| I want that bird, now!|
No, Clancy, that's a Norma Boeckler drawing.
The Servant of the Servants of God - the pope has used that term for himself, as a sign of his modesty. That is better as a title for the Creation gardener. The chemical gardener, with his mighty rototiller, is always harming soil microbes, decreasing the beneficial insect population, and driving away birds and other worthwhile creatures.
Before spending money on a fad solution, the careful gardener thinks about its impact on all life and questions if the short-term solution is really a good investment of time and money. Rather than rant about harm, let's discuss the good a gardener can do for all life.
|I did not order a chickadee added to my mocha.|
First Benefit of Birds
I spent a lot of time and almost no money figuring out the best solution for attracting birds to our yard, with two benefits. The first one is having them feed at the two windows we use the most - bedroom and kitchen. They are already quite used to us walking by or using the sink, so standing at the window is no problem. The male goldfinches are giving up their drab winter livery for the spectacular gold feathers. The change is subtle at first but already moving toward impossible brightness.
We also observe a constant feeding of cardinals, a very shy bird, now quite used to us and willing to pose for photos. Common finches also feed on sunflower seeds and squirrels leave them alone - for the most part. The young squirrels are content with the fall out, because they have no easy way to poach the food from the Lowe hanging feeders.
| We let the vines continue to grow,|
and now a bird has nested in them.
California Dreamin' Rose.
Second Benefit of Birds
The most important benefit of birds in the garden is their constant consumption of the insect population, which only increases to feed the babies.
I let God manage this since He has been doing such a good job since the Creation. If one kind of pest grows in number, the pest eaters will gladly show up drive that population down.
The birds' greatest need in the summer is not for food, but fresh clean water for drinking, bathing, and preening. They can often find that, but I want them used to our many shallow sources of clean water:
- Two are near the water faucet that sprays water around.
- Two children's swimming pools are cleaned and filled routinely.
- Shallow clay water pans are under the soaker hoses to provide extra water for birds and toads.