Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Sunday, July 13, 2014
What's the benefit of having building lights on all night? Dead birds?
people know that, at night, lit buildings cause migrating birds to crash into
them. Thousands and thousands die (in every city in the country) from flying
into usually-empty buildings. All because the inside lights are left on. Many
are owned by or leased by the State, hence a partial solution:
Minnesota, the governor signed a law directing that the 5,326 state-owned or
state- leased buildings turn off interior lights after midnight, during spring
and fall bird migrations. This happened with leadership by several local
birding organizations. Not only does this save birds, but it reduces CO2
emissions, saves energy and saves taxpayers’ money.
North Texas is on the central flyway, along which millions of birds migrate twice each year. Why am
I writing about this now? Well, we all know how long it takes for a bill to get
agreed on and signed into law.
The largest warbler there is:
The Yellow-breasted Chat is seen
fairly commonly in north Texas, although often called by an inconclusive name
such as “What’s That?”
It’s a warbler – at 7-inches long the
largest warbler there is. It's most identifiable by the white "goggles" around the eyes.
Nestlings (out of the egg, but still in the nest) eat
only insects. Out of the nest, the juveniles add fruits and berries to their
diet - never seeds. The curious habit of some juvenile Chats is to wander
northward after the late spring breeding season, instead of to their
traditional wintering grounds in far south Texas and Central America, down to Panama.
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 Yost87@charter.net in Denton.