Here’s a New Year’s resolution from the master naturalists.
Now is the perfect time of year to start a brush pile. They can be located as a bridge between two habitats, such as a pond and a woodland, near a feeder, or simply in a corner of your yard. A brush pile serves many of nature’s purposes. Butterflies and moths will overwinter in them, birds will shelter and feed in them, and small mammals and reptiles will also use them as a shelter and feeding place.
Place the heaviest materials like logs or rocks at the bottom with smaller branches on top, but don’t use any kind of chemically treated wood. Criss cross the layers log-cabin style. Add some leaf litter to the top. Place materials loosely, and plant native vines to cover it. Sparrows, wrens, and cardinals love brush piles, to name just a few types of birds.