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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Instead of raking it all up, a little plant debris attracts birds to your yard

Brown Thrasher

Birds like picking through plant debris

Most folks just rake it all up (dead weeds, dead leaves and twigs etc.) Among all that plant debris however, are thousands of tiny, totally harmless bugs. Many north Texas birds love to thrash and pick through this plant debris to dine on the bugs, or find nest material.
     You’ll see this behavior in most warblers, Juncos, Thrashers, the true sparrows and such – and sometimes Cardinals, Titmice and Chickadees (any bird that eats insects - which is over 90% of them). If the plant debris is totally raked up, however, they’ll quickly go elsewhere. Sure, I clean it up where it's unsightly or in the way, but I leave patches of natural debris where birds are apt to find it and go through it .                                                                           


A “pond” and a “wetland” aren’t the same

There once was a natural wetland in Southlake that was a favorite of birdwatchers. Birds too – around 21 species of duck visited it yearly, and many lived there. They visited the wetland because it had a natural shoreline, natural vegetation and such. A recent development filled it in (some thought it was “unsightly”) and it was replaced with a man-made pond. It held the same amount of water, but gone were the things that attracted birds, including migratory birds. This past year, just four species of duck came by (a natural wetland in a neighboring town still had throngs of birds, plus lots of birdwatchers and hikers).



OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.

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