When I decided to build theparknextdoor website it was in an effort to share the bits of nature I found here in Southeastern Wisconsin with Everyone. I wanted all walks of life to find peace and beauty in nature, just as I do. There is so much of it here, after all.
With all of this recent unrest, my eyes have been opened to the sad fact that people of color are often made to feel unwelcome, or even deemed suspicious when out observing nature. It's unfair and unwarranted. Nature should be bringing different cultures and races together, not separating us further.
Recently a group of Black Birders, Scientists, and Environmentalists joined together to create #blackbirdersweek. An event shared on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. As a birder, I was excited to follow along and meet some of these amazing birders, scientists, and environmentalists. Their enthusiasm and experiences are both heartening and heartbreaking. It was a fantastic and enlightening event to be privy to.
If you follow theparknextdoor on Instragram you may have noticed that I have been sharing many of their posts and stories to my story feed. I've been following some of them for a while on Instagram, but never realized the adversity they met when simply trying to spend a day on a trail or in a park birding. Spending time in nature should bring peace and awe, not fear or discomfort.
I intend to keep sharing these amazing naturalists along with my regular Instagram story feed. If you are on Instagram I invite you to follow along, and follow them as well. Together we can dispel this notion that nature is for a specific type of person or race, certain fitness level, age, sexuality, or ability.
Nature is for All of us. Black Lives must be included in the All.
Personally, I love dandelions. They are one of the first bright blooms of spring, and to me, they bring cheer to the winter-worn landscape.
I'm aware that to many lawn enthusiasts, they are a horrible weed. But I ask that you reconsider. Or at least, find a little room in your space for them.
Not only do pollinators enjoy them as a first bloom of the season, rabbits eat the stems, and, when the blooms are fading, lots of birds eat the seeds as well.
In fact, recently, as I stared out the window on our rain-laden backyard, I spotted several birds munching away at the dandelion seed heads. House Finches, Gold Finches, White-crowned Sparrows, and Indigo Buntings, too!
I recall last season seeing the House Finches enjoying the seed heads, but seeing the Indigo Buntings and White-crowned Sparrows enjoying the seeds today was a first.
Turns out, even if you don't plant a garden, if you leave the dandelions rise, you will feed the wildlife easily.
If you don't want dandelions on the front lawn, or maybe the neighbors scoff, consider at least avoiding the use of harmful pesticides and just mowing them down. Free lawn mulch.
Leave some in the backyard, or start a small brush pile of fallen sticks, branches and twigs, and leave the dandelions surrounding the brush pile. Not only will the dandelions be eaten, but the brush pile will provide shelter for the wild birds. Makes for a great photo-op, too.
I stare out the window a lot these days. Particularly on gray, rainy days of late. The warmth of the sun seems scarce this spring. The days when it shows up are glorious, but, seriously, we need more of them.
Even so, I'm thankful for my room with a view. Our bedroom windows look out on our city backyard, and we are lucky to have habitat that is visited by birds and critters alike. This is our second spring in this house, and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring migrants. Last week saw the arrival of Chipping Sparrows, and a small flock of White-throated Sparrows. We even had a Wild Turkey visit! The White-throated Sparrows are still here, flitting through the habitat, and singing in the rain. This is the beginning...
Last year our biggest migrant day was May 10. I watched in amazement, through the window, as migrant after migrant, and many feathered residents, arrived. I counted a total of about 20 different species, in multiples, throughout the day, and in the few days after as well. Birds I had seen in the wild before, but not in our city backyard.
There were Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Clay-colored Sparrows, Song Sparrows, a Gray Catbird, Baltimore Orioles, Downey Woodpeckers, Hermit Thrushes, a Common Yellow-throated Warbler, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, along with some of the usual summer residents: American Robins, Common Grackles, Starlings, Cardinals, House Sparrows, Gold Finches, House Finches, and Mourning Doves. Crows, too. I was so overwhelmed, I actually cried. It was incredible.
We've added many native plants to the garden since then, several native bushes, a brush pile, and a leaf compost bin. And a couple more birdbaths. I'm hoping these added elements will entice more migrants to visit our avian Airbnb. At the least, I'm hoping visitors from last spring will visit. And bring friends.
The prospect of Spring Migration has been a major balm for me in these Covid-19 times. I try to get out a couple times a week for a walk in local parks and nature trails, but being able to enjoy the comings and goings of wildlife in our backyard habitat has been a welcome distraction as much as a passion.
