BUCKINGHAM, Pa. (AP) â Self-described cheapskate Rich Jaedicke lives by a guiding principle: Never buy it if you can get it free.
So it is with his backyard aviary, a triumph of creative, compassionate skinflintery.
Outside Jaedicke’s Buckingham Township home are birdhouses made of old license plates, feeders fashioned from discarded chimineas, and a pond bordered by lava rocks taken – with permission – from the garden outside the Red Lobster restaurant where he works as a waiter.
“I have two girls and I never have any money,” he said, “so the bird thing fits into my cheapness and my scavenger-huntingness.”
Jaedicke and 21 fellow residents of the Durham Village development are newly recruited guardians of all things winged and feathered, thanks to neighbor William Kennedy. It was Kennedy, 69, a retired IT professional and Navy weather forecaster, who stood before them one year ago and preached the virtues of transforming their little corner of Bucks County into a welcoming destination for birds.
“I badgered the hell out of them,” Kennedy recalled.
Convinced, they put up birdhouses and baths, planted wildflower seeds on a field in the rear of the development, swore off synthetic pesticides, and grew native flora in their gardens that offer food and shelter.
Their labors have attracted more than airborne admirers. Durham Village has been named the state’s first official bird-friendly neighborhood — a new designation bestowed by Audubon Pennsylvania, a branch of the national conservation group that works to protect and restore natural ecosystems with an eye toward the well-being of birds and habitats threatened by development and climate change.
Durham Village, a collection of 60 two-story homes in a township known for fiercely guarding its open space, was presented with the honor Wednesday at a meeting of the residents association, of which Jaedicke is president. The FOBs (Friends of Birds) received lawn signs touting their achievement, and will have access to Audubon guidance.
The Bird-Friendly Neighborhood initiative is among several habitat-enhancement efforts developed by Audubon PA, including the Bird Town Program, which honors municipalities, and the Bird Habitat Recognition Program, which acknowledges individuals. All are under the umbrella of the national group’s Bird-Friendly Communities project.
Birds have difficulty thriving when the places where they eat, rest, and nest are fewer and farther away from one another, said Steven Saffier, an Audubon PA official.
So, to qualify for the neighborhood award, residents must create gardens and common areas that feature native plants and trees attractive to birds and insects, rather than the “exotic ornamentals” that don’t have much of a role in the ecosystem, Saffier said. In Pennsylvania, those native plants include oak, maple, and sycamore trees; viburnum and…