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Gardening For Wildlife, #32 Love those birds/plant native trees
September 17, 2007
Wow, where do the days go?
Much of the Great Lakes region has had some frost. Our ground was frosty white Sunday morning, but we came through it unscathed.
The rest of the week looks like it will be in the 80's again.
It is to early for a killing frost and there are to many blooms and tomatoes to enjoy still.
Akita had her all of her shots this past Thursday.
Like any little child, she was not herself the rest of the day.
A few Monarch butterflies are still blessing us with their presence.
I guess they aren't ready for summer to end either.
Red breasted nuthatches have become common visitors this past week and a single visit of a tufted titmouse.
These are birds that usually visit my feeders in the winter.
The young hawks were back playing in the wind Yesterday.
The hummers are still busy gorging themselves at the flowers and feeders.
All this month my feeders have a 1 part sugar to 3 parts water mixture.
This allows the birds to gain weight and store energy at a more efficient rate.
Hummer days are now numbered here in SW Michigan.
Still I am enjoying the goldfinches.
The male American goldfinches are losing their bright yellow and black caps as they go through there fall molt.
While most species of birds molt once a year, there are several species that molt twice a year.
Still others will do one full molt in the fall and a partial molt in the spring.
For you folks that are just getting into backyard birding,
Experts believe that Male goldfinches lose their bright yellow so they don't stick out like a sore thumb.
The bright yellow against a snowy white back ground or brain landscape would be the perfect "Eat at Joe's" sign for predators.
The drab olive green blends in much better with natural surroundings, no matter where they are located.
When Goldies begin to change back in late winter, it is a sure sign of brighter things to come.
Here are some facts on Nyjer, those tiny black seeds we feed the finches.
Before anyone asks why Northern Cardinals don't lose their bright red for the winter before the snow flies.
It is rather simple.
At one time, oh say up to a hundred years ago or so, Cardinals were strictly a Southern bird.
The nice warm confines of the "Deep South".
As early Americans began to expand and develop the land, Cardinals were either ousted from their habitats or they found some of our landscaping to their liking (Some of both).
By the 1940's, Cardinals were considered a vagrant in the New England area.
Now they are birds most of us grew up with.
The redbirds followed the trails made by railroads and highways cut through the woodlands.
Open paths the birds could follow, yet near trees.
Cardinals prefer to live near woods and fields filled with trees, yet enjoy suburbs as long as there are plenty of trees and shrubs.
Now Cardinals have expanded as far west as the Great Plains and as far North as Southern Canada. It is unlikely that cardinals will cross the open expanse of the prairies.
With the mild winters we are having, who knows how far North the birds will immigrate.
The Northern Cardinal has been introduced to Southern California, at one time in Hawaii and, they were at once exported to Europe as a caged exotic bird.
Northern Cardinals have been so successful with their expansion, that numbers continue to increase here in the North, yet in North Carolina the cardinal population has declined by 20% over the last 2 decades.
Any way, As a southern bird, there is no real need to change colors.
They are called Northern Cardinals, because in South America there is a similar looking bird called
You got it............
The Southern Cardinal.
With new readers coming and some going, there is always the possibility of me repeating myself.
Repeating myself also goes for our responsibilities as stewards and learning how to garden for wildlife.
Gardening for wildlife is more than feeding birds and watching butterflies.
Gardening for wildlife is learning.
Learning about the wildlife around you and attracting some of it to your yard and gardens.
Learning about the native plants in your region and what attracts more wildlife.
Learning what is a beneficial critter and what is something you don't want.
What are beneficial insects and the need to avoid insecticides.
Gardening for wildlife also means toads, frogs, lizards and more.
Woodlands, prairies, even suburbs have a diverse number of animals.
Mountains and desserts have their own habitats where certain wildlife thrive.
Most people start out by feeding and caring for birds.
Eventually they expand to butterflies and toads.
Others may start by landscaping their yards and realizing that wildlife is attracted to their plantings.
Some of us have a passion for nature in general and see the destruction peoples are still causing to our environment.
We hope to pass our passion and experience onto others.
Stewardship of our planet is a God given responsibility and begins at home.
Gardening for wildlife is about planting habitats.
Not just for wildlife, but for you too.
Even if it is a single tree and a window box, you can garden for wildlife.
Trees are living communities.
The high rise acondos of the natural world.
From the top of the tree, to the roots below, trees are shelter for birds, insects, lizards etc.
Trees offer food and shelter.
A place to nest and raise families.
Trees offer cool shade.
Even the leaves that fall in Autumn offer protection and food. Not just for wildlife, but for plants life as well.
Native trees are even better as they offer food that your wildlife depends on.
Native plants are more hardy and disease resistant.
As Autumn falls upon us, it is a time for veteran and novice gardeners to look back and reflect on successes and flops.
Autumn is a time to start planning for next years gardens.
By the 1st of September, I'm already looking toward spring.
Fall is also the best time to plant your trees.
There is less stress on the tree.
You folks along the West coast and Gulf coast regions, have year round gardens so I'm sure you have your routines worked out.
Don't forget to look for bargains.
If you need some ideas on native trees for your region, click the link below.
It's time to fly for now.
Attitude can be your best friend or worse enemy.
You might as well SMILE.
Why not make it your best smile.
Be sure to share it with others.
Who knows, you just might make their day.
Until next time,
"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,
PS: Feel free to forward this to friends and family or send them to www.gardening-for-wildlife.com so they can register to recieve their free copies.
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