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Corner Property in New England, Attleboro MA.

Featured Site Created By Steve Zenofsky

This New England corner property is certified with the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife Program. The quaint, almost half acre, has numerous food, water, and sheltering options to support resident bird populations. Looking for more ways to support more birds? This gardener may have some ideas for you.

What work has been done to improve this site for birds and other wildlife? How long did it take?

For the winter of 2017-2018, I added three roosting boxes and a heated bird bath. I wanted to create more sheltering areas for birds during our cold New England winters as well as providing water year round for my bird visitors.

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Photo © Steve Zenofsky

During the summer of 2017 I added a new bird feeding station, a handful of bird houses, and a new water feature for birds. Food, water, and shelter have been a successful recipe for supporting my neighborhood wildlife.

What are some successes that you've seen since the improvements were made? (alternatively, "What are you most proud of, or excited to share about this site?")

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Photo © Steve Zenofsky
Winter 2017-2018 is the first time that I’ve had winter roosting boxes in the yard. They are actively used by the smaller birds trying to get out of the cold, wet, and snowy conditions. Birds burn a lot of energy trying to stay warm in the winter.

I’m particularly looking forward to spring 2018, where I plan to add a bat house and begin developing a bee habitat for spring mason bees and summer leafcutter bees to pollinate trees, berries, and more.

Are there any tough decisions that had to be made regarding its management? How were they handled?

None. Creating habitat for wildlife is rewarding and comes naturally. Watch this video of my active backyard.

We see you have used the Planning Tool to set some goals for your site. How has this tool informed or inspired your efforts?

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Photo © Steve Zenofsky
Until I began using the Planning Tool, I had never really thought about setting goals for my yard in a concrete/strategic way. The tool has helped me better clarify the aims and objectives for my yard when it comes to supporting wildlife and developing some inspirational goals. Additionally, the tool is easy and fun to use. It has helped me see my yard differently. For example, using the tool has also provided me a sense of accomplishment as it aids me visually so I can see how the various habitats I create in my yard complement, support, and benefit one another.

Tell us about your engagement with the National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife Program. Does their sign spark conversations with your neighbors or visitors about building habitat for wildlife?

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Photo © Steve Zenofsky
I certified my yard as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat many, many years ago. I keep a plaque on my porch which overlooks my backyard and it does spark some conversation when guests are over to the house. I’m thinking about putting more visible signage at the corner of my house this spring with the hopes of potentially inspiring neighbors who walk by.

Favorite bird or wildlife spotting?

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Photo © Steve Zenofsky
My favorite bird is the Black-capped Chickadee. Last spring, I had the privilege of seeing four Black-capped Chickadees raised in one of my nesting boxes and then I followed them for a few days as they ventured into nearby shrubs. I checked on them daily as they built their confidence to adventure in the yard and learning how to use their wings until they were ready to fly off. It would be great to think they still come to visit my yard.

Once, I had two Mallard ducks take up residence in my yard for a short time even though I don’t live near a body of water. I’ve also seen Red-tailed Hawks grab some birds in my yard. Each was an unexpected, yet exciting attack.