I'm looking forward to working on the habitat in the coming months, too. We started some plants from seed, a first for us. We shall see how that turns out. I'm sure we will do some curbside pickup from local garden centers as well. Evenings in the backyard surrounded by flowers and birdsong will be a welcome retreat from the stress of current times.
I'm aware that bird watching is not everyone's cup of tea, but in times like these, the melody of bird song, and the beauty of nature might help to fill your cup. No matter where you live, there's bound to be some wildlife in view. Just look out the window.
Bird Watching in Your Neighborhood Park and in Your Own Backyard
I'm a bird nerd. Not, by any means, an expert, but I love birds. I find them beautiful, awe-inspiring, incredible creatures. I love bird watching, and I hike often in an effort to do so. However, it's not necessary to go out into the wilderness to witness birds in their habitat.
Spring is a great time to bird watch in Wisconsin. There are many bird species (about 250) that make Wisconsin their year-round home, but during spring and fall migration, upwards of 400 birds have been recorded throughout the state. Many of these birds pass right over our homes while we sleep at night, en route to their summer nesting destinations. In fact, if you sit outside, late, on a quiet evening, you can actually hear the call of migrating birds overhead. They'll be too high up to see them with the naked eye, but you can hear them. There are even bird migration forecast maps that can tell you when birds are migrating, where they will be heading, and what types of birds are migrating. Check out: birdcast.info
Of course, Wisconsin State Parks and trails are a great place to spot these birds, but don't count out your local neighborhood parks or your own backyard. During migration, birds fly thousands of miles from places like South America, to the United States and Canada, where they will breed, nest, and raise their young over the spring and summer. En route to these destinations, you can find them feeding and resting in green spaces all across the state of Wisconsin. If there's a park or yard with trees, bushes, a bird bath, and a pond or wetland of some sort, they will find it. Bird feeders can help, too.
Just recently I took a walk around the pond at my neighborhood park, McCarty Park, in West Allis, and was gifted with sightings of a Golden Crowned Kinglet, an Eastern Phoebe, and a Hermit Thrush.
I also saw many of our more common resident birds such as American Robins, Goldfinches, Cardinals, House Sparrows, Mallard Ducks, and Canadian Geese.
Inviting the Birds to Your Own Backyard
Chances are, no matter where you live, you see birds. But if you want to attract more of them to your yard, you can do some simple things to make your yard more hospitable. Got trees or shrubs already? Great! Add a simple bird bath. Resident birds will enjoy the water source, as will the migrating birds passing through. You can create a simple bird bath using a medium sized flower pot, putting the bottom flower pot tray in the top of the pot. Fill it with water, and maybe a big rock for birds to land on, and you have a welcoming spot for thirsty birds. A simple bird bath like this can fit nicely on a small patio or balcony, too.
Birds need shelter. Trees and bushes are great. But another simple way to provide shelter for birds is to make a brush pile using fallen branches and sticks. The birds will appreciate being able to find shelter under the sticks, sitting on top of the brush in the sun, and scrounging for bugs to eat beneath the brush as well.
You can place your brush pile off to a corner of the yard, or next to a fence or garden border. We have ours next to a leaf compost bin, in a spot where we can easily see it from the window so we can watch the birds come and go. Brush piles will provide shelter for birds in all seasons. They are great places to hide out from predators, a winter storm, or a heavy rain. Keep an eye on your brush pile. You'll be amazed at the wildlife visiting.
Feed the birds with native plants, shrubs and trees. We have a variety of native plants in our garden. One of the most popular, and easily maintained native plants is Coneflower. This plant returns year after year, and its pollen feeds butterflies and bees, and its seeds, later in the season, will feed many birds. Leave them in the garden over the winter as well, and birds will find them a great source of food during a time of year when natural food is more scarce. For other native plants ideas, visit the National Wildlife Federation website Native Plantfinder.
You can supplement the natural foods available in your yard and garden with bird feeders.
In addition to native plants, we also put out feeders with sunflower
seeds. A wide variety of birds will eat sunflower seeds. You can also plant some of the sunflower seeds in pots, or in the garden. Their blooms will provide pollen for bees and butterflies, and the seeds, again, will feed the birds in the fall through winter.
