Cuckoo bees are named after the European cuckoo bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. A North American example would be the brown-headed cowbird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. Other terms for this practice are brood parasitism or cleptoparasitism. Why would a female cuckoo bee go to all the work of finding a nest, collecting nesting materials, laying eggs, and providing food for her offspring when she can get another bee to do all these tasks for her? With all … [Read More...]
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Meet other passionate wildlife gardeners from around the country. Share your successes. Learn from your failures. Discover the best resources to help you create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your gardens with native plants so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, native pollinators, and other wildlife to your garden.
I awoke this morning to temperatures that were a little cold by Central Florida standards (low 40s F). As the sun came up I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the kitchen window to watch the bird activity of the morning. I was greeted by the return of American Robins (Turdus migratorius). On a … [Read More...]
It's flyover country out here in Nebraska. Each spring millions of waterfowl come through on their way to breeding grounds in the Dakotas (some 90% of North American ducks breed there), Canada, and the arctic circle. 90 minutes west of here is a pretty famous migration that brings in big tourist … [Read More...]
Shrubs with edible berries are great for us and wildlife love them. Most are quite adaptable and easily grown. They add visual interest in both summer and winter gardens and provide habitat, food and shelter for wildlife, especially birds. In the Rocky Mountains we enjoy a sequential bloom of … [Read More...]
Native Bees, Butterflies, and other Insects
If all the insects in an acre of land chose to sit on you, they would crush you. Is that possible? How many insects are there in an acre and how much do they weigh? To get a better perspective on the importance of insects, I set myself the task of finding out how many insects there are in any … [Read More...]
Ever wonder what the world would look like if nothing ever decayed? We’d quickly be buried under a very deep layer of all sorts of debris. And we’d run out of nutrients in a hurry. Lots of fungi, insects, and other critters facilitate the breakdown of our trees when they die. Nutrients are released … [Read More...]
There are endless opportunities to discover something new in your wildlife garden or local park. Remember to take the time to sit quietly and observe what's going on around you. More often than not I discover something new that I didn't know was there, even though I walk by that place several times … [Read More...]
Winter's muted colors and chill leave me longing for spring's bright hues, and the motley blues are some of my favorites. Siberian Squill and Chionodoxa sprout to mind, though it is the animated avian blues I thirst for. Our Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea, residents fill the glass to overflowing. … [Read More...]
Veery Catharus fuscescens, is a shy, plump, reddish-brown thrush that lives in the forest and is a member of the Turdidae family, along with the Bluebirds and American Robin. The Veery has a wondrous and unearthly song that floats up into the house and barn from the forest floor just before sunrise … [Read More...]
I tried really hard to come up with a cheesy title for this piece based on the continual 80s music soundtrack I have in my head, and I think I succeeded. Name the band, get a free prairie!* But more to the point, I am in love with seed heads -- god, I am enraptured. Gone are the days of blissfully … [Read More...]
Birds and Other Wildlife
Marquette County, where I call home, boasts the third highest deer density in the state of Wisconsin. Last I checked, numbers are bumping 50 deer per square mile. Not surprising given the habitat. The mosaic of cropland interspersed with fragmented woodlots and wetlands, considered prime by the deer … [Read More...]
From late August through November the skies are full of migrating hawks, falcons, and eagles as they move south for the winter. ...This site is called “The River of Raptors”, but until actually standing in the midst of so many migrating birds, the phenomenon is simply unbelievable! The sky was … [Read More...]
Much of what I read about gardening for wildlife concentrates on the winged variety — butterflies, birds, and the insects on which they feed. We certainly have lots of native plants in our garden, and in the adjacent woods, that meet the needs of the many species of birds we’ve seen out our kitchen … [Read More...]