[USAToday] It’s for the birds, and more

Backyard habitats impart stewardship
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald Special for USA TODAY

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Wedged between train tracks and a busy thoroughfare, Jerry Lauretano’s home-based hair salon relies on berry-producing trees to attract a range of lovely birds — as well as some not-so-lovely ones.

Last winter, customers saw cardinals, robins and goldfinches. On an April morning, however, pigeons and squirrels had the yard to themselves.

“Not every square foot needs to be business, business, business,” says Lauretano, whose parcel ranks among 128,000 backyards that have been certified as wildlife habitats by the National Wildlife Federation. “People love to come here. And that fulfills your heart.”
Read more at USAToday

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