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.
In a late-night backroom deal, Members of Congress snuck a
provision into an unrelated Defense Authorization bill that would log some of
the rarest and largest ancient trees remaining in one the world’s most intact
old-growth temperate rainforests—Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. This is a
forest that you and I own, as American citizens.
The Tongass has been hit hard by industrial-scale old-growth
logging, and pending timber sales, such as the announced Big Thorne project.
Excessive logging is already threatening the tracts of unbroken forest needed
by birds and wildlife. The language in the Defense Authorization bill will
transfer irreplaceable public lands from Alaska's Tongass National Forest to a
private corporation, allowing it to cut some of the rarest and largest ancient
trees left in the forest. These old-growth forests are critical for birds and
other wildlife, including the Bald Eagle, Queen Charlotte Goshawk, Alexander
Archipelago wolf, Sitka black-tailed deer, and more. This sneaky, underhanded attack
on the Tongass will only add to the risks for birds and other wildlife. It will
affect us all.
According to the State of the Birds 2014 report, the
list of “home-wreckers,” threats to healthy bird habitats, is long and growing:
they could threaten half of all North American bird species. The Tongass
National Forest itself is the home and breeding ground for many, many species
of wildlife, but unfortunately few voters. Please urge Congress to leave the
large, ancient trees of the Tongass standing, instead of giving them to lumber companies.
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.
Cedar Waxwings have already been seen frequently here
in north Texas this year. They're starting to appear in groups, in yards now!
The tips of their tails are normally a very
bright yellow. On a few of them, however, the yellow has been replaced by an orange/rust
color. These birds have fed largely on the non-native honeysuckle vine
(Japanese or Hall’s Honeysuckle). The native plant (Coral Honeysuckle) is a more
natural food source, is less “invasive” and won’t turn the birds orange.
Who’s getting fooled? Everyone knows that squirrels bury nuts to eat later. But researchers in
Pennsylvania and Connecticut found that squirrels often dig a hole, then don’t bury a nut in it.When a squirrel knows something is watching,
and digging up nuts a moment after he leaves, he may dig fake burial holes to get
the follower to give up (maybe it's a bird such as a Blue jay, another squirrel or even a
human).A squirrel may even re-bury a sloppily buried nut to make
it harder to pilfer.
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.