July 5, 2022

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Leave the leaves for our feathered pals | Home & Backyard

Whilst my entrance-yard receives the usual treatment method of mowers and rakes, the yard is yet another story. It’s very well-shaded, and I have labored for years to do away with non-native, invasive vegetation these kinds of as English ivy and leatherleaf mahonia. When the leaves slide in autumn, they’re permitted to lie there in which they lead to making soil that shelters and nurture a vast selection of worms and bugs — also acknowledged as fowl food.

So, I was intrigued when I observed Lily the housecat peering out the bay window, forefeet on the window ledge, evidently entranced by a little something out there amongst the leaves. I expected to see a chipmunk, cheeks bulging with acorns, or a squirrel waving its tail in the air — two prevalent sights that are always selected to get Lily’s focus.

But what commanded her focus was in fact some thing significantly stranger. That significant expanse of leaf litter looked like a huge popcorn popper, 10 or 15 minor explosions of leaves every single couple seconds. Nearer inspection uncovered a flock of robins, just about every one tossing leaves in excess of its shoulders, hoping to uncover a worm or bug.

Robins are nicely-acknowledged for extracting earthworms from lawns, but they are similarly fond of fruits these as dogwood, black cherry and juniper berries, and a vast variety of bugs. In winter season, most of the bugs are not flying about, but they are in the soil and leaf litter.

Ground foraging habits is prevalent in sparrows, too, and sparrow diversity is bigger in winter than in summer time in our location. Throughout the summer nesting season, track sparrows can be read from seemingly just about every suburban yard. Chipping sparrows, subject sparrows and the a lot more reclusive grasshopper sparrow round out the variety in the course of summer months.