With the plan to incorporate native plants into his landscape, Brunholtz then connected his newfound interest in native landscaping to his initial love of wildlife with a question.
"If I could attract eastern bluebirds at my old house, what else could I attract on my new property?"
The resulting research started with "What can I expect to attract" and quickly led to the follow-up questions of "What can I plant to attract those species," and "Which of those plants can I expect to grow in my region and in my backyard."
From there, Brunholtz focused on adding native understory trees and shrubs and flowering plants to his backyard to benefit wildlife.
"I was really focused on adding habitat on all levels. Not all birds like tall trees. Some prefer smaller shrubs, and others live on the ground."
Brunholtz started small some 20 years ago and has simply kept adding to his landscape through the years.
"I've tried to design the landscape so that something is blooming or fruiting, or somehow benefiting wildlife in every season of the year. It's an ongoing process."
For inspiration, Brunholtz and his wife attend the Tulsa Audubon Society's annual Wildlife Habitat Garden Tour and Native Plant Sale.
"I've never missed it in 20 years and have gotten to know several of the native plant vendors. They work so hard and are so helpful and knowledgeable. They offer a lot of the same great native plants each year but will occasionally have something new. That's the highlight of my year for inspiration."
Though Brunholtz is still finding inspiration for his backyard, he thoroughly enjoys seeing birds, insects and other wildlife visit his backyard and its native plants.
"We have a red buckeye tree that is about 12- to 15-foot tall and about that wide. It blooms early in the spring with huge trumpet-like red and yellow flowers. It's just stunning – people will even stop along our street to see it in bloom. And we can always count on seeing newly arrived hummingbirds in the yard when it's in bloom.
"We've created a nature sanctuary in our backyard. If we want to see birds or wildlife, or spend time in nature, we don't have to go anywhere. We can just step out in our yard."