Nov 23, 2015 | Featured Web Article

The Value of Brush Piles

BWD editor Bill Thompson, III, and his son Liam construct a brush pile in the backyard of their house in Marietta, OH.
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If the weather gets harsh in your part of the continent, you can give birds shelter, a safe place to eat, and a place to hide from predators with a backyard brush pile. Simply pile up sticks, fallen branches, and even your holiday tree when you're done with it, to form a brushy tangle. Add raked-up leaves or bunches of grass/weeds/cornstalks to the windward side for additional protection from the wind and precipitation. By leaving an open space on the ground in the center of your brush pile, you create a protected feeding area of ground-foraging birds such as towhees, juncos, sparrows, wrens, and others who are less likely to visit a hanging feeder. This is an ideal place to scatter mixed seed, cracked corn, and sunflower hearts. When a sharp-shinned or Cooper’s hawk makes a pass through your yard, the brush pile offers readily accessible cover for the songbirds at your feeders. This bit safe-harbor habitat will also make your feeders more appealing to woodland birds, especially if your feeding station is located in the open. The brush pile becomes an island of safety, which the birds will take advantage of going to and from your feeders.

About Bill Thompson, III

Bill Thompson III is the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest by day. He's also a keen birder, the author of many books, a dad, a field trip leader, an ecotourism consultant, a guitar player, and blogger.

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