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Clean Your Feeders and In The News
April 02, 2012

Back to more seasonal like weather here in the Great Lakes region.

Friday morning was in the mid to low 30's (Close to 0 C.), gave us Thunderstorms that produced cold rain and a few wet snowflakes for us.

Much more in parts of northern Michigan.

We do get soiled quickly, don't we?

As much as I enjoyed the 70 and 80 degree days, it sure put a rush order on all the plants and some of the wildlife.

Most of the Daffodils have come and gone, though I do have a few later bloomers that are looking good right now.

Karen's tulips that weren't grazed on by the rabbits and deer are blooming, almost a month ahead of normal bloom times (pictured below).

June berries (Service berries or Chad blow berries) are in full bloom.

I suppose they will be May berries this year.

Many species of birds have arrived a good three weeks ahead of schedule.

Reports also have hummingbird sightings in some locations a full month ahead of schedule.

Check maps and local sources and get your feeders out.

These tiny birds are tougher and more resilient than you may know, but they do need that extra boost in cooler weather conditions.

Keet and Ziggy had their yearly check up at the fur kid doctor.

After the check up, a few shots, and heart worm stuff, a clean bill of health was issued (they could lose a pound or two).

The wallet was much lighter as well.

Still, what are you going to do?

They are our fur kids, after all.

It is the first of the month, and that means it is time to give your feeders and water sources a good cleaning and sanitizing.

You may even think about moving your feeders and bath back to the summer locations, if you moved them closer to your house during the colder months of winter.

Remember to place them 10 to 15 feet (3-5m) from protection.

Shrubs and trees offer a quick safety zone from predators and a place to groom after a good bath.

Closer may sound better, but often cats are lurking and hiding about.

A feeder placed 3 feet from shrubbery is a perfect spot for cats to hang out.

If you are placing feeders close to your house, 3-10 feet (1-3m) is suggested.

When birds collide with windows (and they will), they haven't built up a good head of steam in this short distance.

Some of you showed an interest in seeing more birds and butterflies of India On Astrid's Blog.

With time and patience, Astrid let me know that she will indeed be adding more in the coming months when kids are out of school and there is more free time.

Also, a big thank you for everyone.

I mentioned I would give a plug for your websites and blogs.

Here is one from the Pacific Northwest.

Leona, from the Fraser Valley area of British Columbia, Canada has another nice Blog site with pictures of flowers and birds.

There are even pictures of Anna's hummingbirds that over winter in her backyard. Snow and hummers, what a treat.

This is the 'Christian Holy Week'.

Starting April 1st with Palm Sunday and ending in triumph April 8, Easter Sunday.

Most years I put out a special Easter letter later in the week.

Prayerfully, this week will be no different and May be a bit more.

For those of you that aren't interested, please feel free to delete or ignore it all together.

Or, you can read it and I hope we can remain friends and you remain as a subscriber, as it will be business as usual and a 'Gardening For Wildlife' newsletter on the 9th of April.

This week's letter is a bit of what has been in the news recently.

Some of you are already aware of these topics (different forums), while others may not have a clue.

No matter, I think these topics are important to many of us as I voice some thoughts and carefully write down some of my opinions.

This Week,

In The News


Thanks to reader Jean Pell of Georgia., who brought this to my attention.

(Hey, I can't find all the news myself).

Scotts Miracle-Gro has pleaded guilty to breaching federal pesticide laws by using an unapproved insecticide on bird seed sold nationwide for two years.

Scotts is proposing to pay a $4 million fine and give $500,000 to help support wildlife conservation and study. Judge Graham said he will issue his decision on the plea agreement at sentencing, which has not yet been scheduled. The government alleges that beginning in 2005, Scotts produced a line of wild bird food products under names including "Morning Song" and "Country Pride" that contained insecticides.

According to court records, in 2008, Scotts distributed 73 million packages of bird seed coated with the insecticides Storcide II,

containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos, and and Actellic 5E, containing the active ingredient pirimiphos-methyl, intended to keep insects from destroying the seed.

The company continued to produce and market the insecticide-coated seeds despite being alerted to toxicity dangers by a Scotts staff chemist and ornithologist.

Back in 2005 when Scotts Miracle-Gro bought out Gutwein (Manufacturer of Morning song and other products), we often joked about fertilizer or weed killer getting mixed with the bird food.

Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine a company purposely mixing insecticide with products you are selling to people who feed birds, and continue to knowingly do so.

Read the whole story here.

For the past few weeks, monarch butterflies have been making their way from Mexico into the United States.

It is a good news, bad news kind of thing.

The good news is this.

Reports seem to be that the Monarch population was larger than many experts predicted,

The bad news is:

This is still the 4th lowest total since 1994-1995.

This population represents a continuation of a trend – the 8th consecutive population below the long term average.

Butterfly populations fluctuate from year to year, and natural causes may wreak havoc at any time.

The real concern becomes the loss of habitat and the use of pesticides and herbicides.

Records show large scale pesticide and herbicide use destroys Monarchs at all stages of life and kills off the vital Milkweed (host plant).

What is more frightful yet, .....

We ingest the same pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed on the chemically altered, chemical resistant crops.

You can help the plight of the Monarch butterfly by planting and offering a good patch of Milkweed (Asclepias ssp.).

And Finally,

I am saddened by this bit of news.

Friends, please bear with me.

For the first time ever,The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agency officials will permit a Native American Indian tribe to kill bald eagles (off reservation) for a religious ceremony .

Members of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in the state of Wyoming plan to use the two birds as part of the Sun Dance, an annual summer ceremony.

The move is unprecedented and is thought
to be in response to a federal lawsuit.

Members believe laws prohibiting the killing of bald eagles violate their right to religious freedom.

This law, enforced by the Fish and Wildlife Service, makes it illegal to take, possess, buy, sell or transport bald eagles (or other birds of prey), their carcasses, nests or eggs.

It's also illegal to pursue, shoot, poison, wound, trap or disturb them.

The government maintains a "repository" of feathers and other parts of bald eagles killed by accidents.

Instead of killing bald eagles, American Indians can request items for religious ceremonies.

(Excerpt from

Here is the full article.

I have to be careful what I say here, and try not to get too sarcastic or show trepidation.

I understand that eagles have long been apart of North American Indian culture.

I also understand that wildlife is for all of us to enjoy.

I have a love affair with these winged wonders myself.

Coming back from the brink of extinction in the lower 48, and removed from the endangered list.

Okay, I now have several questions.

A few of them are.....

What can of worms or Pandora's box will this open?

Will every tribe, now get rights to shoot Bald eagles and Golden eagles?

Will the birds be killed anytime of the year?

A parent shot during nesting season, pretty much insures the the eggs or babies dying too.

An adult bird killed off late in the year pretty much insures that there is one less nesting pair for the following spring.

Eagles do migrate, will a Canadian eagle be shot down?

What if these were eagles you enjoyed for the past few years and now they are gone.

My concern is this...

Will many thoughtless people (more than now) decide to get trigger happy and go eagle hunting?

Or shoot at anything that moves?

Will the U.S. Fish and Wildlife require bow and arrow or give the birds a fighting chance, or no chance at all while people shoot away?

What is next?

Go off and shoot Bison at any time?

Maybe a Whooping crane or Trumpeter swan.

I can understand having mixed feelings.

After all, this is their native land and possibly native religious practice.

However, religious freedoms opens up a whole new beast.

You can use your imagination on that one (goats, cats, etc.).

Our (USA) national bird.

Our national symbol.

I understand the religious freedoms and can appreciate the important to native cultures.

The United States of America was founded for such beliefs.

Than again..................................

What about you and me?

Are our rights and beliefs being violated when a creature is killed for any ceremony?

This pertains to all people, everywhere.

I wait all my life to see a Bald Eagle, only to have it shot down for the feathers and a dance.

Many of you know that I am indeed a small part American Indian and I have researched much of the history and culture of the Michigan Nations and their ways of life.

I don't see the need for a senseless act of killing.

Will this spill over into Canada?

Bald Eagles are unique to North America and I like watching these special birds in their native habitats (not zoos).

I will wait and hope that this doesn't open the floodgates.

Feel free to write your Congress people and let them know how you feel.

The link is just below this sentence.

Okay, time to step down from the orange crate.

Where is some Peyote Cactus?

, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless

You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims.

Harriett Woods (1927-2007) American Politician.

Yes, you can stand tall and firm in what you believe without standing on others.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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