January 31, 2020
| Ruby-throated Hummingbird & Monarch Butterfly by Joey Herron | Flickr via Birdshare |
For the fourth season in a row, Cornell Lab and our sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited are rewarding registered FeederWatchers with BirdSpotter prizes. After entering bird counts (data) into the FeederWatch website, participants have the opportunity to share a story, memory, or tip by clicking the “Enter to Win” button on the Count Summary page. Our third of four Data Entry contest prompts was:
There are many ways to improve habitat for wildlife. What do you do to make your backyard a haven for your avian friends?
Congratulations to our randomly selected winner, Gerianne Carillo! Gerianne understands the how important pollinators can be to a healthy ecosystem:
Our yard is a protected sanctuary for all of wildlife. We feed birds all months of the year; we have many different trees and bushes for food and shelter. My favorite action for wildlife has been the propagation of milkweed that we’ve encouraged. Each year we spread the milkweed seeds throughout the field, trying to get as much milkweed the following year as possible. We are monarch butterfly lovers as well as bird lovers!
Milkweed is a great, native plant that helps foster healthy populations of pollinators and other insects. Are you interested in making your yard more wildlife-friendly, but don’t know where to start? We’ve got some suggestions:
- Add brush piles to your yard to provide shelter for birds and small mammals.
- Avoid pesticides and herbicides, which often harm much more than just your target species.
- Plant native flowers, trees, and berry-producing shrubs. Try to provide variety in structure.
- Provide a water source at ground level, such as a bird bath.
- Consider mowing less, or strategically mowing your lawn.*Note: Tall grass can provide cover for ground-nesting bird nests, so it’s imperative to check for these nests if tall grass must be mowed.
- Encourage beneficial insects.
- Add window decals or other deterrents near reflective surfaces to avoid window strikes.
Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their stories! Participants can still submit their story to our last prompt. Enter to win on the Count Summary page that appears after you submit your next FeederWatch count online at FeederWatch.org. Entries will be open until February 20. Interested in becoming a FeederWatcher? Join the fun and you could win great prizes!