In 1994, John Porter, Illinois' 10th District Congressman read a resolution that the month of February would become National Bird Feeding Month. Mr. Porter spoke to the Speaker of the House, recognizing that February was one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds. During this month, individuals are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to wild birds in areas with cold temperatures and limited natural resources like plants and berries. Participating in National Bird Feeding Month will help wild bird populations survive winter and provide you with backyard entertainment.
For information on winter bird feeding, click the button below.
Claudia West, Birds & Butterflies Committee Chair, gave an informative talk at our February meeting, The Mightiest Midgets – Hummingbirds. A few hummingbird facts are listed below.
For additional information on hummingbirds that are commonly seen in our backyards, click the button below.
One of the best ways to make your yard an attractive winter habitat to birds is to provide food and shelter. Choose bird-friendly landscaping such as a selection of evergreen plants that provide safety as well as plants that will offer winter berries. It is also important to provide plenty of high nutrition food rich in fats such as suet, peanuts, nyjer seed, and black oil sunflower seeds. The fat gives them an energy boost, and without high calorie, nutritious foods, they are less likely to survive those extra cold nights.
Good shelter can make all the difference in whether a smaller, leaner bird is able to survive the winter. Whether you plant a grouping of evergreens in an out-of-the-wind location, or you hang roosting or nesting boxes, if you provide safe places for them to seek shelter from the cold winds, you are likely to be a favorite spot for many types of birds.
Owls have superpower vision and can see in the dark. They have incredible hearing and unique flight skills. How do owls have these amazing powers?
Claudia West, Birds & Butterflies Committee Chair, discussed the PBS program Owl Power with members at our October meeting. The program follows the lives of two barn owl chicks, Luna and Lily, from the moment they hatch to show their development into super-powered owls. Luna and Lily are cared for by longtime bird handlers and trainers Lloyd and Rose Buck who also raise other birds of prey in the English countryside. It takes two weeks for the chicks to open their eyes, but in just two months, they’re nearly adult barn owls and beginning their flight practice.
For more information on the PBS program, click the button below.
For more information on barn owls, click the button below.
The parsley worm is a caterpillar that has a green, segmented body with gold dots evenly spaced among black stripes and can grow to be up to two inches long. The parsley worm has a huge appetite for plants in the Apiaceae family –– an expansive group of plants that spans more than 3,000 species and encompasses everything from carrots and parsley to dill, fennel, and Queen Anne's lace.
While you may not like to see it munching on your carrots and herbs, it’s the larva of an important native pollinator –– the black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes).