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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Have lots of baby birds around your house next spring

Birdwatcher’s Digest reports that increased
supplemental feeding (birdfeeders) during the winter leads to greater nesting success (more baby birds) the following spring. Just make sure you use FRESH seed, not the junk sold in big box stores and such.
It's also helpful to have evergreen plants around (for shelter)and filled birdbaths (so birds can keep clean - necessary to staying warm) in bad weather.


Why there is no such thing as a “weed”.   We think we know what a “weed” is but do we really? To most of us, it’s a plant that’s growing in a location we don’t want it to grow. By that definition, the term persists. (I offer the example that a crape myrtle growing in your driveway is a “weed”.) That’s an arbitrary, imprecise definition, but it’ll do for now.

There are precise, horticultural definitions of “tree”, “shrub”, “flower”, “grass” and so on. But there’s no defition for “weed” because it usually depends on one’s feelings and individual tastes – highly variable stuff.

A plant’s “uselessness” also depends on who’s doing the talking and defining. Blackberries for example. The berries taste good and provide food for a great number of birds (Robins, Brown Thrashers, Bluebirds, to name just a few), and many species nest in blackberry brambles (Cardinals, Field Sparrows, Yellowthroats are some). But the thorns can tear up clothing, and cause humans pain. Are they weeds?

An extreme example is poison ivy. Lots of birds like its waxy white berries. Birds, not being allergic to it, flit among the leaves and branches unconcerned. So it may be a “weed” growing near your house, but not when growing in the “back 40”


OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.

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