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backyard sanctuary

America's Love of the Lawn

According to NASA, there are about 63,000 square miles of lawn in the US — nearly enough to cover the state of Wisconsin. That’s bad news, because most birds (other than this European Starling) prefer shrubs that provide food and cover. And lawns suck up fertilizers, herbicides, fossil fuels, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary

Screech-Owls Are Looking for a Home

Looking for a project this winter? Consider giving screech-owls a helping hand. Eastern and Western Screech-Owls span the wooded areas of the continent, nesting in tree cavities left vacant by large woodpeckers. However, such natural housing opportunities are often in short supply. That’s where... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, nesting

What's Different this Year? We Ask Listeners

BirdNote asked our Facebook fans about the birds they observed in their yards this spring. Some people say they have more birds. Others say fewer. And why? Changes in habitat mean changes in species. In one person’s yard on San Juan Island, in Washington State, more trees mean more Barred Owls.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, gardening

Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: An Oasis for Birds

Carolyn Ohl-Johnson found a home — and a way of life — near Big Bend National Park. BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited Carolyn at the desert oasis she created for birds such as this Magnificent Hummingbird. But her accomplishment has required tremendous sacrifice. “I haven’t seen my great... read more »

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Alex Chadwick in Big Bend: Banding Hummingbirds

BirdNote contributor Alex Chadwick visited the outskirts of Big Bend National Park in Texas to meet with Kelly Bryan, a retired park manager and biologist who spends his days placing tiny bands on hummingbirds to better know their habits. Kelly has banded more than 14,000 birds!Funding for the... read more »

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Swifts Roost in Chimneys

What could bring crowds of people out after sunset on a September evening to stare at  . . . a chimney? Swifts, of course! Scores of swifts form a funnel-shaped cloud above the right kind of chimney, then they begin their descent. First one, then a few more, then dozens, then hundreds swirl... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, ecology, migration

Sanctuary and Bird Sound - with Patti McLead

When Patti and Patrick McLead purchased land near the Edwards Plateau in Texas, they wanted to create a bed and breakfast that doubled as a bird sanctuary. They built cottages and created a meadow. When they put in a pond, birds were quick to respond. This Black-crested Titmouse is among the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary

Triple-duty Garden - with Joanna Buehler

What can one person do when large-scale human development replaces nearby natural habitat? Seattle-area lakeside resident Joanna Buehler spoke out for clean water and the needs of wildlife. As she watched parking lots and buildings replace wetlands and woods, she created a rain garden where storm... read more »

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Winner of Listener Survey Drawing Announced

Winner of Listener Survey Drawing AnnouncedCongratulations to Lynn D. of Westby, WI, the winner of our random drawing for Nikon binoculars! Lynn graciously shared the story behind this incredible photo of Red-bellied Woodpeckers – and her love of nature."If you sit still on a snow-covered log... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, birdfeeding

Birds in the Winter Garden

Put your winter garden to work as a haven for birds. Leaves and brush left to compost provide foraging and roosting places, smother this year’s weeds, and feed next spring’s plant growth. Watch for juncos and towhees in the leaf litter, and wrens in the brush. Maybe even a Song Sparrow, like this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, gardening

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