Saturday, November 17, 2012

LaBonBon's Law of Unintended Consequences

Law of Unintended Consequences

Always remember the Law of Unintended Consequences when you take on a landscaping project.  This summer we started step one of a long range plan that would involve replacing the weedy, overgrown pasture with native plants, grasses, shrubs and trees that would benefit the wildlife.  In the process of removing scrubby vegetation, trimming trees, etc. we created a large brush pile that we had planned to burn as soon as there was snow cover on the ground.  

Bon Bon Pond Brush pile
Not so fast

Since its late summer inception, the pile has attracted Chickadees, Sparrows and Cardinals, plus seemingly every Dark-eyed Junco that makes its winter residence at Bon Bon Pond. My beloved little gray avians are all over the pile, darting in and out, and even disappearing into its dark recesses for long periods of time.

Juncos are commonly called “birds of the ground”  as they are usually observed hopping on the forest floor  pecking or scratching at leaf litter and gleaning food from twigs. With these predilections, I now see it’s only natural these birds would be drawn to the brush pile, which will also provide shelter during the cold winter months.

Change of plans

Back to the drawing board!  “Ye olde brush pile” will stay put until spring, after it has served its unexpected purpose of protecting and feeding my winter residents.

Actions have reactions

I learned a significant lesson from this experience.  Nearly everything we humans do outdoors has repercussions for the wildlife. 

You can see where the birds have already made an entrance hole to the pile

While it’s great to have a well-intentioned picture-perfect plan, oftentimes there are unanticipated consequences which require wildlife lovers, like me, to make a detour of sorts.  In my case, I’m stuck with a messy eyesore for four months but the animals have a hospitable habitat for winter.  All in all that’s a pretty good tradeoff around Bon Bon Pond.

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