What’s blooming (and feeding wildlife) in our native plant yard

What’s blooming (and feeding wildlife) in our native plant yard

We have an early spring this February with our warm Southern California weather. I’ve been keeping track of what our resident hummingbird – the Anna’s Hummingbird – is taking nectar from in our reconverted lawn, now mostly California natives. The insect life is also rich – which in turn attracts the hummingbirds and other winged life. Seems photos will speak best, so here are a few from the last couple months. [Read more...]

The Lesson of ‘Little Bill’

The Lesson of ‘Little Bill’

I received this story about a blackbird named Bill in a Christmas card from my childhood friend, Linda Gurtz Hildreth. Such a good message…. thank you Linda. [Read more...]
Using IPM to Control Rodents- (Part 1 continued)

Using IPM to Control Rodents- (Part 1 continued)

This is the second part of my article about rodent control options that avoid the use of rat poisons. (Click here for part one.) Research is showing wildlife, pets and sometimes humans are suffering negative effects in particular from the stronger second-generation rodenticides. Gerry Miller, who worked years in pest control for both the state of California and Tulare County, provides some answers from his experience. [Read more...]

Using IPM to Control Rodents – Part 1

Using IPM to Control Rodents – Part 1

You may wonder how to best get rid of rodents on your property, or heaven forbid, in your house. Unfortunately, that’s our situation – we’ve recently hired a company to seal our roof to prevent rats from entering our attic. (One month later, I think they’re finally sealed out.) You may also have heard some concern about rat poisons such as D-Con, which the EPA has determined pose a risk to children, pets and wildlife.

The following interview is with Gerry Miller, who worked 28 years with the California Department of Food and Agriculture   [Read more...]

Our Welcome (and not welcome) Nature Guests

Our Welcome (and not welcome) Nature Guests

Our housesitter called when we were away to say that we hadn’t told her about our unexpected friend. At dusk she had walked out onto the back patio and discovered a 5-foot gopher snake slithering along the house. Knowing our respect for critters, she successfully whisked it away with a broom. We hope it stays around. After all, gopher snakes eat lots of rats and other rodents, which also seem to like our yard. [Read more...]

Bugs! and Other Photos from Our Yard

Bugs! and Other Photos from Our Yard

Our yard is alive with wildlife this spring, so thought I would post some photos of the critters and a few native plants they’re especially attracted to. The insects attract a host of larger insects and in the chain of life, they in turn attract a rich bird and lizard population that feeds on them all. The last photo I took was of a Cooper’s hawk hoping to feed on one of those birds. [Read more...]

Native Bees and Other Wildlife Find Our Home

Native Bees and Other Wildlife Find Our Home

What a joy this spring to walk around our yard here in Southern California – a former lawn now full of native and other wildlife-attracting plants. The native bees have arrived in higher numbers, challenging the busy honeybees on our blooming ceanothus and lavender. Our resident Anna’s hummingbird seemed to survive the cold spell this winter and is perching on his usual tree branch  [Read more...]