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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Now is a critical time for Hummingbirds in north Texas

Buff-bellied

Now, here in north Texas, we are entering a crucial time period for Hummingbirds. Soon they’ll start their twice-a-year migration. Most will fly non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico; some will fly south along the coasts of Texas, Mexico and Central America. If they survive the flight, they’ll end up in their wintering grounds of Central America. and far northern South America.

 Many will die, sadly. Which is where you, the individual homeowner, come in. Big government (whether it be city, county, state nor federal) can’t do it. Nor will they. It's up to you, and maybe your neighbor.

Hummingbirds that have lived here all summer join with those from other parts of the continent as they migrate. You may see species you’ve never seen before – “porking up” at your nectar feeders. They’re using the Central Flyway, which comes right through north Texas.

They’ll come through at all hours, too. Some may even stop for a day or two to rest up if the nectar you have is particularly good, and there are safe resting places nearby. (Due to calmer winds and the lack of predators, much of migration flight is done at night).

So expect your nectar feeders to be busy in September. Also, do your part by keeping nectar feeders filled with of clear, fresh nectar for some Hummers you may not have seen before.
Broad-billed

Costa's

 

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, August 31, 2014

starlings came to America, unwillingly, from far, far away


 
European Starling
Like Kudzu vine, 'flying' Carp, fire ants, Burmese Pythons and Dutch Elm disease, starlings (technically European Starlings) didn’t occur naturally on this continent (like 99% of our birds).

An eccentric Shakespeare enthusiast released about 100 starlings in New York in the 1890s. He thought it a clever idea to bring to the “New World” every species mentioned in Shakespeare’s writings. Now we have over 200 million of them.  Alas!

 

Before you swat it…      America’s native pollinators cheerfully pollinate a whole lot of crops; our native bees alone do $3 billion worth of crop pollination that would otherwise have to be done by hired honeybees (which are mainly European in origin). As of yet, nobody has received a bill for all the pollination by home-grown pollinators.

Of course all honeybees (whatever their country of origin) are suffering greatly from the man-made eradication that's called "colony collapse syndrome".

 




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.