Here’s my new backyard, in Marietta, Ohio, as viewed from my kitchen window. Positives: A big ol’ tulip tree! Should be a good source of bugs for insectivores and good perching spot for songbirds and hawks. Also, a big ol’ holly tree full of berries. Great food source for winter residents. There’s also a shrub with red berries on the other side of the yard. Not sure what kind it is, but I’ll find out. Negatives: Way more grass than I’m used to. My yard in Bloomington was much larger, more than an acre fenced, and mostly woods. It took me 5 minutes to mow the grass there. Here, since I’m renting, I’ll have to keep it tidy and conventional. Mowing. Raking. Yuck. Grassy expanses expanses aren’t attractive to birds. So, without investing too much in landscaping, I’m going to attempt to keep this yard looking attractive to people (especially my landlord), while becoming more attractive to birds. I’ve hung a couple of bird feeders and found a rusty old birdbath under the holly tree. But more on all that to come.
About the Author
Dawn Hewitt is the managing editor for Bird Watcher's Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. She has been watching birds since 1978, and wrote a weekly birding column for The Herald Times, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Indiana, for 11 years.