Bird watching is such a rewarding activity. It helps me to appreciate, and care about, the wildlife that surrounds me. Birds are fascinating, beautiful creatures. I love that I can watch them, and hear their song, whether in my city backyard, neighborhood park, or in wider, wilder environments. I'm humbled, and calmed, by their presence. Hopeful, too.
For more information on backyard birding, visit the Audubon website.
For information on preserving birds and other wildlife, visit the National Wildlife Federation website.
It's been a strange year, already. To say the least. All those new year's hopes and dreams suspended or ravaged by Covid-19. I started the new year by finding out the shop I worked at for 15 years was closing. We spent January and February selling out the merchandise, and clearing the shop. It was hectic and sad, to say the least. When it was over I figured I would take a little time to determine how next to proceed. My hope was to build on THE PARK NEXT DOOR, and add content related to gardening for wildlife.
Like most Wisconsinites, I was tired of winter and looking forward to spring. So I reached out to one of my favorite local garden centers, Poplar Creek Gardens, to see about visiting their green house for a sneak peek. Kae and Robb invited me to spend an afternoon working in the greenhouse planting, and photographing the process. Hands in the dirt, putting tiny little flower plugs in pots. The smell of dirt, divine. Mind you, this is just a snippet of the work being done to have plants ready for everyone's gardens this season.
Poplar Creek has added two large greenhouses to their center this year. Filled with hanging baskets, flats, shrubs, annuals, and perennials. One of the things I love about Poplar Creek is that they use locally grown suppliers, and their plants are not treated with neonicotinoids, an insecticide which has been shown to be harmful to bees. Kae and Robb are extremely knowledgeable about the plants they grow and sell, and host workshops for gardeners as well. Their hanging baskets are spectacular, by the way.
Given the Covid-19 safety precautions, Poplar Creek will be offering curbside pickup and (limited) delivery options beginning this month. Visit their website, or their Facebook page for further details. If we're going to be staying home, we can at least take advantage of this time to get a head start on our gardens and containers, and enjoy the season to come.
Last summer was the first in our house, and we added several pollinator-friendly plants to our garden. I purchased many of these at Poplar Creek, and I look forward to seeing them spring up in the garden this year.
Escape. That's what I'd like to do. Leave all this frightening virus stuff behind. Luckily, escape from stress and worry, for me, usually involves spending time in nature. It's a balm that rarely fails to help. It brings fresh air, some exercise, and a place to clear my head, to enjoy nature's surroundings, listen to the birds calling, wild beauty and peace.
During these strange days of Covid-19, as we stay home, and social distance, in an effort to stem the tide of this malicious disease, we must find ways to stay healthy, stay positive, refreshed. For me, that means getting outside. We can social distance in the outdoors. There is an abundance of green space in South Eastern Wisconsin. Plenty for everyone. Keeping in mind that most indoor facilities are closed, we can still get out on the trails, no matter long or short, for a hike.
The Park Next Door has location listings from Milwaukee, and the surrounding 90-mile radius. From Milwaukee County Parks, to Nature Conservancy sites, State Parks, and regional parks from Milwaukee to Madison, to Horicon, to Sheboygan, to Kenosha, to West Bend, and more.
Following is a quick visual list of some of my family friendly favorites. Click on the images for further information, and be sure to stay informed of any changes in park access status. And if all else fails, take in some sunshine in your garden, on your patio, your balcony, or the front steps. Stay safe, everyone.
Spring has arrived here in Wisconsin, and I'm anxious to see what's going to rise up in the garden in the coming days. We planted several new native plants last summer, and I'm hoping they come back strong this season.
When we decided to pursue creating habitat in our yard and garden for wildlife, we knew it would be essential to include native plants. Even so, I felt like I needed to know more. So, I've been reading books about it. Books about saving our birds, and our bees, and the bugs, and the earth.
One recent book, NATURE'S BEST HOPE, by Douglas W. Tallamy, was eye-opening, and, actually encouraging. Tallamy's overall message is that we can mitigate a lot of the natural crises of our time, the loss of pollinators (bees and butterflies), birds, and more, by creating native plant habitat in our yards, both front and back. By incorporating native trees, shrubs, and plants, we can help to sustain the natural world by increasing the overall wild space collectively with our neighbors, instead of leaving it solely to nature preserves, parks, and wildlife areas. Obviously, those green spaces are essential, but our own gardens can create a corridor between those spaces that doesn't currently exist.
