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.
More than half of birds in North
America are currently losing critical habitat and food sources as the planet
warms, said a report by the National Audubon Society.
The Bald Eagle and Brown Pelican,
are among hundreds of species facing threats to their survival due to climate
change, researchers said Tuesday.
Another recent report called the
"State of the Birds 2014, USA," issued by the 23-member US Committee
of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, described losses of as much
as 46 percent of birds in deserts and drylands such as Utah, Arizona and New
Mexico since the 1960s.
Common backyard birds are becoming
less common. If you see an n Orchard Oriole, for instance, take a good look
because you may not see another for long time, if ever. Those birds that breed
and eat in the coastal wetlands, and prairies, are struggling most o0d all. Birds
like the eastern meadowlark and the bobolink have declined by some 40 percent
since 1968, but losses have leveled off since 1990 with the help of
"significant investments in grassland bird conservation," said the
State of the Birds report.
The Audubon report found that the
Bald Eagle's summer range could shrink by nearly 75 percent in the next 65
years, while warming temperatures might make nesting and breeding difficult for
birds like the Common Loon and the Baltimore oriole.
"Official state birds at risk
include Brown Pelican (Louisiana), California Gull (Utah), Hermit Thrush
(Vermont), Mountain Bluebird (Idaho and Nevada), Ruffed Grouse (Pennsylvania),
Purple Finch (New Hampshire) and Wood Thrush (Washington, DC)," said the
"We all will see the effects
of changing climate in our own backyards. We just cannot ignore such a sobering
wake-up call," said Terry Root, a Nobel Prize-winning Stanford University
professor and Audubon board member. Bird conservation and sensitive land
development can go hand-in-hand.
The reports' release coincided with
the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeons, which were
once among the most abundant creatures on Earth. The last known passenger
pigeon, Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. "When we think about
Martha and what happened to her kind in the span of about five decades, think
about what will happen in the three or four decades between now and the middle
of the century as we add another two-plus billion people to the planet,"
"We can never forget that we
can see something go away forever," said Pete Marra, head of the
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, recalling other species that have
disappeared since, including the Carolina Parakeet, the Eskimo Curlew,
Bachman's Warbler and the Po'ouli of Hawaii. Marra said the biggest causes of bird
declines are habitat loss, urban sprawl, lack of food sources and pollution.
Dangers to birds will only increase
as the global population swells from its current seven billion in the coming
decades, said US Fish and Wildlife director Dan Ashe.
Science may be able to create birds
that may be similar, but are merely distant cousins of the real species that
was lost to extinction. He called for people to recommit themselves to
conservation and environmental awareness in order to prevent further
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.
migrate – but most of them are here all year.Evasive
answer, I know. Of the 22 Woodpecker species north of Mexico, only 15 migrate
long distances. Non-migrators include the most frequently-seen here; the Downy
and Hairy Woodpeckers. The Red-bellied Woodpecker doesn’t migrate either. On the
other hand, our local species of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (a member of the
Woodpecker group) spends summers up north and winters here. Soit's called a "Migrator”.
How a woodpecker eats suet If you looked closely, you’d see that a
woodpecker has many tiny barbs on the end of his (or her) long, narrow
tongue.So the tongue has sort of a
bottle-brush shape. The barbs catch on the suet and break off tiny pieces. The
“regular” tongue brings these pieces into the woodpecker’s mouth. Although many
birds peck at suet, only the woodpeckers (in
north Texas, Downy WPs, Hairy WPs and Red-bellied WPs are common) are
adapted like this.
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.