I love wild birds. And I love cats. I also adore little furry creatures (except when they’re pillaging my garden or raiding my bird feeders). How can an animal lover keep both the birds and the cats happy?
Is It Dead?
Congratulations! We just survived one of the coldest winters in recent history. Spring has finally arrived, even here at 7,000 feet. Bulbs are blooming, trees are budding, and there’s a bit of green in the dead grass. As my perennials finally begin to sprout, I’ve been busy clearing off the dead stems and dried seed heads. One by one, they return to life, and I mentally take attendance. Catmint? Here! Blue Mist Spirea? Here! Ornamental Sage? Hello? Has anyone seen Sage lately?
Yes, some of my favorite plants are no-shows. Others, such as the Blue Mist Spirea, are producing leaves from the base of the plant, but the stems are still bare and lifeless. As I check on the woody plants in my garden, I notice that not all my shrubs are leafing out as expected. Should I cut them down? Dig them out? Or am I just too impatient? How can I tell if there’s still life left in those limbs? (more…)
Avoiding Window Collisions
I’ll be sitting at my computer, enjoying the quiet of living in the forest, when THUD!! I cringe, knowing that another bird has just hit the window. If it’s lucky, the bird is merely stunned and will fly away in a moment. Unfortunately, all too often the impact is fatal.
Window collisions kill millions of birds every year. High rise office buildings account for some of this carnage, but ordinary homes pose the most severe threat. Pete and I live in a passive-solar house, which means that much of our southern wall is glass. Add in my abundance of bird feeders, and the outcome is inevitable. Birds I’ve welcomed into my yard with food, water, and bird-friendly habitat end up as casualties. What can we do?
Culling the Flock
I have nine hens in my chicken coop: six pullets that have just started laying small eggs, and three aging biddies who lay huge eggs… once in a while. We love the jumbo eggs—one per person is enough for breakfast—but we are only finding three or four per week, whereas the six pullets are together laying five or six eggs per day. In the meantime, the hens are all munching down on laying pellets at pretty much the same pace.