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Attracting Birds as Beneficials

May 25, 2010

Interested in attracting birds as beneficials to your garden?

(Original Post from May 25, 2010)

Earlier this month, I shared the story of growing a gourd, which became a bird house in our garden. I also shared that I had spied, but hadn’t yet photographed, a pair of chickadees nesting in our gourd.

Chickadee Delivering Fresh-from-the-garden food to it's Young

Chickadee delivering fresh-from-the-garden food to its young

After I published the earlier article, I feared I had scared off the nesting pair while photographing. But, true to their notorious intrepid nature, the happy couple continued to hang out in the gourd, building their nest, laying their eggs and now, feeding their hatchlings. Over the last few days, we’ve watched mom and pop taking turns flitting to and from the nest with all sorts of wormy goodness for their young.

Today, as I watched crows raiding a nearby robin nest from which it appears they’ve plucked at least one bald baby bird, I patiently waited by the well-hidden chickadee nest with my camera posed. The nest was quiet and still. Even as the finches and robins teamed up to battle back the crows, I heard no dee-dee-dee’s – until I started to give up. Then, very quietly, I heard them – as though they were whispering. Following, despite their attempted stealth, the rustling of wings in the rhodie gave away a parent bird flying away – ostensibly to bring home some dinner. So, I waited. I assumed a nearby position, knowing from days past that these tame little birds will enter their home even when I’m weeding or harvesting just below them.

Armillaria "Bloom" in Autumn

Armillaria “Bloom” in Autumn

In the distance, the crows continued their destruction and cackle. The robins ruffled their feathers and the finches dove and bobbed at the bigger birds, angry. Then, a flutter, just by my hand. I jumped. I’m skittish that way. But, still, I managed to get off the single shot capturing dinner arriving at the front door for the kids. And, if I’m not mistaken, the dinner item is quite likely a young cabbage worm, snatched from what may very well be my own dinner soon. So, let’s see…grow your own food, build habitat, reduce/recycle/reuse, and the eco-system may very well take care of itself.Β  Sure, it may not be a perfect system. For instance,Β  I have yet to see a great solution emerge organically in the garden to deal with the various other pests coexisting with beneficials in my space — from slugs on the lettuce to the crows in the trees to the Armillaria in the soil — but it’s a start and frankly, I’m okay with a little imperfection here and there. Who knows? – What I now judge as “bad” may quite likely someday be “good”?


  1. […] Stay tuned for more updates on the darling chickadees. Caught on camera here! […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by gardenmentor, gardenmentor. gardenmentor said: New blog post: Attracting Birds as Beneficials http://bit.ly/cchX1r […]

  3. Love the way you brought the whole story full circle! Great shots Robin.

  4. […] I’ve been writing about birds as beneficials. Now, I’m going to tell the tale of birds-gone bad. Fledglings I’m ready to kick out of […]

  5. […] birds, from fledgling robins to chattering chickadees to a variety of hummingbirds, swoop through the garden, snatching undeserved bites of blossoming […]

  6. […] cabbage caterpillars, and other pesky insects when spring comes into bloom — gotta love those songbirds as beneficials in the garden! Perhaps we’ll even grow a few more birdhouse gourds just for him this summer, […]

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