Follow by Email

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Getting started in birdwatching & gardening (on the cheap)


 
 
They’re a lot alike. Both birdwatching and gardening can be done at home, cost very little and take a minimum of effort. They sort of feed off each other too. Birdwatching, like gardening, can be done quite well at almost no cost. "Unless you want to" is the key phrase; there are no books you absolutely need to have, no clubs to join, no trips to take, no special clothes etc. Unless you want to do these things.

 To start from a standstill in birdwatching, just read this blog. No “expert” quotes from it because it deals with the basics – like where to put birdbaths, what our local birds eat,  what their nests look like and so. These are things we all had to learn at some point, but were too intimidated to ask. Our blog deals with north Texas birds and local situations, like our super-hot summer. 

Birdwatching is like gardening since you “learn by doing” – like riding a bicycle.  Nobody can do it wrong, but every single person can do it better.(Right now in north Texas, any birdwatching should be done early, early in the morning or from behind glass. Almost all gardening activities can simply be put on hold until about mid-September)

 Showing your grandchildren things like a bird pecking its way out of an egg, a mother bird teaching juveniles how to bathe or a seedling sprouting and twisting to catch the sun, is enlightening to everyone!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Variety in birdfeeders attracts a whole lot more birds to your yard!


Variety is the spice of life.



Most of my fellow bird-fanciers have more than one birdfeeder (we have nine). That way, of course, you can attract more than one kind of bird. Birds are a lot like people in that they prefer a wide variety of foods, and places to eat. Some birds prefer sunflower seeds, some prefer safflower, some like nuts, some like mealworms, some like a feeder height of 4 ft., some won’t come to a feeder that’s close to a house, some prefer a feeder at roof level and on and on.  They’re picky aren’t they?

So if you have more than one feeder, vary the height and kinds of food used to entice the widest variety of birds. And always have native flowers and a birdbath nearby. Then see who drops in!

 

 

A life or death conundrum             Clearly, birds need to be light enough to fly. But they also need to put on energy-producing fat for a long flight like a migration.  What to do?  On average, putting on enough fat for a non-stop flight across something like the Gulf of Mexico reduces the distance a bird can fly by about half.

 

 

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.