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Color Matters
April 07, 2014

Another week passes us by.

The weather here in Southwest Michigan is still a factor.

However, weather patterns are slowly growing more spring like.

Mid 50's one day, and some freezing rain on Thursday (pictured), rain on Friday, snow flurries Friday night, and back to 50 two days later.

Still, there are signs of spring.

Crocus are starting to bloom and other fall bulbs are popping through.

I managed a few chores out in the yard.

Most notably was raking up piles of sunflower seed hulls.

It was a rough winter, and I went through more bird seed this year than I have ever before.

If you aren't aware of this, 'Sunflower Seed Hulls' are slow to decay, and release a toxin when doing so.

Toxins that don't harm us or birds, but slowly kill off lawn grass and some of your flowering plants as well as vegetables plants.

The toxins slowly biodegrade back into the soil into an inert product.

One thing I did get in was a walk out in the nearby woods and field.

The creek is flooded and walking locations were a bit limited, yet to finally get out into nature was well overdue.

To listen to the song birds, kick up several Woodcock.

To see a low flying turkey and witness a couple of well camouflaged deer (pictured), made for a very good first walk.

Length of Day:

(Bufflehead ducks on the pond working their way north.)

No matter the weather, the length of day rules in the bird world.

As the days grow longer, hormones begin to rage.

Mourning doves are frisky to say the least.

Male robins are getting more aggressive as the wage battle for territorial rights.

I see and hear the male Woodcock at dusk as he too is wooing a mate and making a statement.

Even the male English (House) sparrow is the one that steals the Bluebird house for a female to nest in.

To keep sparrows from destroying nests and taking over nest boxes, it is the male you must contend with.

Yes, many species of birds are ready for some action.

Nest Boxes:

Are yours ready?

If you don't have your birdhouses (nest boxes) cleaned and put out, you should do this task right away.

Even if they aren't nesting just yet, they are looking for possibilities as they establish territories.

Prime territories and nest sights help to attract the ladies.

For most bird species, the male picks the territory, while the female picks the nesting sight.

Make sure you nest boxes are clean and in good shape (screws and nails secured).

Until birds choose a box, you can keep wasps and other insects at bay by spraying with pure vinegar or a mix of 75% rubbing alcohol and 25% pure mint oil.

The acid in Cider Vinegar kills insects by contact, and the smell will keep them away.

When using mint oil, it must be pure, not baking mint oil.

Oil and alcohol must be shaken well before spraying.

Be careful not to get pure mint on your skin and don't take a deep of the pure oil, it may burn your lungs.

Mint oil in alcohol is diluted and the time you spray it, it wont harm birds (food item), but mint is a neurotoxin to wasps and bees.

Insects hunt by smell and vinegar and mint are good deterrents.

One last thing (no need to overwhelm you in one letter).

"Color Matters"

Color plays a huge role in nature.

We know in the bird world that with many species of birds, the male is more colorful, while the female can be muted in color, and sometimes quite drab.

With male birds, color matters.

The brighter or more vivid the male is, the more likely he is to get himself a lady.

We also know that females are more plain in color so they can hide while nesting.

Did you know that birds can see in ultra violet ranges too.

Colors we can't see, they do, and this helps to distinguish male and female of like colors.

Color also matters to you and me.

We color coordinate the clothes we wear.

Our homes are color coordinated inside.

Often, our flower gardens follow a certain color palette.

For me, I like bright vivid colors as the main stay in my flower gardens.

Yes, their are native purples and blues as well, but mostly the gardens are filled with reds, yellows and oranges.

Come to find out, many insects, especially butterflies are attracted to patches of bright colors too.

One reason is this.......

While butterflies smell flowers with special sniffers on their legs,

Near sighted butterflies are attracted to patches of bright color.

It doesn't end here.

Color is one thing that many do not see as an integral component of communication.

Because its impact is hard to define in that sense.

Manufacturers and marketing firms know the importance color can play.

Color, product design, and packaging can often be more important than the verbal message that are displayed.

Research companies, managers for all the major consumer product companies are well aware of the impact the color of their product and packaging will have on its sales success.

Sale success is the operating words here, not necessarily the best product.

Several studies have shown that color can influence as much as 80% of a customer's purchase decisions, and color is the first thing a consumer will notice about a companies logo.

Manufacturers know that color sells.

Brightly colored packages for bird feed.

Bright red, yellow and blue colors for tube style bird feeders.

Some bird houses are happy and bright as well.

Not only do suet packages come in bright colors, companies add scents and smells to appeal to our sense of smell.

Birds can't smell green apple, orange or berries scented suet cakes.

We can, and we buy them.

We buy pretty bird houses and bright colored feeders to appease our own senses, not the birds.

True, birds have great vision and see in living color.

So, a bright colored feeder is there for the birds to see.

What are the possibilities that predators will see them too?

Brightly painted bird houses, painted in every color of the rainbow, or painted as flowers or some other object.

While many birds will use them as a nest sight.

It screams to any predator....... check me out.

In nature, nesting sights are of earth tones.

Feeders don't need to scream here I am.

My nest boxes are neutral colors (natural wood).

Feeders are more natural as well.

Look at nature more and less of what the manufactures think you should have.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

" Opportunities present themselves and you have to enjoy the ride.
All of us get so worried about the next step that we don't enjoy the moment we're in right now."

Giada De Laurentiis, chef and author

Does worrying ever help?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Jesus Christ, Matthew 6: 25-27, 33, 34

"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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