The avian activity that I mentioned earlier has been directly related to my lack of yard maintenance. On a nearly daily basis I have looked out my back door to find a dozen or more Varied Thrushes picking energetically through the leaf litter in search of a meal. These birds spend their summers at higher altitude in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. They feed and raise their young by picking through the litter on the forest floor for invertebrates and foraging a little higher for a variety of berries. In the fall they move to lower elevations to avoid heavy snowfall. It's much harder to pick through leaf litter when you have to dig through several feet of snow to reach it.
So imagine the disappointment a flock of thrushes must feel when they arrive in the lowlands to discover nothing but a bunch of yards that have been completely cleared of leaf litter. They aren't really worm-pullers like their close cousin the robin, so a vast sea of grass has no real appeal to them. They are forest birds and they need something that at least remotely resembles a forest floor. I figure the least I can do is make them feel welcome by leaving the table set on the little patch of earth for which I am responsible. In the end, it's a win-win situation for me and the birds. I don't have to rake the yard, and I don't feel any guilt from the neighbors because I look out and see a dozen gorgeous thrushes thanking me for not doing what society has come to expect. After all, I feel that the thrushes have a much better grasp on the natural order of things than do my neighbors with their immaculate lawns.