Rivers, meadows, and wetlands may beckon, but sometimes the nicest place to be is at home in your own back yard. This morning I’m outside, feet propped up, a glass of sun tea at my side. I’m watching the creatures who live – or at least take their meals – in our yard. Our tiny prairie planting attracts butterflies, bees, and other insects, as do our vegetable gardens.
The insects attract bluebirds, house wrens, catbirds, and other birds. More species, including chickadees, cardinals, and goldfinches, come for the seeds in the feeders. The songbirds sometimes attract Cooper’s hawks and nest-raiding blue jays and crows.
Squirrels race up and down the trees. They’re waiting for me to go inside so they can attack the herbs on the deck. In a few months they’ll be littering the yard with remnants of black walnuts and horse chestnuts. And next spring, we’ll find tiny trees sprouting where the squirrels buried their loot.
It’s a large yard, and we’ve worked to provide for wildlife. But even the smallest outdoor space – any place where a bird can perch or a little something can grow – provides an opportunity to watch plants and animals interacting with each other. And that interaction provides a glimpse into the lives of the creatures with whom we share our home.