Wednesday, June 14, 2006

HELP FROM THE BIRDS!

After a bit of a struggle with some kind of infection, antibiotics seem to be helping my prime "weeder" who is recuperating from his hip surgery. At any rate, I'm still trying to take it a bit easy, so I'm cheating on my page, and hope you'll forgive me.
This article came to me today from the National Wildlife Federation. It fits very nicely into the gardening niche, so here it is.

"Garden Patrol
By Sarah Boyle

AS A GARDENER, it can be your worst nightmare: watching helplessly as hordes of destructive insects attack your plants. With a little planning and simple landscaping, however, you can help moderate garden pests naturally in your yard. Your weapon: bug-eating birds. "During the late spring and summer months, insects make up the great majority of many avian species' diets," says NWF Chief Naturalist Craig Tufts. The trick to enticing these birds to your property, he notes, is to first learn which of them range in your area, and then to plant appropriate types of native cover that provide insect- and bird-attracting natural foods--leaves, fruit, pollen and nectar--to sustain both adults and their insect-dependent nestlings. Tina Phillips, project leader of Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bird House Network, adds, "The most important thing to do to attract birds to your yard is to provide an enticing habitat, not just a nest box. Birds choose a nest site based on its surrounding habitat."

Along with native vegetation, offer birds a water source and a few different nesting sites: brush piles, ledges, nest boxes, shrubs and various types of trees--including dead tree limbs and trunks. "As long as they don't create a safety hazard for people, dead trees provide nesting areas and are a great food source for insectivores," says Tufts.

Needless to say, birds will not completely rid your yard of insects, and even if they could, you wouldn't want them to do so. Some insects are imperative for a healthy garden, and birds do not discriminate between destructive and beneficial bugs. But they can help keep insect populations in your neighborhood at a stable, balanced level, benefiting both you and your neighbors. Subsequently, you'll have a nicer garden to show for it throughout the summer."

If you'd like to read the article WITH the list of birds and how to attract them, just visit this link.

2 Comments:

At June 16, 2006, Anonymous Laurie said...

Everyone else seems to hate them, but grackles would cover my lawn whenever I mowed. They seem to prefer manual push mowers (maybe the bugs are in bigger pieces), and a dozen or more landed as soon as I walked into the house. The cats were always entertained by the birds on the lawn.

My husband prefers a power mower (sigh) so no more grackles on the lawn, happily devouring insects.

 
At June 20, 2006, Blogger firefly said...

I am redoing the entire back yard in the hope of attracting birds. Our whole neighborhood has a horrible grub problem, and it seems to be June beetles, not Japanese beetles -- they come out at night, and they are just voracious -- so when I saw six or seven starlings, parents teaching children how to take grubs out of the lawn, with a couple of robins joining in, I started cheering. Grackles, starlings, robins, and catbirds all poke into the ground after the grubs, and the more of them land, the better I like it!

I hope your husband is up and about soon!

 

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