Follow by Email

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Red-tail Hawks breathtaking mid-air courting ritual

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk
You may have seen Red-tailed Hawks doing this, and wondered if they flew into each other by mistake.  No mistake!  Courting Red-tailed Hawks form pair bonds by clinching their talons together, high in the sky. Once they’re locked together, they start dancing and falling. This aerial show includes swirls, dips, recoveries, and several near-crashes,while still locked together.  But they know exactly what they’re doing. Finally the two Red-tails swoop from harm’s way unscathed, but with a new relationship.

 


 
Art project for kids and birds     Every year, tons of birds collide with windows (they have no understanding of “glass”). Many die. If you have children they may want to paint designs on the outside of your windows using removable water-colors such as Tempera paint. It's particularly important during fall migration - NOW.  It washes off easily with water, and serves as a warning to birds that something’s in front of them. This could be effective at schools with windows, too. 
Know of any?
 
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 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 Yost87@charter.net in Denton.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Don't waste your money on automatic, whole-lot mosquito spraying

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Eastern Kingbird
     They’re almost always an irresponsible waste of your money! They'll repel and kill birds too. Almost all these whole-lot systems use the bug-killer pyrethrum. It negatively affects all natural life that dares to visit, or pass through, your yard. Yes – it will rid your yard of mosquitoes, and may also harm birds and larger organisms such as pets and children.

    Pyrethrum is very toxic. It’s toxic to birds, dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, fireflies, lizards, cats, dogs and you. Use it and nothing will get pollinated and birds will go hungry, since all bugs (and maybe your neighbors’ bugs) are dead. Keep in mind that over 97% of all birds raise their young on insects. Yes, pyrethrum is natural - so are arsenic, hemlock, lead and rattlesnake venom. Experts who have closely examined the research don’t accept pyrethrum as a safe organic product.


Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
It'll discourage all birds that depend on insects for food. If they can't find insects nearby they'll simply starve to death. The list of these birds is too long to include here, but includes our official state bird (Mockingbird) and Texas' champion bug-eater, the Nighthawk (which isn't a hawk, and doesn't fly at night).

 

 

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 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 Yost87@charter.net in Denton.