One of the many perks to owning a garden is being able to care for and maintain it to your liking. Many gardeners do this by pruning their plants in the fall or winter, but some learned that leaving their gardens alone until spring can also have its benefits.
Pruning, or cutting away dead or injured parts, is often promoted to keep plants well-manicured and healthy. It assists future growth as well. However, in the r/NativePlantGardening subreddit, a Redditor shared that they leave their garden alone to help another species.
“These guys are why I don’t pull cut back or pull till spring,” the original post reads alongside a video of a little slate-colored bird hopping and eating among the brambles. “I love them!”
The birds featured in the video were quickly identified as juncos in the comments.
“One of my favorites. Cute little winter derps,” a commenter replied.
The junco, a small member of the sparrow family, is a ground-feeder, which means it likes to eat seeds or millet from the earth, according to Travis Audubon. Juncos are also colloquially known as “snowbirds.”
Yards with native plants can help attract these birds. This natural way of feeding wildlife not only brings joy but also protects the species.
As wildlife expert John Griff (@griffwild) explained in a TikTok video, feeding wildlife through native plants is safer for both animals and humans. Otherwise, animals will get too comfortable with humans and lose their natural defenses.
If you want to attract more wildlife, you can grow native plants, which have adapted to thrive in their local areas. These plants are also more eco-friendly because they are easier to maintain. They don’t require fertilizer or mowing, and they need minimal pest management. Furthermore, their water needs are lower than those of non-native plants, resulting in cost savings.
So, if you like cute birds and want an easier-to-manage yard, try growing native plants and not pruning them until the spring — you don’t even need a feeder.
“I have 5 feeders, but these porkers prefer the ground. They also seem to really appreciate the pine straw!” the OP shared, elated with their winter company.
“Wish we had them around in winter, but they only migrate through over the course of a few weeks. Hilarious little dudes,” another person said.
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