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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Now, when leaves are off the trees, is a great time to plan your birdscape


 

Just so we’re clear, that’s “plan”, not “plant”. (Although many trees and shrubs can be planted now).

In winter, you can see the “panoramas”, “vistas” and “views” that a good landscape plan should expose or capitalize on. You can also clearly see scenes you may want to block, as well as birdscaping opportunities.

Timing is better too. Starting advance plans now doesn’t push the planting phase into the heat of the summer – which dooms many plants and requires a lot of water. And is usually more expensive.
 
   Cool weather is easily the best time, in Texas, to plant birdscape plants, including ones that provide food for birds when you forget to fill your feeder. Plant them this winter so that, when spring finally gets here, they will have acclimated to their environment, and can grow dependably, quickly and lushly,

A good landscape designer can look at a bare tree, and visualize how it will look when it’s green. He or she should also conceptually select and place plants so as to maximize the bird appeal and provide such things as nesting material and safe cover. Also, he can suggest other “non-plant” items to attract birds, such as birdbaths and birdhouses.

That’s part of what a professional does - I call it  “Birdscaping” - a process adding bird-appeal to your yard and making it easier to maintain.

 

 

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, November 30, 2014

Birds absolutely, positively need to be able to fly at a moment's notice



Sandhill Crane
 
Nighthawk

Clearly, without the ability to fly, almost all birds would quickly become extinct. A bird that wants to stay alive does not have the option of 'putting on a little weight'. Birds’ anatomy is designed appropriately. The large flight muscles, anchored onto the breastbone, make up from 30 to 40 percent of a bird’s body weight. Obviously these muscles power the wings, so a bird's body simply can't be too much for the flight muscles.

 

 
 
 
 
Checking out a feeder    Before landing on a feeder that’s not totally familiar to them (like a new one), birds will land on a nearby branch (within about 5 – 8 feet) and watch it for a while. If there’s no branch or perch to land on, the feeder won’t ever be thought of as “safe”.
 

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.