Fall 2016: Creating a Bird-Friendly Trail
Audubon Rockies partners with Springs at Mariana HOA to install bird houses along

A small neighborhood with a big heart! The Springs at Mariana is a community consisting of 41 single family houses at the far west part of Loveland city limits, past Boedecker Reservoir, off 1st Street. Their Homeowners Association (HOA) sees its purpose as actively encouraging a positive community spirit and promoting the use of sustainable, affordable, and attractive outdoor common areas. They were recipients one of the 2015 Larimer County Small Grants for Community Partnering and have been able to enhance their common area by:

  • planting drought resistant native plants next to a pond area, that will attract song birds, and provide education and enjoyment for neighborhood children and adults,
  • installing native boulders and plants in our large grassy common area which will reduce the need for substantial watering, especially in dry years
  • coordinating volunteer community labor to eradicate invasive weed species in common areas; removing a 75-foot row of dead native coyote willows.

One of the last pieces of the puzzle was installing birdhouses around their one-third mile walking path that circles their neighborhood. They solicited help from Audubon Rockies to help determine which bird species are present, how to attract various species of birds and help with installation of bird houses.

In mid-September, Jamie Weiss, Habitat Hero Coordinator of Audubon Rockies joined 9 volunteer (take out the word and) homeowners at Springs of Mariana neighborhood to set out on the mission of installing 9 bird houses. Once our site selection was determined based off the lifestyle habits of birds, we got to digging poles and setting them in Quickrete©.

Seven bird houses were designed in attracting House Wrens, a small gregarious bird that likes shrubby areas and forages on insects. These birds are great attracting in nest boxes as they will build anywhere, and will even compete with other birds for houses by destroying their eggs. These bird houses were mounted on 6ft poles and their small size of 1 ¼ inch diameter hole opening makes them a perfect fit for wrens and excludes predators. These nest boxes might also attract different species, like Black-capped Chickadees or even Tree Swallows.

Two bird houses were designed in attracting Mountain Bluebirds, a striking blue bird that likes open areas and forages on insects. These bird houses need to be placed no less than 300ft apart to lessen competition. These bird houses were constructed from old donated barn wood and assemble and mounted on 6ft poles with a hole size of 1 ½ inch in diameter.

The main objectives from these various projects at the Springs at Mariana neighborhood were: 1) reduce water use; 2) provide habitat for wild birds; 3) make their common areas more attractive and interesting thus promoting more outdoor recreation and 4) create more opportunities for people to connect with the land and learn about sustainability.

Thanks to this amazing neighborhood’s vision and their hard-working volunteers for setting out to make a better difference in their community!

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October 11, 2014: Join us for the annual neighborhood chili fest October 11 at 5:00 p.m. The event will be held at the shelter in the common area. The HOA is providing bowls, plates, utensils and napkins and asks that the guests provide their beverage(s) of choice, and/or cornbread, salad, dessert, and lawn chairs. Please RSVP to Nancy Garcia via e-mail at Garcia.consulting@comcast.net.

February 27, 2014: The dead Aspen trees down along First Street have been cut down and the stumps removed. The larger logs and pieces were intentionally left behind to be cut and used for the community fire pit. All the debris has been taken to the Recycling Center.

December 18, 2013: The cottonwood tree (also known as the neighborhood leaning tree) has been removed, stumps ground and debris cleaned up as well as possible. The tree was 60-70% dead and rotted, but there was still life around the outside about 3″ deep toward the center of the tree, which is typical when cottonwoods die. It doesn’t mean that it was going to fall immediately but is something that is very unpredictable. Thank you to Bob Wiltgen for spear heading this project!