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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hummingbirds are on their way to north Texas

In north Texas, put up Hummingbird feeders in mid-March, and keep the nectar fresh (4 to 1 blend of clear water & sugar), especially in hot weather.
Also, as Hummingbird season approaches, remember these facts:
  • The color red is not the only Hummingbird attractant. They are attracted to any bright color, except green. (this helps them find flowers in the wild)
  • Several recent studies have proven that red food coloring in nectar can cause genetic damage in Hummingbirds.
  • These days, almost all nectar feeders are brightly-colored; making coloring the nectar unnecessary. (if yours isn't, just tie a brightly-colored ribbon to it) 

Barn Owls
Throughout the year, most north Texas homeowners are visited by mice and rats. I've written before that owls are easily the best antidote. However, if the rodent has recently eaten a poison, and an owl eats the rodent in the 3 to 8+ hours before it dies, the owl will probably die too.

When you see mice or rats, the impulse is to visit your local hardware store or big-box store and get some commercially-available poison (they’re all pretty much the same).  But what none of them tell you on the label is that most of these dangerous poisons will kill owls, hawks and pets and other non-target wildlife too. Maybe even children.

These common poisons are called “second generation anticoagulant rodenticides”. They go under names like Hot Shot, d-Con, Generation, Talon, Spectrum and Havoc. The E.P.A. has declared them too dangerous for public use, and ordered them off the market. But stores are selling off their huge, existing stocks. Some manufacturers are even defying the E.P.A. order and continuing to make it (and making big profits).

 There are alternative rodent devices that are totally efficient, but far less dangerous to non-target wildlife, pets and youngsters. A quick internet search easily discloses them. These, coupled with common-sense practices, effectively reduce mouse and rat populations ONLY.  Practices include putting tight lids on trashcans, and not leaving pet’s food outside at night.

 Of course, the best rodenticide by far is owls (helped by coyotes and foxes and bobcats and hawks). Killing off the non-target wildlife, along with the rodents, means that when the prolific rodents repopulate, you’ll be battling them without natural, wild allies.


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