Category Archives: Bird Song

Break Out The Rake

Fall!  And except for the lack of rain, the weather has been glorious.  Walk through the neighborhood and treat your visual senses to the spectacular color of our trees.

But once those leaves are on the ground, you’ll experience another sensory overload: the constant din of leaf blowers.  Six days a week, at all times of the day, there is the racket of a leaf blower to be heard somewhere in the neighborhood.  Just listen to this example (you might want to turn down the volume).

Here’s our pitch to reduce the auditory assault of these machines and use a rake instead.  It’s great exercise and also helps out wildlife, trees and plants.  Plus, nothing is more fun than playing in a pile of beautiful fall leaves!

Consider these points:

  • While a layer of leaves is not good for lawns, other plants and trees will thrive with undisturbed leaf litter.  If the leaves are removed, so are the nutrients that feed the plant. Lawns also benefit from a light layer of chopped leaves (the mulch setting on most lawn mowers).
  • Many beneficial insects make their home in leaf litter [1]
  • Leaf blowers don’t just blow away leaves, but they blow away topsoil as well.   They also fill the air with contaminates including toxic chemicals (used by some lawn services), allergens, molds and other things better left undisturbed. [2]
  • Leaf blowers were not invented to remove leaves, but as crop dusters.  In other words, they are a solution that went searching for a problem.  [2]
  • Leaf blowers interfere with animals’ ability to communicate with each other.  This makes it difficult to find mates, hunt and avoid predators. [3]

Now, without a leaf blower around, you can hear this:

Break out the rake.


References and Additional Information

[1]  Smithsonian:  Where Do Insects Go in the Winter?
[2]  Dr. Weil:  Ban Leafblowers
[3]  Clive Thompson: How Man-Made Noise May Be Altering Earth’s Ecology


Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis
Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA - July, 2016

Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis

Mid-day today we heard the insistent begging call of a juvenile hawk.  It was so loud and went on so long, we thought something might be wrong, but it turns out he was just hungry!    We finally spotted him in a large pine next door.  The parent was close by and buzzed us on our deck.

We naturally assumed he was a Cooper’s, having just watched a brood fledge across the street.   We sent pictures to our neighborhood ornithologist expert and friend.  Surprise – a Red-tailed Hawk!   This is great news because it means Red-tails have successfully nested here.

Look up and check the mature pines in our neighborhood for this young Red-tailed Hawk family.