This past weekend, before we got blanketed with snow again, we were working at the house and had the great pleasure to see dozens of birds appear seemingly all at once. By the end of the day our back yard was filled with robins and a few other species of birds, and our trees even had a couple of blue jays calling to one another. This sight reminded me of one of the great benefits we will enjoy with our new house.
Because we live in the Mississippi River valley, we will get the opportunity to see a lot of birds throughout the year. In fact, around 60% of all North American bird species use our section of the Mississippi as a migratory flyway. That’s over 300 species of birds. So this is definitely a benefit for Leigh and I who are both casual birders.
Because of this important migratory corridor, among many other reasons, we actually live within the boundaries of a national park. This national park isn’t the traditional type that comes to mind when you think of places like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Instead it is a unique, new type of national park that is comprised of private and public lands identified as a place of significant natural importance. Our neighbors and us are not restricted in any way by land use requirements. However, we have the opportunity to get assistance preserving and improving the natural spaces around us.
The strong ethic of conservation that Leigh and I share will prompt us to do as much for the area wildlife as we can within the bounds of our plans for our dream home. I will be building bird and bat houses to encourage those populations. We will apply for grants from different units of government to establish around 3000 square feet of native plantings in our back yard. By carefully picking which plants we use, this will have the dual benefit of attracting birds and butterflies to our yard as well as deterring local deer populations which will undoubtedly devastate our gardens with grazing. Also, we will implement different strategies to limit water runoff from our property thereby keeping the Mississippi that little bit cleaner and healthier.
I will post pictures here throughout the year of our projects and the great wildlife that we are sure to see!