Wilma Davis, a Memphis Area Master Gardner, will lecture Monday on how to attract native birds as part of the TIGUrS’ Animal Conservation lecture series.
Davis used to work at The Wild Bird Feeding Industry in Jackson Springs, Miss., until she retired nine years ago.
“I’ve always been interested in gardening and took the (Master Gardener) class,” Davis said. “It covers plants, soils, insects, turf, a little bit of everything. They say that if you take this class and try to get a bachelor’s in agriculture, you’ll just need English, history, things like that.”
Davis said the best way to attract wild birds to a garden or green space is to provide ample water, food, nesting habitats and protection habitats like trees and shrubs.
“Nesting habitats are for the cavity nesters like chickadees, titmice and nuthatches,” Davis said. “Other birds like robins, doves and cardinals build their nests primarily in nests in trees and shrubs.”
She also discourages letting cats outside.
“(U of M Interim President) R. Brad Martin’s wife is a Master Gardner, and she was in the parking garage when she saw the big garden, so she started to get involved,” Collier said. “We’re just trying to keep up our relationship with them.”
Collier said TIGUrS applied for a grant to protect urban birds earlier this year, but didn’t receive it.
“We’re hoping to do more bird related awareness in the next year,” Collier said. “We really wanted to build a bird topiary in the garden to attract people to the space. The garden is paid for through the Green Fee, so we’re trying to get people to us it.”
Gaynell Perry, president of the Memphis Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, said Shelby County is home to more than 310 species of birds.
Perry said that those who interested in bird watching only need binoculars and a field guide when they’re first starting out.
“You can also become involved in any of the Citizen Science projects sponsored by the site, such as The Great Backyard Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, or simply post your sightings on their international database called eBird,” Perry said.
For those interested in bringing wildlife to their backyard, the “Inviting Urban Birds to our Backyards” lecture starts at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m. in the University Center in the Iris Room.