Project Feeder Watch today and had time to reflect on the changes in the bird population since I have begun the transition of my yard to Ecosystem Landscaping. When I began participating in Project Feeder Watch several years ago we had about a dozen bird species coming to our yard. The usual visitors were robins, chickadees, house finches etc. Today I turned in data including a red-breasted nuthatch, a Cooper’s Hawk and Carolina Wrens. Some weeks I have had over 20 species of feathered friends visit my yard. As I have increased native plantings, and the insects they host, I have also increased the birds that love to feast on these insects. Even on a winter’s day, I see the wrens and chickadees searching the azaleas for tasty insect treats. The Cooper’s Hawk is a real treat for me as it completes the avian food web. I have watched it consume doves, juncos and one day it carried off a squirrel. While I begrudge the raptor its feast on my dove and junco friends, it is heartening to know that in the suburbs we can support a full ecosystem, including a top predator. One day as I was filling the backyard feeder, the hawk swooped around the corner of the house in a surprise feeder attack and swooshed within inches of me before veering off to a tree. I can still feel the power of his wings as he changed direction. It’s a visceral reminder that I have truly invited nature back to my yard, and a thrill as I experience its return.
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