To encourage a Fox Sparrow to check out my backyard, I decided to create some new brushpiles this morning. Even if the Fox Sparrow doesn't come, the other little birdies and bunnies will benefit from these winter brushpiles. I put them fairly close to the feeders so the ground feeding birds have a little extra shelter while eating, plus these brushpiles may provide a safe haven in the event of a surprise Cooper's Hawk visit.
First I chose my locations:
Armed with the big, ratcheting lopping shears, I got started.....
I put some white pine branches down first. They make a good base and provide more protection for little birdie toes from the cold and snow below.
Then I just cut down and threw on a bunch of branches from a maple tree and some pin oak branches that still had leaves on. The leaves are nice too as they will allow the snow to pile up on top and give more shelter for the birdies when they fly inside the brush pile.
Here are the other completed brushpiles:
Don't they look nice? I think these brushpiles add a lot more visual interest to the plain white snowy backyard. If we get more snow and they start to get covered up, I can just cut some more branches to add to the pile. In the spring when the snow has melted, I'll just pick all these branches up and add them to the huge brushpile out in my wildflower patch. And I'm pleased to report that within 20 minutes of piling up all these branches....
....the birds were already taking advantage of them. How much more free fun could a person have outside in the middle of winter?
And to make things even better, I got to see a couple of surprise visitors today:
The biggest Ring-Necked Pheasant I've ever seen! (can't you almost hear that sparrow saying, "hey, leave some for us little guys!")
Mr. Red-Bellied Woodpecker (the female has been a regular visitor for weeks now, but today was the first time I've seen the male)