Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests (Part 2)

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests (Part 2)

 Click here for Part I that focuses on how natural insect predators helped fight the ACP pest in Florida

Add plant diversity to your gardens. Also make sure you have flowering plants year-round. Ecologists say these key recommendations will usher in natural predators to our gardens and orchards to combat pests.

These tips can even help ward off the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) that is alarmingly moving into our citrus trees after devastating the citrus in Florida. [Read more…]

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests — Especially the Asian psyllid (Part 1)

Tapping Beneficial Insects to Combat Pests — Especially the Asian psyllid (Part 1)

Note: This is a two part article – More info on attracting native predator insects for pests, photos and references  is here

Ken Kupfer is a popular speaker on biological control, which is the use of natural enemies to manage pests and their damage. While his work with organic and sustainable growers finds Kupfer in California nearly half of the year, he resides in Florida. There he personally witnessed the infestation of the Asian citrus psyllid, referred to as ACP. After devastating the Florida citrus industry, the ACP has unfortunately made its way to California.

“In Florida, the [mandated] use of systemic pesticides and foliar pesticides for citrus crops has really saturated the environment and it of course kills 99% of other bugs it comes in contact with”  Ken Kupfer

[Read more…]

My, What Rains Bring to the Desert in Spring – Anza Borrego

My, What Rains Bring to the Desert in Spring – Anza Borrego

We’ve had 17 inches of rain in our inland Southern California city this rainy season. That’s a lot for us. Our nearby deserts have received about half that. Along with pleasant temps, this translates into stunning wildflower and cactus flower displays which began in February.

For locals, it’s not too late to go. We drove to Anza-Borrego State Park yesterday. We stopped at several points, walked 50-100 feet from our car, and…. amazing! See below for photos – when I know what it is I identify it…. [Read more…]

Pruning 101: Correct Palm Pruning

Pruning 101: Correct Palm Pruning

There are major problems in the land of pruning, according to arborists certified by the internationally recognized organization, the International Society of Aboriculture (ISA).

Many tree pruners remove excessive live parts only to be doing paid work, says San Bernardino certified arborist Paul Chaney.  “This is unethical, and it damages the tree — the customer’s property.  Many large, mature, and valuable trees are being severely damaged [in Southern California] because of ignorant and unethical tree cutters,” Chaney says.

Severely overpruned Washington fan palms – aka ‘rooster-tailing’ Notice the trunk narrowing.

In this article, we will address palm pruning [Read more…]

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Last weekend my husband and I did a Salton Sea tour through the Living Desert Museum in Palm Desert, led by College of the Desert professor Kurt Leuschner. For those who don’t know Kurt, he is a birding, wildlife and ecologist extraordinaire. We saw so many birds, and learned so much –including debunked myths about this amazing place.

Below are some photos and takeaways.  [Read more…]

A Special Nature Sanctuary in Central Park

A Special Nature Sanctuary in Central Park

Central Park was my nature haven the year I lived in New York City attending graduate school. It still is when I return for visits.

Now, a bird sanctuary on the southeast corner of Central Park, which has been closed to the public since 1934, is open to a limited number of people each week. I recently traipsed around the area, called Hallett Nature Sanctuary, which is on a bluff above the Pond. The Pond was formed from a swamp in the development of Central Park in the 1850s.

Below are some photos from early June.  And here’s what made it special to me: [Read more…]

Does this Baby Bird Need Rescue?

Does this Baby Bird Need Rescue?

This is a reprint from the May/June issue of the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society’s Western Meadowlark – Thank you!

by Ruth Greyraven

Do everything you can to reunite an uninjured baby bird with its parents.

If the chick is a cotton-ball on legs… you have a quail, killdeer, or other precocial species. These tiny fluffballs open their eyes and start running after their parents on Day One after hatching. If needed, move the chick from a dangerous location to a safer nearby location.

IMG_4848If the chick is feathered… with a short tail and short wings, but it is fluttering and hopping around rather than flying, then you have a fledgling of an altricial species. It isn’t injured. It is normal for altricial chicks to pop out of the nest before they are ready to fly. This awkward stage will pass in a few days. The fledgling’s parents are nearby, feeding it regularly. The fledgling needs its parents to teach it the ropes of birdness for weeks or even months to come. Move the chick only when needed to get it to a safer nearby location.

If the chick is extremely naked and its eyes aren’t open… you have a hatchling. It is only a day or two old. After its eyes open and tube-like sheaths (pinfeathers) begin grow- ing on the wings and back, we call it a nestling. In either case, the best resolution is to get the baby back in its nest, if you can find the nest and if the nest is within reach. When a nest has fallen, support the nest appropriately and affix it up as close to its orig- inal location as possible. You can create an artificial nest cup, lined with dry grass, and put it somewhere safe or as close to the real nest as possible. Most birds are great parents, if given a little help.

If there is an obvious injury or no way to reconnect the baby bird with its parents, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Some veterinarians or humane societies may be able to help, but only a licensed wildlife rehabili- tator can legally provide long-term care. Reha- bilitators are likely to be unpaid volunteers. Don’t expect that somebody will be available to answer your phone call 24/7 and rush to your home. In most instances, you’ll need to bring the baby bird to the rehabilitator. Some of these groups will take every type of injured or orphaned wildlife. Others have specialties.

If you need to provide short-term care to a baby bird … the internet offers many excellent sites with advice on how to care for various species of birds. Hummingbirds need different care than finches. Crows need different care than pigeons.