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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When is a bird “Accidental” in birdspeak?


 

"Accidental" is the term used by avid birders to describe a bird that’s visiting where it shouldn’t normally be.  One or two (or a whole flock) will suddenly show up for no apparent reason. Example: a Snow Bunting at Lake Lewisville instead of its native Pacific Northwest (it happened last year). Another real example is a Brant (a shoreline bird normally seen in winter on the east and west coasts) that was seen by several people in west Texas. The reason could be a strong wind (hurricane?) or that it just got very lost.

 

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, August 23, 2015

Landscape Architect’s view of dead trees and birds:


By this time, all of the trees in north Texas that are still alive have leafed out long ago. So we can plainly see what trees are dead.  If a dead tree is in danger of falling on your house or into the street, by all means cut it down (after making sure there are no nests in it).  How you cut it down however can make a big difference. Birds live in trees, and fewer trees mean fewer birds.


At my house, I have most dead trees cut down, leaving very tall stumps;  6 feet or 12 feet tall!    What’s left is a stump (and sometimes bigger branches) for birds to perch on and make nests in. If the stump attracts ants or other bugs, most birds will take care of that matter!   (HINT: mark dead trees now, so they can be cut in the winter).


What’s removed frlom a dead tree is the flared top – the “crown” that can catch a strong wind, causing it to sway and possibly topple.  The wood in these tall stumps gets softer over time, making it easy for birds to excavate a roost or home.   Hence, more birds!


 

Is this sexist?       In almost all bird species, only the male sings. Mainly it’s for courtship and territorial reasons. In a very few species (in north Texas, the Carolina Wren and Northern Cardinal) the female also sings occasionally.
 

 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.