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Let The Celebration Continue
May 09, 2011

Just like that................

A day or two of warmth and sunshine, and instant blooms.

These are the same tight buds I pictured last week.

By Tuesday, they were open and continue to be happy.

My sincere apologies to all the moms out there.

I failed to put out a tribute to Mothers last week As I have in the past.

Anyone that is a mom or had to fill the roll, knows the drill and the often lack of appreciation that comes with it.

To All Moms......................................

I hope you had a very blessed Mothers Day and that the blessings continue.

The same goes for my Karen.

If I could give her a mom of the year award I would.

Besides the daily life around here, we managed to catch some cooties from the grand kids.

I cannot recall the last time I was that sick and literally down for the count for a couple of days.


I'm not one for giving all cooties a bum wrap,

But is the shoe fits...

The first part of the week, it was Karen.

Then I was run over by this strange truck and never got the license number.

By week's end, it was Yolanda's turn.

Some of you know that taking care of a special needs person can be a full time job in its self.

Combine that with other issues and it becomes something else.

Well, you get the picture.

Yes, my heart felt hat is off to all moms.

I think Spring has finally arrived in the north.

Temperatures are gradually moderating and some of the wild flowers are beginning to show some color and add life to the fields and woodland carpet.

(A couple of pictures.)

Spring celebration continues......

Migrating birds continue to arrive.

Many will make this their summer home.

Still, other birds like White-crowned sparrows (pictured below) are happy visitors for a couple of weeks before they head to their breeding grounds in Canada.

I sure wish they would stay year round.

Just like that, the Dark-eyed juncos are gone as well.

Juncos will head to the northern regions of the United States and in to Canada.

Some Juncos will head to higher elevations in the mountains and nest there.

Orioles are back, but once again choose to ignore my offerings :-(

The shy Brown Thrashers are back as well as they hang out in open woods, thickets and old fields.

I managed to capture this poor image of a thrasher this past weekend.

The illusive Gray catbirds are also back.

Several Green Herons are visiting the ponds around here.

I counted six of them one afternoon and managed to get a couple of pictures.

Again, nothing worth writing home about, but hopefully you can see some green.

These birds are substantially smaller the the Great Blue Heron.

If things go according to history, I will see my first Ruby-throated humming bird this coming week.

Sightings for me a usually between the 10th and 14th of May.

May is also "Garden For Wildlife" month and this is the perfect segway in to today's topic.

You guessed it....................

"Gardening For Wildlife".


, you can attract a wide variety of birds and other wildlife to your yard and gardens, even if you don't feed the birds.

Attracting a variety of birds to your backyard takes more than adding a few bird feeders or filling a bird bath.

A 'bird friendly landscape' should fulfill all of a wild bird’s basic needs, including food, shelter, water and nesting sites.

With a few keys to the right habitat, your backyard can attract a wide range of popular birds most of the year.

Even without bird feeders.

Birds are attracted by habitat (think like a bird).

When "Gardening For Wildlife", you can create habitat and attract a wide variety to your landscapes.

Native plants attract some juicy
native insects, which attract birds.

Flowers attract pollinators (which attract birds), that pollinate flowers, that produce fruits and seeds, which attract even more birds.

Are you getting the idea?

Habitats that offer leaf litter and ground protection offer you a chance to watch still other species that you may not otherwise see.

Birds like Towhees and Thrushes that prefer to scratch the dead leaves for a fresh meal.

Most birds eat insects, worms, fruits, invertebrates, and seeds.

The only bird I know of that is 99.9% a seed eater, is the American goldfinch.

Most birds will dine on a variety, while still others are strictly insectivores like swallows and warblers.

Still, hummingbirds require nectar and small insects.

Native Plants:

No matter where you live, the best types of plants to use to attract local birds are the plants they are most familiar with.

When "Gardening for Wildlife " or simply to attract birds, go native.

Local and regional trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses, and those are the same plants that birds recognize as
rich food sources and appropriate shelter.

Exotic plants may be beautiful, but if the birds don't care for the plants, they will not be attracted to them.

Landscaping with native plants is also beneficial because those plants are adapted to the local climate.

They will require less water, less fertilizer and lower maintenance to stay beautiful and healthy over a longer period of time.

To learn what plants are native to your area and how best to use them in your yard, seek out expert advice.

A visit to a local nursery, or consulting an experienced landscaper may help some, but the real advice comes from a local plant conservatory or nature garden club.

Your state or province 'Department of Natural Resource' can assist you.

Local chapters of Audubon, Nature Conservancy and other nature groups are full of advice and some will actually sell plants to you.

