Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
birds in nature has challenges that often discouraged us.Too often the birds win and we slink away in
don’t use your binoculars to begin with. Binoculars severely limit your area of
view to a very small portion of what it should be;a “target bird” may be just a few feet
outside of your area of view, and you’ll never know it. Instead, keep
binoculars handy, but in your lap, to use only when you actually see a bird.
first, look at the whole expanse in front of you with your unaided eyes.
Try not to focus on a single area or item, but let your eyes cover the whole
viewing area. Movement is much easier to spot that way, which will easily
locate a bird among motionless branches and such (since birds have a need for almost-constant motion). I try to
‘back off’ putting anything in sharp focus until I see motion.
you see motion, it’s probably an actual wild bird. Swing into action! With a
reference point in mind, bring the binoculars to your eyes and train them on
the bird. (Practice doing this without
losing your target bird). Then adjust the binoculars, focusing to get the
the urge to look for the bird right then in a field guide. Instead, deliberately
recite its characteristics to yourself such as “small bird, brown body, one
white wingbar, short conical beak, two white bars on head“ and such. After the
bird flies away (which he’ll probably do in 5 or 6 seconds) you’ll have plenty
of time to check your field guide.
about all there is to it; except for obvious matters like avoiding loud noises,
sudden movements and bright clothing. Also hope for a relatively calm day, when
strong winds don’t put branches in motion, and more birds are out and about.
Trivia that has nothing to do with birds I just thought it was
interesting, and I hope you do too. Velcro was created about 60 years ago by a
Swiss inventor. He was curious why cockleburs stuck to his clothes so
ferociously. Under a microscope, he saw that its surface is a mass of tiny,
interlocking hooks, which he fabricated.Hence, Velcro.
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 Yost87@charter.net in Denton.