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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cooler weather's coming here fast. Get ready now!


if you have no trees...
Fall is here, and cool weather is right around the corner - falling leaves and all! A tree without leaves can look gloomy, but a simple, old method can liven things up by attracting bunches of birds to it. There’s even a simple way to attract tree-loving birds, when you have no trees. 
Just mix up what I call “tree goop”; peanut butter and seeds - like the old scouting trick. I use cheap peanut butter (smooth or crunchy – doesn’t matter). Into it I blend (with a sturdy utensil) a bunch of fresh birdseed containing black-oil sunflower seeds. There’s no magic ratio, but the more seed there is, the more it appeals to birds. 

Now, visit your bare trees and liberally spread some of the mixture on it (at least a square foot).  (in north Texas, most leafless trees are Post Oak, Blackjack Oak, Green Ash and Cedar Elm). With the addition of the “tree goop”, however, the birds will bring some color. You could spend a lot more money buying some costly, pre-packaged mixtures. But the results are the same.
 

If you don’t have a tree (which means few, if any, squirrels), try a log section (pictured). All it is is a log about a foot long and 2” to 4” in diameter.  Simply screw an eye-hook into the top, spread some “tree goop” and hang it outside. Any “clinging” birds in your area should find it.

 

 

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, September 21, 2014

Why is that Woodpecker making so much noise?


 

Woodpeckers sometimes hammer on metal siding or flashing, resulting in an annoyingly loud noise. It’s almost always a male, and he’s not looking for insects; he’s discovered that his pecking can be heard from much farther away.

It looks like the same hammering behavior that's typical of all Woodpeckers. But it’s a signal telling females that he’s on the prowl, and for other males to stay way. If it doesn’t work (and it rarely does), he’ll eventually go try something else.







it’s magic!      Colonial New Englanders believed that the Chipping Sparrow and the Dark-eyed Junco were the same bird!  The Chipping Sparrow (which is there in summer) simply changed its plumage for the winter, to a Junco’s gray. Understandable for the 18th century I suppose - they’re roughly the same size and have a similar song;  and DNA hadn’t been figured out yet.  
Chipping Sparrow
  
 

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.