How to turn your yard into subirdia

John Marzluff and his publisher, Yale University Press, recently teamed up to make a 5min film describing how to turn your yard into a haven for birds of all kinds.  After almost a decade of research, John’s latest book, Subirdia, describes what he’s learned about the avian diversity that can exist in the suburban landscape.  Don’t underestimate the power of you have to create critical habitat for birds and other wildlife within your own backyard.  Check out the YouTube video for all the details.  You may even spot a cameo from me!

John Marzluff's newest book which describes the awesome power of suburbia to become a heaven for a huge diversity of birds.  Illustrations by my friend and colleague, Jack Delapp.


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6 responses to “How to turn your yard into subirdia

  1. Wonderful video, full of great ideas. Thanks for sharing. Re the cameo – was that you feeding the crows?

  2. Yes, those are the crows outside my campus office that I feed everyday. I think they we’re a little nervous around the big camera!

  3. Lovely video with some great ideas and a strong message. But it’s surely not correct to say that domestic cats are “the number 1 killer of birds”, is it? Do domestic cats kill more birds than cold weather? Or lack of food? And I thought that all of the evidence pointed towards feral cats as the main culprits?

    • Jeff, it’s more clear to say that cats are the #1 anthroprogenic source of bird mortality in the US and many other countries. And again, yes, feral cats are a bigger part of the problem, but don’t let that trivialize the significance of household pets. When I got my kitty, I pledged to keep her inside at all times and I must say, in contrast to all of my friends who have indoor/outdoor cats, I’ve never once had a bird, mammal, or reptile brought to my front door. Perhaps more importantly for me as a pet owner, I’ve also never had to take my kitty to the vet after a run-in with another neighborhood cat (as I did many times growing up with outdoor cats). Nor do I anticipate having to say goodbye to my kitty after a deadly interaction with a car. All that considered, it’s been a rewarding option for me to keep my kitty indoor only and I stand with other scientists like John Marzluff in encouraging other owners to do the same 🙂

      • Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trivialising the role of domestic cats. But I think it’s important to qualify any statements about cats as “number 1 killers” in exactly the way that you do, but which the video doesn’t. Cats get a raw deal and are far more persecuted and ill treated than other domestic pets, sometimes by people who can’t see past the “cats are bird killers” headline.

        In fact killing of wildlife by domestic cats is very individualistic in my experience, and relates to some extent to whether or not the cat has been spayed. At some point in the future I plan a blog post on the topic.

  4. Looking forward to your post Jeff!

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