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Thanks for writing about the prevalence of a fear of nature. One of the comments on my hawk essay was someone asking about hawks flying off with their dog. Our collective fear of nature and obsession with tidy yards is one of the primary barriers to improving the lives of birds. We can all lead by example in this regard and resist the urge to remove all leaves from our yards this time of year. You can mow over and mulch a remarkable quantity of leaves in your yard. We routinely rake up a foot of leaves and mow them into our grass. This adds organic matter and ultimately is good for the grass. Leaving piles of leaves and branches on the margins of your yard provides cover for the birds and you can remove them in the spring and your grass will resume growing. You can also talk about this with your neighbors and let them know that you see this as a common sense thing to do. Lead with confidence in your views and eventually some of your neighbors will follow suit.

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I fear no birds ... except a territorial Goshawk and, of course, all junco species with yellow eyes, most notably Volcano Junco -- terrifying -- and, to a lesser degree, Yellow-eyed Junco! 😝🤣

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