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…]

Animal Emotions…. and Animal Demotion

Animal Emotions…. and Animal Demotion

This weekend I came across a Harper’s magazine issue from this summer that had a couple features on the relationship between humans and animals. Some of the thought-provoking points are below, along with other research and a couple experiences of our own.

How different are animals from humans? [Read more…]

12 Ways to Help Birds on their Migration

12 Ways to Help Birds on their Migration

Here are things you can do to help birds of all kinds – songbirds, raptors and shorebirds – especially as they fly from their winter homes to their summer breeding ground. To help them avoid the many perils along the way: [Read more…]

Carpenter Bees: Reconsider Viewing Them as Pests

Carpenter Bees: Reconsider Viewing Them as Pests

We’ve got lots of carpenter bees — visiting the Cleveland Sage in our front yard, and now laying eggs above. About a year ago I saw sawdust below an old parrot perch sitting outside and over the next few months got to witness an adult carpenter bee drilling into the wood prior to laying eggs. Then I even caught a newbie below one of the holes as it adjusted to making its way into the natural world. We have other old wood posts where they appear to have nested – and I was glad to offer them nesting sites on our property. They are also very active in pollinating our flowers.

However, you hear so many negative things about them so I asked a couple bee experts [Read more…]

Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (Midwest/East)

Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (Midwest/East)

In a follow-up to my post (Landscaped Yard Ushers in Butterflies and Birds) about the Damons’ yard in St. Paul MN, I asked Susan for her favorite plants. Most are natives, a couple non-natives. Here is her reply (thanks Susan!) and more photos. [Read more…]

Pesticide Use: Consider the Collateral Damage

Pesticide Use: Consider the Collateral Damage

Asian Citrus Psyllid

A couple things have prompted this post. First, we have a potentially devastating disease hitting citrus trees in SoCal with the arrival of an insect Asian Citrus Psyllid. To combat it, a pesticide spray composed of two common insecticides is being applied to local trees. Second, I read a Sierra magazine article called Parkinson’s Alley, on the high rate of Parkinson’s disease in a Central California town surrounded by high agricultural pesticide use. [Read more…]