Wrenaissance Reflections
my path to embodied, feminist, earth-centered spirituality

Welcome to Wrenaissance, Backyard Wildlife Habitat #23563.

A month later, I’d changed the home page a little, added some photos, and included a habitat inventory. The author page and the lists of resources, habitats, and wildlife observed were unchanged, so I didn’t repeat them here.

A Little Wrenaissance History

To the great amusement of my family and friends, over the last four years I have become devoted to the idea of creating a wildlife sanctuary in our suburban yard. I had no idea this was going to happen – in fact, when house hunting, I was an advocate of buying a townhouse or large condo and it was my husband-to-be who felt strongly about buying a single family home. We found a house we liked, we didn’t find a townhouse or condo, and we both got tired of house hunting, so we ended up with the single-family house and a yard and a deck and all the accouterments of life in suburbia, including a bird feeder.

And I fell in love with the birds.

I became fascinated watching them. My love of animals and my interest in the environment merged as I learned about the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program. And so I began…

Confessions of a reluctant gardener

Having lived in apartments all of my adult life, gardening is a great mystery to me. I have no inherent green thumb. I’m not one of those people that loves to garden. Instead, I see planning, planting, weeding, and all those other outdoors chores as a means to an end.   Fortunately, my “end” is to build a backyard wildlife habitat using native plants, which are by definition suited to the climate, soil conditions, and coexistence with other native plants and wildlife. Native plants are lower maintenance   – i.e., less work – and strongly resistant to damage, disease, and inexperienced gardeners. Perfect for me!

Habitat Inventory

Plants that provide wildlife foods

  • Large Trees
    • Oak (2)
    • Paw-paw (2)
    • American Holly (1)
    • Pine (1)
  • Small Trees
    • Dogwood (1)
    • Serviceberry (1)
    • Apple (1)
    • Magnolia (1)
  • Shrubs
    • Cotoneasters (5)
    • Butterfly Bush (1)
    • Azalea (1)
    • Blackhaw Viburnum (1)
    • Highbush Blueberry (1)
    • Inkberry (3)
    • Winterberry (3)
    • Spicebush (1)
    • Holly (2)
    • Juniper (1)
    • Rhododendron (1)
    • Rose of Sharon (1)
    • Pussywillow (1)
  • Annuals and Perennials
    • Columbine (7)
    • Cardinal Flower (10)
    • Bee Balm (6)

Feeders & Food

  • Tube feeders
    • Thistle
    • Sunflower
    • Peanut
  • Platform/Hopper
    • Mixed Seed
  • Suet Feeder
  • Hummingbird Feeder


  • 1-2 birdbaths depending on time of year


  • Pine tree
  • Magnolia
  • Holly-Juniper-Laurel Hedgerow
  • Groundcovers – ivy, day lilies, irises, cotoneasters

Places to raise young

  • Mature Trees
    • Oak (2)
    • Maple (4)
    • Pine (1)
  • Small Trees
    • Dogwood (1)
    • Serviceberry (1)
    • Crabapple (1)
    • Magnolia (1)
    • American Holly (1)
    • Redbud (1)
    • Rose of Sharon (1)
  • Shrub Masses
    • Holly (2)/Juniper (1)/Laurel (3)
  • Nesting Boxes (1)

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