Viewing the World from a Backyard Bird Blind

By: Michael Jewell, Travis Audubon Master Birder

Anticipation is one of the best things about life, and sitting in a blind is all about anticipation. Janel and I live approximately two miles south of Central Market south in an older neighborhood. The nearest greenbelt is at least a mile or two away, but due to the layout of the property, we have a small wooded area behind the yard. Through the years we have transformed our yard to be a bird and wildlife friendly place with lots of native plants, cover, bird feeders, and six bird baths.

Carolina Chickadee

Quite a few wonderful birds have visited and enjoyed our yard, including Yellow-breasted Chats, Painted Buntings, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, Screech Owls, Red-shouldered Hawks, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Red-eyed Vireos, Blue-headed Vireos, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Nashville Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, Downy Woodpeckers, Bewick’s & Carolina Wrens, Orange-crowned Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Catbirds, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

This year, I set up my “Dog House” Blind in the backyard for bird photography. With a simple addition of a fallen limb for a perch, suddenly being in the “Dog House” had a whole new meaning.

I started setting out seed, peanuts and meal worms, but found I was fighting off the squirrels more than taking photos of birds. Just simple–really simple–landscaping, native plants, and water is all I use to attract birds.

Springtime is the best with the most birds passing through, and this year has been great with the really hot weather holding off for a bit. I should add, Dog House Blinds are like a saunas during hot weather, but quite comfortable when it’s cool outside. I have a comfortable a lawn chair in mine, with a Home Depot orange bucket to use as a table to hold my water bottle and an extra battery. Henry David Thoreau, in Solitude wrote, “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than to be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

Lesser Goldfinch

Yellow-rumped Warbler

All photos courtesy of Michael Jewell.