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.
are the swallows that allegedly return to Capistrano Mission each spring (which hasn’t happened in
several years since the area became “urbanized”). Cliff
Swallows are highly social birds, building conical mud nests and living in
large colonies of 1000 or more, often sharing parenting duties.
Swallows are found abundantly in north Texas. The mud for their nests comes
from stream banks, private lakes, swamps, broken water pipes – any place that dependably
creates mud. It doesn’t have to be in your yard. It could be up to half a
flying abilities are amazing!They
“hawk” insects in mid-air, flying at great speed, turning quickly and
smoothly, all the while filling the evening sky with their pleasant chirps.
you live in a semi-rural or rural part of north Texas, with a source of mud
somewhere in the vicinity, you could probably attract a colony – if they’re not
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.
Loggerhead Shrike is a small bird, found in much of north Texas. then it can kill with one bite, probably
skewering it on something like a thorn or barbed-wire fence for its later dining pleasure!The Shrike is a mostly gray bird with a black
“mask” and lives mainly in rural areas.
Ounce-for-ounce it has the strongest
beak (and most powerful bite) of any bird around here. It needs it, since its natural prey
consists of things like lizards and large insects – maybe even small mice. It
can spot something as small as an insect from 70 yards away;
Check thorny trees in the area for impaled bodies of lizards, insects etc. That means there's a Shrike around!
eat insects?! Feeding clear nectar to hummingbirds
is a given. It mimics the sugary nectar they'd naturally get from flowers. But
diets of pure nectar lack much-needed protein, and most species regularly
consume small insects in addition to nectar. So a yard with several nectar
feeders, but no insects, might be avoided. It could lack the protein-rich
insects that hummingbirds need to consume with nectar.
Usually, insects are feed to
nestlings, which need the protein to grow. Insects and nectar give
them the long-lasting energy they need.
North Texas hummingbirds eat various
insects, from tiny mites and gnats, to small spiders. They use many foraging
techniques, including gleaning them from surfaces of the feeders themselves.
Mostly, however, insects are plucked from the air, mid-flight by the agile,
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.