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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Ugly birds?? That'll go away by itself.

In the process of researching “bird mites” I was amazed at the number of companies that wanted to sell you something to kill bird mites. Unless you keep indoor birds (like in cage) don’t waste your money. The first frost will kill bird mites on wild birds.  But, since it won’t kill their eggs, it’s a recurring annoyance.

Blue Jay w/mites
Wild birds sometimes look shaggy and diseased toward the end of the summer. Usually, birds control mites by themselves – by preening with their beaks. But, since they can’t preen their heads, they may lose feathers there.  They’ll grow back!

Bird mites are very rarely a problem on humans. On wild birds it’s not much of a problem, either.  The chemical, or chemicals, used to kill them can become a problem however. Mites are just one of the drawbacks to living outside all the time.

That old fable about red food coloring


Hummingbirds and butterflies love nectar. However, food coloring (red or any other color) has never, in all this time, been proven to be effective. In fact it’s genetically harmful, having been proven to cause DNA damage. Nectar is naturally clear anyway. On hot days, food coloring probably will introduce some tiny bits of mold or bacteria, which will rapidly multiply in our Texas heat and affect your whole batch of nectar.

Why is it marketed?  It sells better than the clear stuff and boosts profits, even though it hasn't been proven to work, and it might harm Hummingbirds.

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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