HUNTSVILLE, ON – As a hopeless feeling descends upon you when leaves rain down from the trees into your yard an organization dedicated to birds may be letting you off the hook.

In an online posting the Audubon Society is telling fans of birds in North American to perhaps not clean up the yard this fall and leave vegetation and dead plant cover to offer up food sources and shelter for birds suffering through the hard winter season.

Leave the rake in the garage says the Audubon Society. 

“Messy is definitely good to provide food and shelter for birds during the cold winter months,” says Tod Winston, Audubon’s Plants for Birds program manager.

“Those leaves are important because they rot and enrich the soil, and also provide places for bugs and birds to forage for food,” Winston says.

According to Winston leaving leaves on the ground provides a good habitat for a variety of critters such as salamanders, snails, worms, and toads.

 “If you’re digging in the garden and come upon these squirmy little coppery-brown dudes, and you don’t know what they are—those are moth pupae,” Winston says.

Shrubs also provide good cover and planting them in the fall is a good time. Also creating a brush pile lends itself to birds finding a warm place to stay. 

“American tree sparrows, black-capped chickadees, and other winter birds will appreciate the protection from the elements,” the Audubon article states. “Rabbits, snakes, and other wildlife also will take refuge there.”