Tallamy gives a great deal of background in the book, explaining the ecological chain of plants, trees, insects, birds and other animals. Plants native to our local environment provide better food and nutrients to the insects, that, in turn, become a plentiful food source for birds and other animals. Non-native plants (plants imported from other countries and environments), may grow fine in our yards, but they do not provide the sustenance needed, though they might in their original habitat.
A popular example of this would be planting for Monarch butterflies. In recent years, there has been a strong push by gardeners of all walks of life, to help shore up the declining population (down 90% since 1992) of Monarch butterflies. By planting native Milkweed, we supply the only appropriate plant to feed the Monarch caterpillar. Once it has become a butterfly, it can feed on other native plants such as: Coneflower, Bee Balm, Sunflowers, Daisies, Asters, Phlox and more. Hence, the recent popularity of butterfly gardens, which are beautiful, and prove beneficial to other insects and animals as well.
One of the things I like about Tallamy's proposition, is that you can contribute to this solution no matter where you live: rural, city, suburb. You can plant a native garden in pots on a little balcony, you can increase habitat in the smallest of yards just by planting a tree, by skipping the use of pesticides, by reducing the size of your lawn by including native plants in your landscape. Suburban yards often have more space, and more opportunity to include native plants and trees in the landscape and garden. Native plants and trees can be used in the landscaping of office buildings, college campuses, even in shopping center parking lots. The idea is to create a thoroughfare for wildlife.
The prospect, as Tallamy explains, doesn't have to be overwhelming. Start simple: stop using pesticides, add a native tree or shrub to your landscape. Incorporate a few native plants into your garden. Substitute native ground cover for some of your lawn. Then build from there, one bit at a time.
As a birder, I have noticed the sad decline of wild birds over the past ten years. Tallamy's book has renewed my hope that we can help the plight of declining birds, bees, and butterflies, by embracing the use of native plants, trees, and shrubs. This spring migration season, listen for the birdsong in your neighborhood. Relish it. Then plant some natives in your green space, and know you play in part in their return next year, too.
NATURE'S BEST HOPE by Douglas W. Tallamy, Timber Press
For a list of native plants in your region, visit the National Wildlife Federation Plant Finder Website
Let's keep this short and sweet. The holiday season is speeding by. If the idea of Christmas shopping makes you break out in a sweat, and you've run out of ideas, you're not alone. I've compiled a list of gift ideas for the Wisconsin nature lovers, birders, and gardeners in your life. There's sure to be something for everyone.
The gift that lasts all year... State Park, County Park and National Park stickers and passes, and yearly Nature Center Memberships, are gifts that keep on giving all year long. It's a great gift for families, too.
Wisconsin State, National, and County Park Stickers:
Wisconsin State Park Sticker
A National Park Sticker
Waukesha County Parks Sticker
Washington County Parks Sticker
Nature Center Memberships:
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
Wehr Nature Center
Boerner Botanical Gardens
River Bend Nature Center
Riveredge Nature Center
Retzer Nature Center
Nature Centers across the state
Books and Publications: You can't go wrong with books and magazine subscriptions that focus on a persons interests.
Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine
Our Wisconsin Magazine
Books for the Wisconsin Hiker and Local Park Explorer
Explorer's Guide - 50 Hikes in Wisconsin
Best Easy Day Hikes - Milwaukee
Ice Age Trail Guidebook
101 Things to Do in Milwaukee Parks: A Guide to the Green Spaces in Milwaukee - by Barbara Ali
Books For the Birder
Field Guide to the Birds of Wisconsin by Charles Hagner
The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future - b
Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in a Life of an Extreme Birder - by Kenn Kaufman
National Geographic Kids Guide of Birding North America
One More Warbler by Victor Emanuel
A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration - by Kenn Kaufman
National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America by Jonathan Alderfer and Noah Strycker
The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human - by Noah Strycker
Books For the Nature Lover and Gardening for Wildlife
Zooburbia - by Tai Moses
The Urban Bestiary - by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Mozart's Starling - by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds - by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Welcome to Subirdia - by John M. Marzluff
Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife - by Nancy Lawson
Wildlife in Your Garden - edited by Karen Lanier
Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife - by David Mizejewski for the National Wildlife Federation
Specialized Gear: There are some great local shops that can help you find the right gear for those on your list.
