Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Spring Nesting

This spring our wildlife garden has seen a lot of activity. Last year, during my 365 Nature Project, we watched a Bewick’s Wren pair make a nest in our backyard nest box, while a pair of American Robins built a nest in our front yard. This year the wrens returned, but opted for a different nest box. In our backyard I have put up a red box, which the wrens chose last year. I also have a blue box hanging from the garage which has never been used. Then there’s the wood box built by my husband, also never used. Last year I found another wood box at a thrift store and stashed it in the garage. It’s meant to be mounted on a post and this spring I just wedged it into our forsythia for a lack of anywhere better to put it.

To my surprise,…

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Spotted Towhee Nest

A week or so ago I realized we may have a Spotted Towhee nest in our backyard, in addition to the Black-capped Chickadee and Bewick’s Wren nests. I was pulling weeds in the area which used to be a large deck and will one day be a wildlife pond, when a towhee flew up from almost under my feet. Realizing what it meant I quickly retreated and left the area to its own devices for the time being. Instead I started to watch, and indeed, a pair of towhees were constantly on the fence and in the neighbor’s tree. A couple of times I crept back to the corner of the garden trying to find the nest, but after some scolding from the towhees I quickly abandoned the search.

They were very sneaky, flying in and out from different places and I couldn’t discover where the nest was. Once I’d think…

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: The Beginning

Welcome to a new column feature at The Metropolitan Field Guide, the Diary of an Urban Wild Garden, where I plan to write about my wildlife garden in Seattle, the design, how it’s doing, what I’m currently doing, what I see and more. It’s about time I started this, as the garden is now in its third year. This first post is an overview of what the yard was like in the beginning, and what we’ve done so far.

Nearly three years ago we moved into our first house. Having lived in rentals and apartments, this was my first chance at putting my Landscape Architecture education into practice. It’s gone surprisingly well so far! When we moved in during the fall of 2012, we had a six month old baby and this was our first house. Steep learning curves on both fronts! The backyard had almost no plants; a lone forsythia…

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