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.
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Sunday, May 31, 2015
Just an “old wives’ tale” that really means ”don’t get dirty”
I was watching a kids’ cartoon show on TV the other day (yes, I have grandkids).
One of the fables that was taught by a supposedly-wise old owl (with an English
accent) was that humans’ shouldn’t touch or handle a bird’s eggs or babies.
Only another bird can so this. WRONG on so, many levels!
For one thing, most birds have little or no ability to smell, and
would have great difficulty smelling a human’s old fingerprint.This observation would also apply to to another
species of bird too (if a Cowbird touched a baby Bluebird, for instance). Also,
a parent bird would appreciate your moving a bird to safety, instead of
seeing it (for example) run over by a car. Sometimes it’s necesary and wise to
move a baby bird (“fledgling”) to a safe location. Just make sure the new location is nearby,
because a parent bird is almost certainly watching from a nearby perch,ready to feed or instruct if needed.
A fledgling bird should not be “kidnapped”, taken back to tour house for
instance. Very often, baby birds are on the ground and cannot fly for a few days
on purpose. The parents are teaching it to fly and seek food on their
own; it’s called “growing up”. And adult birds do a much, much better job of
teaching this than you or I.
The overall lesson is this:if
you spot a fledgling on the ground in a dangerous place (like in the road)
don’t hesitate to pick it up and move it to a nearby, safe location. Most of
the time, however, just leave it where it is, knowing that a parent bird is
close by watching for danger, which includes “kidnapping” by a well-meaning
Wall-to-wall rain, and how it affects our birds. For the most part, our constant and abundant rain has almost no affect on
birds. They adapt very well.
An extreme but infrequent example is ground-nesting birds such as meadowlarks
and killdeer. Particularly the ones who chose to nest in low areas probably got
washed away. Adult birds could just fly away but the fledglings and eggs met a
similar fate to having their nesting grounds bulldozed for a parking lot, housing
subdivision , shopping center and such.
Actually all the rain wakens dormant seeds, and translates into more and
bigger plants. Followed by more food and shelter. Temporarily however, most of
the natural nest material is wet and waterlogged. So I simply put small twigs
and pieces of string or yarn (no longer
than 3”) in shallow bowl, and put it outside, under an overhang.
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.