Sherper's A wide selection of outdoor gear, including boots, camping equipment, binoculars and more can be found at this Milwaukee area local outdoor gear shop
Stan's Fit For Your Feet Hiking Boots, Socks and Accessories
Yellow Wood - A Premier Outdoor Gear Shop
Backyard Birding Gear:
Wild Birds Unlimited Stores - Bird feeders of all kinds, bird food of all kinds, bird baths, books on birding, and a wealth of knowledge in feeding backyard birds.
Wisconsin Garden & Pet Supplies - Wauwatosa - Featuring a wide selection of wild bird feeders and food
Stein's Garden & Home - Wild bird feeders and food in several Wisconsin locations
I tripped over a garden hose. No big deal. Or so I thought. I fell on the inner part of my right knee. I brushed it off. Walked it off. No big deal. No big bruises or swelling. The very next day we went for a short hike to exercise it, keep it limber.
But that didn't do the trick. Within the week I was in major pain, and could barely walk on it. I put my leg up, iced it, took ibuprofen, stretched. Tried to hike again. We did a short hike at Grobschmidt Park. Just about a mile. By the end of that mile I felt like I'd run a marathon. I don't do marathons. I got a couple different knee braces and lamented, "why didn't I get one of these sooner?" - it seemed to be helping. Giving me some stability.
I saw my massage therapist. I did PT exercises, narrowed down what the specific issue was (pes anserine - a group of three tendons), then catered to that. It took 3 months. Three months! But it finally improved. I had about a week where I was feeling pretty good. Then, the other leg started acting up. Stiff knee and sciatic pain. I guess the left side was tired of compensating for the right side...So we're in week three of that. I'm doing PT, massage, cold therapy, ultra sound therapy, Tens therapy, heat therapy. Trying to walk short distances. Once the knee stiffens up, though, that's tricky. So, I'm guessing it will be another few weeks or more before this has settled.
It put us behind on any major hikes, and I had to cut back on some gardening work. That will have to wait until next spring, anyway. But it did force me to look at nature from a different perspective. From the perspective of someone who has an injury, or a disability, or a health issue that makes it difficult for them to endure some of the heartier trails.
We focused on simpler trails, shorter trails, a boardwalk, or just a scenic spot to rest and observe nature. After all, the point is to get outside. To observe nature, be with nature. Recovery takes time. It's not a prerequisite that the trail be difficult, or long.
So whether you are recovering from an injury, an illness, or have limited ability for hiking trails, don't let that keep you home. Get outside. Be it in your own backyard, your neighborhood park, or local nature preserves and gardens. Following is a list of some of the spots we favored these past few months:
Greenfield Park Lagoon - West Allis
This park is a perennial favorite of mine, in every season. It's close to home, and if I'm short on time, feeling tired, or it's bitter cold, the half-mile paved trail around the lagoon is do-able. The trees along the shore are often filled with bird song, and scenic views. They do a great job of plowing the paved trail during the winter months as well.
Wehr Nature Center - Franklin
Wehr has many attributes. Accessibility is one of them. There is a soft trail leading from the nature center building, to a newly expanded boardwalk trail. With viewing stops along the way. Walk as much or as little of it as you like. It's beautiful in every season.
McCarty Park Lagoon - West Allis
Another West Allis park, McCarty Park features paved trails throughout the park, and around the lagoon. Park benches beckon you to stop and enjoy the view. Water fowl swim in the pond, and birds and squirrels decorate the trees. In winter, kids can enjoy sledding down a couple of the snow-covered hills.
Elm Grove Park - Elm Grove
Lovely in every season, Elm Grove Park has a pristine beauty in the depths of winter. The paved trail around the fishing ponds (there are two) are a nice winter walk. Most often plowed, the paved trail traverses around the ponds and through a bit of woodland. Deer are often sighted here along the perimeter of the park and creek.
Franklin Woods Preserve - Franklin
The winding nature trail here is part pavement, part crushed gravel. It's low-impact effort, but high-impact beauty. At just about a mile in/out, it's laden with trees, birdsong, and sunlight in every season. Bonus: it's got a great kids playground at the entrance to the preserve.
Paradise Springs - Eagle
A hike in Kettle Moraine State Forest doesn't have to be arduous. Paradise Springs offers maximum beauty for minimal effort. There's a paved trail that leads to the scenic spring house and back, well under a mile. There is also a sheltered picnic area near the entrance.
