Backyard Voyagers

Landscape / Thursday, December 28th, 2017

An unfamiliar bird calls from the top of a Sugar Maple; loudly buzzing Bumble Bees swarm a patch of Ragusa Roses; a Cooper’s Hawk lands and hops under some hollys, looking up, to see if there might be a potential meal hiding within the leaves. We are Backyard Voyagers. Everyday as I look out on or walk in our backyard I notice something that puzzles, interests or astounds me. Whatever it is, fauna or flora, there is always something to discover.

I started this blog to share with like-minded people, Backyard Voyagers, the pleasures and wonders of creating backyard environments — however big or small — that will attract and encourage wildlife for us to admire and enjoy. Our participation in our environment can enhance our lives and make us feel more a part of the natural world. It could be as simple as an unexpected plant, a type of butterfly or bee, or some reptile laying eggs.

(From left to right) A Spring Peeper blends into a Hydrangea leaf; an Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar munches on parsley; an angry Common Garter Snake found along a stone wall.

For the past twenty years, my wife and I have lived in the western part of Connecticut. Our yard abuts woods with a body of slowly moving water about fifty yards or so from the back of our house. I knew this place was for me when we came with a realtor to view it for the first time, and as we pulled up, a rafter of turkeys (a friend of mine pointed out this is the correct term for a group of turkeys) walked across the side lawn. I was sold!

Attracting Wildlife To Your Yard

We’ve been working to enhance our yard ever since, a little at a time, to encourage other types of wildlife to the yard by creating gardens, adding layers of shrubs and trees, and microenvironments — intentional or not. Our efforts have led to attracting creatures of all kinds such as a wide variety of insects including Monarch Butterflies, reptiles including nesting Snapping Turtles, as well as, many types of birds and mammals.

In all honesty, we’re not experts at gardening, birding, plant or tree identification or anything else I can think of. We have, however, done our share of research and experimentation with plantings; studied the many varieties of insects, birds, reptiles and mammals we’ve seen; and created (or tried to create) areas to attract specific types of wildlife. We also continually talk to many people about their personal experiences in doing the same and I’m always fascinated by the similarities, differences and uniqueness of people’s stories.

I invite you to be a reader and contributor to Backyard Voyagers. Our journey in creating for and interacting with wildlife is an activity of lifelong enjoyment and fascination. We’ll keep learning about, experimenting with and sharing our experiences of our very own wildlife kingdoms — our backyards.

Taking an early spring cruise through the wetlands.