[Tweeters] Re: Feeders

Marian Murdoch marianmurdoch at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 25 09:49:22 PST 2006

In response to Kelly Cassidy's comments about feeders:
Kelly wrote: "Detritus, left lying to decompose slowy, supports the invertebrates that support many birds, and allows the recycling of nutrients back into the ecosystem [...]"
I couldn't agree more. When I lived on Long Island in NY, all my neighbors had immaculate lawns, watered twice a day, raked their leaves, and sprayed pesticides all over their property. I watered my lawn twice a season and my grass established very deep roots. When we had a drought, my grass was the only green one on the block. I raked my leaves into my planting beds and had the most beautiful flowers, the envy of the neighborhood. When my roses were attacked by aphids, spiders would appear and have a tasty snack. Cardinals nested in my naturalized backyard. Piles of fallen branches sheltered birds during the winter. My berries fed them, my milkweed took care of the butterflies. During the 4th of July, all the grackles flew to my yard for protection. My water feature gave them a drink, a bath, and an unfrozen source of moisture during hard freezes. An American Kestrel roosted in one of my trees. 
When I was gardening, I found a salamander under the fallen leaves, a turtle amongst the rocks, and a garden snake slithering past my foot. Would I see these things if I used pesticides? Would I have had such beautiful experiences watching Cardinal babies fledge? Had the satisfaction of knowing my yard was where the animals fled to when frightened because I provided them with natural shelter? 
When we look out at our yards, our gardens, instead of asking ourselves, "what new plant can I add," why not ask ourselves, "how can I make this place more natural?" My feeder was not one that hung from a pole. My feeder was my entire yard.
Marian Murdoch
marianmurdoch at yahoo.com
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