A long time ago, more than 20 years now, I was doing some very unfulfilling work, exchanging hours of my time for a paycheck, when a little Chickadee grabbed my attention and altered the course of my life’s work in a very positive way.
I had just bought a house and was surveying the backyard which had been sadly neglected for many years. I was dismayed at the fact that this garden was almost completely covered by a jungle of invasive plants that would need to be removed before I could create anything even remotely beautiful in this space.
This sad little space was filled with Norway Maple, Bishops Weed, Sweet Autumn Clematis, Lesser Celandine, Multiflora Rose, English Ivy and other garden thugs. I knew I had my work cut out for me in this space.
But soon the sadness of this place was filled with cheerful song. A tiny little black and white bird landed on a post and sang at the top of its lungs.
It would follow me around the garden, singing all the while, but then fly back to that post and sit there singing away. This went on for several hours. I wasn’t even sure what that bird was, so that evening I went on a mission for two things: a feeder for that bird and a book to help me figure out what it was.
I hung the feeder right away and then began paging through the field guide to birds. I had to do quite of bit of page turning before I finally found what I was looking for: a Carolina Chickadee!
The chickadee did seem to be grateful that I was trainable enough to hang that feeder for it, but I began to wonder what do Chickadees eat if no one is there to hang a feeder for them.
So I began to study any information about birds I could get my hands on. And it soon became apparent that the most important thing we could do to take care of Chickadees and other birds, as well as butterflies and other wildlife, was to stop taking their habitat away, but instead give some habitat back to them by making better choices in our gardens.
And from the very persistent voice of a tiny little Chickadee, a wildlife gardener was born. I’ve devoted my life’s work ever since to creating welcoming habitat for wildlife in gardens around the northeast as well as traveling around the country helping to teach others to do the same thing.
This is just the beginning of my story:
- Part 2: Journey to Become a Wildlife Gardener
- Part 3: Becoming China Bayles
- Part 4: Seduced by a Pretty Face
- Part 5: Thank You Sara Stein
- Part 6: You Are Not Alone
- Part 7: Give a Little Back to Wildlife
What are you doing to give a little back to wildlife?
Carole Sevilla Brown lives in Philadelphia, PA, and she travels the country speaking about Ecosystem Gardening for Wildlife. Check out her new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week.
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