“Gardening is my second biggest hobby next to birding,” said Kendra Bainbridge, owner of Raven Tree in Mount Shasta as she presented an informative talk to the McCloud Garden Club, a service organization, during their March meeting last Wednesday.

“Gardening is my second biggest hobby next to birding,” said Kendra Bainbridge, owner of Raven Tree in Mount Shasta as she presented an informative talk to the McCloud Garden Club, a service organization, during their March meeting last Wednesday.

In the past, she has given presentations about mason bees and bats and how they help the ecosystem in the garden.

Last week’s discussion was about birds in the springtime and how to support them. It was followed by a workshop building nesting materials to attract birds.

Bainbridge gave suggestions to help support the bird habitat around your home and garden which included providing water, especially when water sources are still frozen, protections for birds from raptors by offering covered houses or shelves under eaves and protection from cats by having your cat wear a bright color collar since birds see color and have keen eye sight.

She pointed out how in the springs more song birds, humming birds, and turkey vultures are seen in Siskiyou County.

While most raptors like owls, hawks, eagles, turkey vultures, and falcons nest in rocky outcroppings, other small birds like sandpipers, towhees, juncos and quail nest on the ground. Cavity nesters who will use a nest box include wood ducks, woodpeckers, wrens, and chickadees. Cliff dwelling birds also nest on man-made platforms. In Bainbridge’s workshop she showed ways to help provide the nesting material to support the nesters around your home.

Now is the time, Bainbridge said, to start preparing bird boxes and nesting materials for birds. She recommends that humming bird feeders be cleaned several times a week to prevent mold from growing. Bird houses need to have easy access with ventilation and drainage with a good overhang and no ledges to protect from predators and placed at least five feet off the ground. Mostly, they should be north or east facing with no direct sun in the opening.

To attract jays or robins, a shelf up by the eves works best for those building nests. Jays eat wasps, so they are good to have around.

Using all natural biodegradable materials like burlap, cotton balls, wool, straw, even dog or cat hair, yarn, and string providing it is in four inch strips, stuffing it together in a small burlap pouch or kitchen utensil like an egg wisp to hang around the garden can add to the garden’s ecosystem plus give a decorative accent by decorating the little offerings with felt cutouts.

These materials were provided at the workshop, so people in the Garden Club pulled apart the yarn, wool, cotton balls, and straw and mixed them together in small pouches to hang in their gardens.

Bainbridge offers educational nature talks and demonstrations to schools and organizations. In the fall, she offers a birdhouse building camp for all ages with proceeds going to Siskiyou County Land Trust. One cent of every pound of bird seed sold from her store goes to nonprofit organizations.

The Raven Tree is located at 138 Morgan Way in the Mt. Shasta Shopping Center. To book a presentation call (530) 926-6695.