Instead of weedy fields, diverse plants, bushes and trees cover the 21 acres that Manfred Kusch has developed in the past 25 years along Putah Creek. He created a birding paradise. Jean Jackman/Courtesy photo
A hot-air balloon floats over the 21 acres that Manfred Kusch has transformed from fallow fields without trees along Putah Creek. It is now a rich habitat with 45 nesting species. Jean Jackman/Courtesy photo
This structure is a well-built bushtit nest. The entrance is at the top. Jean Jackman/Courtesy photo
Loreto Godoy, a UC Davis veterinary medicine graduate student, works on a five-person hummingbird banding team. This is their third year of banding at Manfred Kusch's property and already, birds banded last year are returning after their trip to Mexico. Jean Jackman/Courtesy photo
Manfred Kusch checks on the Western bluebird chicks in a unique concrete birdhouse. During the winter, woodpeckers sleep in the birdhouse, spreading their wings in a circle with head tucked. As a teenager in Germany,
 Kusch helped install birdhouses like this that are still in use 50 years later. Jean Jackman/Courtesy photo
Jean Jackman delights in no longer having grass in her side yard. Instead, she has seasonal surprises. In late April, the bees enjoyed the lavender and the hummingbirds the autumn sage. The yard is low-maintenance and uses little water, with drip irrigation. Jean Jackman/Courtesy photo

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