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gardening

Birds in the Winter Garden

Put your winter garden to work as a haven for birds. Leaves and brush left to compost provide foraging and roosting places, smother this year’s weeds, and feed next spring’s plant growth. Watch for juncos and towhees in the leaf litter, and wrens in the brush. Maybe even a Song Sparrow, like this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, gardening

What Sudden Oak Death Means for Birds

A California landscape - rolling hills dotted with oak trees. One year-round resident is the Oak Titmouse. In 1985, a pathogen called Sudden Oak Death began attacking California oaks. As the oaks die, they're cut down in an effort to stop the spread of the pathogen. But Oak Titmice require... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening, science

Restoring Native Prairie

Across the country, native prairie occupies only small fragments of its former range. On Washington's Whidbey Island, the Whidbey Camano Land Trust is restoring a remnant prairie. Land Steward Cheryl Lowe explains: "We're planting 23 different species of native prairie plants." As the prairie... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

Pinyon Jay

Pinyon Jays take their name from pinyon pines. Extracting the seeds from cones, the jays fill their throats. Then they fly to a caching site, sometimes miles away, to push each seed into the leaf litter. Collectively, they cache millions of seeds, some of which sprout before they can be eaten.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

Saving Snags for Red-headed Woodpeckers

Red-headed Woodpeckers excavate cavities in large, dead trees called snags. Yet, over much of the Red-head's range, snags are frequently cut down as unsightly, or because they make good firewood. There are ways we can help the Red-headed Woodpecker -- and many other woodpeckers, too. The key is... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening, nesting

Song Sparrow in your Brush Pile

Song Sparrows are found throughout the United States and into Southern Canada. To bring them into your garden, plant thick, low vegetation, or create a brush pile. This sparrow is celebrated - and named - for its singing. Without its melodious song, this furtive bird could be overlooked, since it... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

Tom Pincelli, a.k.a. "Father Bird"

Father Tom Pincelli is a Catholic priest known to many as "Father Bird." He's a birder and conservationist in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Southern Texas. One of his favorite birds is this Green Jay. The Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival starts today. Can't make it to Texas? There may be a... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  festival, gardening

The Moon of Falling Leaves

The Cree called the full moon in October "The Moon of Falling Leaves." It's almost time to stow the tools and put the garden to bed for the winter. When the trees lose their leaves, you can see the nests of summer. It's a good time to prune trees, because you won't disturb nesting birds. If you... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening, nesting

Nesting Niches

American Robins (like this male seen here with its young), House Finches, and Song Sparrows may all nest within one small garden. By selecting different nesting strata, the species avoid competing for the same nesting sites. If you plant your garden in multiple layers – trees both short and tall,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening, nesting

Master Gardeners Can Help

The Master Gardener program began in 1972, and is now active in 50 states and several other countries. Got bugs? They'll show you how to live with them-and without pesticides. They're water-wise, plant-savvy, and eager to help. Want to create a wildlife sanctuary in your yard? The Master... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening

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