Plant Trees Sturdy for the Birdies
Lately, I’ve been waking up every morning between 5-6 AM hearing bird songs. There are sounds of Canadian Geese and Mourning Doves and many other songbirds . The other day, a Black-billed Magpie chased after my dog and me for about 200 feet –cackling all the way. Accidentally, we had stopped under a tree and the bird’s nest. My dog was oblivious. I just wanted to avoid getting dive-bombed. (We did.)
Spring is a rebirth. Watching the tulips shoot up and the songbirds come back is both hopeful and invigorating. My run-in with the magpie reminded me that while we are thinking about our spring flowers and vegetable gardens, it’s important to also think about habitat for our fur and feathered companions.
Its spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.Ranier Maria Rilke
Plant Food for You and Wildlife
Mostly, I plant edible landscaping. In my garden, it needs to be food for me or another species. I plant for pollinators like bees and make sure there are lots of host (larval) and nectar (flowering) plants for butterflies. By choosing from a diverse pallet of plants-shrubs, trees, herbs, and flowers, my garden attracts more beneficial insects, As a result, it reduces the need for pest control.
Create a Habitat
The National Wildlife Federation offers a backyard Wildlife Habitat Certification program. By providing food, water, and shelter for wildlife, and incorporating sustainable gardening practices, we beautify our neighborhoods and build wildlife corridors. These corridors also help migrating birds and butterflies. It’s a fun project for kids to certify their yard. If you get enough neighbors to do it, you can apply for a community certification and be added to the map.
I would be remiss not to add that since we are in the middle of the sixth mass extinction (and the only one caused by humans living out of balance with their planetary boundaries), planting habitat for wildlife and food for you seems like an exceptionally good idea. Remember, trees also remove and sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Below is a short video called Plant Trees Sturdy for the Birdies. I managed the grant that brought this lovely piece of animation to life. Shout out to John Lemmon and company for creating it. The video explains the importance of right tree, right place, shows the difference between native and invasive species, the importance of habitat AND how to plant and maintain trees properly in your yard. It does this all in about 10 minutes and while making you laugh. It was originally made for a South Florida audience (a reference to hurricanes), but its themes can be applied everywhere.