The point made about the warm temperatures and the availability of "natural
foods" is certainly valid. Though I live in an older suburbs built 40 years
ago on hilly farmland, my 3/4-acre yard is more woodland, with no lawn (
mosses, plantains, and other groundcovers). No chemicals anywhere in yard or
garden. I've lived here 26 years and have planted evergreens, bamboo,
several varieties of holly, and a variety of shrubs and bushes along with
50+ year old hickories, oaks, and poplars and I leave tree stumps 15' or
more tall when it's necessary to cut down lightning-struck trees. I leave
all the leaf litter, make brush piles, have six bird baths on the ground and
on pedestals, and use cut wood from downed trees as path borders to slowly
rot to provide great places for grubs and other insects.
In this terrible drought year where I'm down 20+ inches of rain, I have
always had birds working the trees and grounds. The occasional neighbor's
cats that visit receive a two-firecracker salute (never thrown at them, but
near them) and that works to keep them on guard though dogs are always
Even my squirrels aren't pests since I have "Squirrel Buster" feeders that
are absolutely the best, and the squirrels and chipmunks get what falls.
Right now a Brown-Thrasher is working through the leaf-litter and seems to
come up with something good under every leaf.
Tasso, Bradley County
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