A State Park sticker is required.
Ben Hunt Prairie and Cabin - Hales Corners
The prairie here is adjacent to Hales Corners Park, but it has its own parking lot. There is a short paved trail to the cabin, which is open the first Saturday each month (May-Nov) for free tours. Behind the prairie and cabin is a short woodland trail that exits towards the sports field. It's a beautiful bit of nature with birds, trees, and a native prairie garden.
We were backyard birding. That's what started this whole TheParkNextDoor thing. We put up feeders in our tiny urban backyard, and, lo and behold, the birds came. Lots of House Sparrows, of course, but then Goldfinches, House Finches, Downy Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Robins, Starlings, Cardinals. We loved looking out the bedroom window onto the backyard and watching the birds come and go. And not just in summer, but in every season. The bright red of a Cardinal in snow white winter is a stunning sight.
Then we started visiting local parks to see more birds. Turned out, there are lots of birds in Wisconsin. And the first spring migration we witnessed in earnest was amazing. We visited Greenfield Park in West Allis a lot. I can still recall the robust influx of Cedar Waxwings that summer. They were everywhere at Greenfield Park. I was in awe of their beauty.
Then more parks: Brown Deer, Grant, Estabrook, Jacobus, McCarty; and Wisconsin State Parks - Harrington Beach, Aztalan, Havenwoods, and more. Then preserves: Stigler Nature Preserve, Wehr Nature Center, Lion's Den, Lakeshore, Lulu Lake, and on and on. So many green spaces, so many birds!
We discovered warblers (these tiny little songbirds that migrate to Wisconsin in spring), woodpeckers, shorebirds, gulls, herons, cranes, bigger songbirds, thrushes. It was thrilling to see these birds live and in such close proximity. We started our life lists. We added to it.
In the 5 years since this adventure began, we've visited well over 100 green spaces in search of wild birds. The variety we've seen has been stunning. Unfortunately, over the past couple years the number of migrating birds seems to be declining. Though there is certainly a natural ebb and flow, and weather patterns can affect migration paths, I've noticed a decline in the number of birds we see. It's disheartening, and concerning.
So, my husband and I talked about what we can do in our every day life that might make a difference. We moved last fall from our little house with our tiny backyard, to a home with a little bigger backyard. Still in the city, still just minutes from the freeway. But, a fresh start, as backyards and gardens go. And we decided that we would create a garden space not just for us, but for wildlife.
So the journey to a Certified Wildife Habitat began this spring. We already have the same kinds of birds visiting our yard that visited our old backyard. But we were hoping to see more. The new garden already has a good start. It came with two big pine trees, great shelter for our feathered friends, and for squirrels, too. There is a garden with wildflowers already in progress. We weren't sure what would sprout this spring, but it is wild and green. Some weeds, yes, but we've been pulling some of those and filling in with native plants. We've added some bushes that will produce berries in the fall and winter. Some Juniper that will provide berries in the winter months. A crabapple tree that will flower in spring, provide perches and shelter for the birds, and fruit for the birds to eat as well.
We started composting old leaves, and composting greens and vegetables. We put up feeders, and two bird baths. We planted climbing honeysuckle for hummingbirds, and lavender, milkweed, and bee balm, too. It's a good start. The bushes are small, but they will grow. The tree, too. But we've already received rewards aplenty with added wildlife visitors.
This spring migration we had our first Indigo Buntings, Baltimore Orioles, Kinglets, Nashville Warblers, Catbirds, Red-breasted Grosbeaks, Swainson's Thrush, and Red-breasted Nuthatches. All of these sightings in our own backyard!
And the cast of everyday wildlife is impressive, too. Robins, Goldfinches, Blue jays, Starlings, Grackles, Clay Colored Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, House Sparrows, Chickadees, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Chipmunks, Squirrels, Monarch Butterflies, Opossums, Rabbits. An impressive array of nature right beyond our back door. It's a wildlife party beginning at sunrise.
We're still hiking. We're still in search of nature, and wildlife sightings. There's so much here in Wisconsin to explore. But this little bit of green in the city is impressive in its possibility. And it sure is a blessing to come home to after a long day.
We've learned a lot so far. And, we'll be sharing what we learn along the way. So tune in from time to time as we discover humane gardening for wildlife. For all of us, actually.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.