When planning my native plant garden I read to leave a certain amount of brush in your yard to
provide habitat for birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. In nature fallen branches and leaves are abundant for any creature to take advantage of. In our quest to make our yards look tidy, we create unfriendly spaces for the furred and feathered.
Years ago on my rural property, I had an abundance of quail. When new owners bought the adjoining property they cleared all the brush and brambles on the fenceline. Not too long
after, the quail disappeared.
This fall my husband created a large brush pile when limbing a damaged tree in the backyard. He was planning on putting it through the chipper but the winter weather set in before he had the chance. In the meantime, we both noticed a plethoraof birds that were taking shelter in the pile.
Now we are going to distribute the brush along our side of the fence line rather than do away with it.
While you’re at it, if you have outside cats or have cats in the neighborhood, place some branches below your bird feeders to discourage cat predation on birds feeding on the ground. This has been an effective deterrent for our indoor-outdoor kitty
You can make your brushy habitat look more attractive than ours. If you live in a suburban or urban area, keep it in your backyard so you upset your neighbors. Better yet, tell them why you are leaving your yard trimmings.
For further information on brush pile habitats check out this article.
Artwork by the author