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).
According to the World Wildlife Fund, "The latest survey of monarch butterfly habitat in Mexico is a testament to the power of conservation. The area of forest occupied by hibernating monarch butterflies in Mexico has increased by 144% in relation to last year’s survey—the biggest growth in the past 12 years. A new colony of monarchs was also found in the Nevado de Toluca, State of Mexico."
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Make sure your feathered friends have a steady source of food and water so they will stay year-round to help with pest control and balancing your garden's ecosystem.
If you want to increase your bird population, place nesting houses by February. Make sure each house has the right sized hole and dimension and is properly sited for the kind of bird you are trying to attract.
Birds & Blooms offers information on attracting nesting birds with better birdhouses. To learn more, click the button below.
By popular demand, Lisa Bierer-Garrett, Conservation Outreach Coordinator and former Naturalist for the Patuxent River Park of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, returned as a guest speaker to share her expertise through slides and lecture on Goldfinch Gardening – How to Birdscape Your Garden.
The American Goldfinch is primarily an eater of seeds, especially during the winter, feeding on native and non-native thistles. However, one way people attract these beautiful birds is by placing niger or Nyjer seeds in bird feeders. The birds love them because they are high in calories and rich in oils.
An excellent way to attract this species is to landscape with a wide variety of plants that produce seed, such as asters, coneflowers, sunflowers and, of course, thistles. Goldfinches need plants for more than seeds. Milkweed, cattails and dandelions provide fluffy nest-building material. One plant to avoid is burdock, it has multiple burrs that can entangle the small birds.
For more information on the American Goldfinch and goldfinch gardening, click the buttons below.