Leave the Leaves (for the Thrushes!)

Three years ago, I spotted the first Hermit Thrush I’d ever seen in my backyard.  She was standing on our concrete patio, poking her bill beneath the scattered autumn leaves and nibbling the worms and other tasty invertebrates  found there.  Since then, we stopped sweeping the leaves off of our patio, and we never rake them from the yard, where they provide free, natural mulch, and encourage more worms  and bugs to the surface for more beautiful thrushes. These are birds that don’t eat many seeds, so aren’t attracted by birdfeeders.  Many of them, like the Varied and the Hermit thrushes are woodland birds, preferring not to come out into the open unless they have a good reason.  Today the Varied Thrushes outside my window are busy turning leaves; I haven’t seen a Hermit in the yard yet this fall, but I hope to.  And of course robins are thrushes, too.  As the last winds of autumn blow through, consider leaving a natural layer of leaves for the urban wildlife–it can help turn the wasteland of an urban/suburban “lawn” into sustenance for some of the loveliest native birds.

Female Varied Thrush

Thank you Flickr users Lynette S, and rogerwshaw!


  1. Debi Wodraska

    Hi, Lyanda! I signed up for your blog posts to come to my inbox but, I haven’t been receiving them. I liked your FB page, but not everything shows up in my newsfeed, so I thought it good to have both avenues to read your insights and tips (I’m a brand new urban homesteader; just moved to a house in the city w/my 3 hens & my other pets end of August).
    I was introduced to your blog via your book.

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