Local groups are more willing to assist (in most cases).

Layered Vegetation:

A bird-friendly landscape is one that offers different layers of plants for different birds to use.

Much like a city where some people live in the high rise building.

Some prefer apartment or condo life.

Still others prefer the suburban style.

The same goes for birds.

When many species of birds live in the same region, they adapt to using different areas of the available habitat.

Some birds may prefer foraging on the ground for food, while others seek out food sources in low shrubbery or a large snag (dead tree).

Some birds may nest in bushes, while others prefer tall trees and greater heights.

Even the same bird species will frequently use different heights and layers of vegetation for feeding, roosting and nesting.

To provide layers of vegetation in your backyard, choose plants that will grow to different heights and space them appropriately to create a tiered effect.

Larger, taller trees can be surrounded by moderately sized shrubs and trees that create an understory.

This can in turn be bordered by tall grasses and various flowers.

Native ground cover provides for the ground dwellers.

This will give many bird species attractive places to visit in your yard without feeling crowded or competing for space.

Pretty cool, huh?

Dense Plants:

Birds will feel more secure and safe when there is adequate shelter in your backyard.

To provide that shelter, create dense areas of vegetation that will shield smaller birds from hawks, cats or other predators.

Dense vegetation is also more suitable for roosting and nesting, which can make your backyard birds permanent residents instead of transient guests.

To add density to your landscaping, create clumps of vegetation and corridors of security
that birds can use.

Clumps are more attractive to human eyes as well as our birds.

A long, narrow bed filled with rich plants is more suitable than small, widely scattered beds.

The corners of your yard and borders around buildings are perfect for dense vegetation, or you can create independent beds that are thickly layered and provide wind breaks as well.

Plant Diversity:

Different birds prefer different types of plants, and if you choose to landscape with a wider range of plant species you will also be able to attract more types of birds.

You can choose specific plants that are favored by certain birds you wish to attract, or opt for plants that are favorable to the birds already visiting your yard.

(Your task is to learn about the birds in your area and what habitats and foods they prefer.)

When choosing a range of plants, consider the seasons during which each plant is most useful.

Early flowering shrubs will attract insects and provide nectar during the spring, while trees and bushes that produce nuts and fruit (mast) are essential sources of food in late summer and fall.

Evergreen trees and shrubs will not only produce cones and seeds, but are also superb sources of shelter in the cold winter months.

Hide the Rake and Pruners:

A bird-friendly landscape is never perfectly manicured and neatly trimmed.

Leaf litter, longer grass and discarded brush piles are highly attractive to birds because they are rich sources of insects, nesting material and shelter.

By mimicking the appearance of birds natural habitats, you can instantly make your yard more appealing.

This does not mean that your yard has to be a jungle, however.

Leaving some areas of your landscape in their natural state, particularly in a large lot, can attract a wide range of birds while you can still enjoy manicured landscaping elsewhere.

One effective way to attract birds to a natural landscape is to let flowers and shrubs go to seed without removing the seed heads or the plants.

Birds will eat the seed, which is also a great way for backyard birders to enjoy a healthy landscape and save money on birdseed.

If you are like me, you enjoy watching a bird work a seed or seed head.

Reduce Open Areas:

Because a wide range of diverse plants in thick layers is so essential for attracting birds, one of the best steps you can take to create a bird habitat in your backyard is to reduce the open, grassy spaces.

While you may enjoy the expansive lawn, open areas have the least food and virtually no shelter, making them poor resources for birds as well as being vulnerable to predators.

Widen flower beds, plant trees, and add shrubbery instead of grass.

Not only will you be rewarded with a yard rich in birds, but you will find less need to mow and trim the grass, which saves time and money.

More Birdscaping Tips:

When you are planning a bird-friendly landscape…

Choose natural and organic fertilizers that will not harm birds, or remove feeders for a day or two after chemicals have been used.

Minimize pesticide use and let the bugs be a rich bird food source instead (you can handle a few leaf holes, can't you?).

Add water features, birdhouses, dust baths or feeding stations for even more bird attractors.

Have your soil evaluated to be sure the plants you select will thrive and choose plants suitable for the amount of sun in your yard.

If you are hiring a landscaper, let them know you wish to attract birds and work closely with them to design a suitable bird habitat.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go,

Here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

When you stop fighting, that's death.

John Wayne

(I grew up a Huge John Wayne fan, he portrayed a man's, man.)

You don't die physically, but mentally and emotionally it is a form of death.

A crippling form of death that no one should experience.

Keep pushing forward.

Keep fighting for what you believe in.

Allow no man to master over you.

Keep the faith.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12 (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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