Although I can’t say for sure that butterflies actually use butterfly houses, there sure are some beauties to adorn your garden. This pole-mounted butterfly house features rich redwood with hand-etched glass panels. I can say with certainty that butterflies absolutely adore the gentle spray from leaf misters! We use two during the summer months and see daily activity throughout the season.
Over ripened fruit is also a butterfly favorite. Bananas, melon, pears and oranges that are just a tad past their prime are a sweet treat for these winged wonders. The fruit also attracts fruit flies and these provide butterflies with additional protein. Molded fruit is not advised, so it must be monitored to assure this doesn’t happen. Set fruit out on a plate, on a deck or porch rail, even an up-turned pot will work. But the butterfly garden must be part of the equation too.
Native plants to provide nectar are necessary in creating a butterfly garden. Wild Columbine, Rose Verbena, Button Bush, Blue Lobelia, Cardinal Flower, Asters, and Milkweed are a few favorites. Besides nectar plants, host plants are needed for the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. These plants will likely be “munched” in the process, but they’ll come back again next year, and you’re providing critical butterfly habitat by letting them go. Some of the more popular host plants include Parsley, Dill, Fennel, Carrot and Milkweed. Trees include Wild Cherry, Willow, Plum and Poplar.
Adding a place to “warm in the sun” is also quite attractive to butterflies. You can easily arrange heat-absorbing rocks in a sunny area, add some sand and salts and keep the area moist to further entice butterflies. It’s recommended to first line the area with plastic to keep the salts from leaking into the soil. Definitely stop using any pesticides, chemicals or fertilizers in the area as well, most people tend to overlook this important factor when creating a butterfly habitat.
So… although I can’t say for sure that butterflies use butterfly houses… these are some good ideas on creating an enticing butterfly habitat at your home.
Every single bird feeder (and even some birdhouses) at our place sits with a squirrel baffle attached to it. Don’t get me wrong, I like squirrels and feed them pretty darn good, but it’s just never enough. Squirrels are fine in the yard~just not in the bird feeders! Many folks would agree with this too.
One 3-arm feeder pole that’s next to the driveway has been the new target of our crafty critters lately, as they’ve learned to jump from the side view mirror of the car when parked near the feeder. This has caused a new plan in parking management, as the second car in is NOT allowed to pull up to the end of the drive. It’s an inconvenience, but saves a lot of birdseed!
Both hanging and pole mount squirrel baffles are essential to backyard bird feeding if squirrels happen to be present. It’s the only thing that really works. If you have a fancy shepherd’s hook with no straight end to slide the baffle over, these cone shaped ones work like a dream on any size feeder pole. A simple clamp and innovative design will make your feeders squirrel-proof in no time flat!
A customer recently told me she purchased those “hot meats” to deter squirrels. From experience I know these will work effectively… for a little while anyway. Pounds of Cayenne pepper has been added to our seed stash-but to no avail because the crafty critters get used to it. The easiest solution to squirrels is hands-down – squirrel baffles!
For most of April and May, we’ve been giving away free nesting materials with all orders. Throughout most of the spring season, you can encourage birds to take up residence at your place with nesting materials. Different species build their nests accordingly, so we’ve used varied materials to make up the packages.
Shown here is a Pop-Outz suet feeder, and we’ve been giving them away too! The recycled plastic makes a perfect container for offering the nesting materials. Suet is always a welcomed treat for both resident and migratory birds and the Pop-Outz is a super fun way to serve it. No-melt suet or doughs are made specifically for warm weather feeding and the energy boost really helps out migratory birds after a long journey.
But back to the nesting materials, ours were comprised of horse hair (from mane, tail and body), decorative mosses, like Spanish, sphagnum, and the yellow straw-like stuff, feathers and strips of aspen wood. Aspen fiber happens to be another favorite among North American birds, and is found in many of the commercial nesting material kits.
A mesh produce bag from the grocery store (like the kind apples come in) also works great for offering nesting materials, and we use them around our yard. Things like the Birdie Bell are also wonderful for nest materials, plus year-round feeding too.
Entice birds to take up residence at your place by creating a suitable and friendly environment. Food, water and shelter are the basics, be it natural or man-made… the birds will thrive and flourish!
Because I lack any really decent photography equipment, the image isn’t so great, in fact I was pretending to digiscope with a pair of cheap binoculars. But that’s not the point of this blog. The bird feeder pole where this cardinal is perched sees a whole lot of activity in our back yard. From bluebirds and chickadees to titmice and woodpeckers, the four-arm bird feeder pole offers the perfect perching spot to rest and hunt.
Recently we had a semi-successful brood of bluebirds. Five babies made it out into the world, but the task of raising all five alone must have been too much for mom. Three days before these babies fledged, dad went missing. Perhaps the red-tailed hawk who hangs around, or my neighbor’s pain in the $#@ cats had gotten to him? Although I’ll never know his fate, he did leave his legacy in the three thriving juveniles. They like landing on this bird feeder pole because the mealworm dish is attached to it. They have options where to land and perch, and because the pole’s arms are at two levels, the babies can ease their way down to the dish. New males are in the area, but they’re not so kind to the babies, Mother Nature sure can be brutal at times 🙁
So here’s another pretty bad photo of dad bluebird before he disappeared, perched on the same bird feeder pole. It’s really stinks not having a decent camera because the birds in our yard are many and varied. There’s an Eastern Phoebe feeding two babies, three kinds of woodpeckers, all the usual suspects, and a thrasher who hangs around. Now, if the darn starlings would just hit the road… all would be well.
Two years ago, a moving photograph taken by National Geographic went viral – appearing on television shows and newspapers throughout the world.. It depicted a group of chimps “mourning” a deceased member of their family. Earlier this morning, National Geographic released a video depicting a similar situation, where several chimps react to the passing of a nine-year-old.
The experts presenting the video tread softly when calling the chimps’ behavior “mourning,” as they are still in the process of determining whether or not chimpanzees are capable of such an emotional reaction.