Wine Drinkers: Choose Corked Wine

Wine Drinkers: Choose Corked Wine

During the last year I’ve read about the importance of cork trees and recently read another article on the topic in Living Bird magazine, which expressed concern that wine bottlers were replacing cork stoppers with plastic or screw caps.

Main takeaway: The cork stopper in your wine bottle represents a rich history, vital income for generations of Europeans and a key to conserving European birds, plants and a number of endangered species. [Read more…]

Bees: Consider Live Bee Removal for Hives

Bees: Consider Live Bee Removal for Hives

A couple years ago the picture above told us we definitely had a bee problem in the eaves of our house. But we’re bee proponents – we plant plants on our property to nourish them year-round and we’re concerned about the die-off that’s been publicized.  So – we were glad to find ‘live bee’ removal services that cost the same or less than exterminating them.  [Read more…]

Wildlife Cam Shots–While You’re Sleeping

Wildlife Cam Shots–While You’re Sleeping

Nothing like a wildlife camera to show what’s out on your property — We live in a suburban area on a half acre, 2 houses from a golf course. There is an alley in back, where I saw coyotes trotting by one early morning, so figured there were more critters to be had. We’ve also preserved native plant habitat and are creating more, so wondered what was out there when we were sleeping or not looking. [Read more…]

Some Truths about Rattlesnakes (and myth debunking…..)

Some Truths about Rattlesnakes (and myth debunking…..)

Acquaintances of ours were over at our house the other night and when they asked if we wanted to see a photo of the rattlesnake they found on their property,  I thought to myself  ‘they probably killed it.’ Yep, they did. It was a good 4-plus feet long, so likely had lived many years of its 25 year lifespan in the wild canyon that is off one side of their property.

While I’ve encountered few rattlesnakes on my various hikes, we have encountered over a half dozen on the 3 acre canyon property we lived on in San Diego County.

Except for the concern for our dog, we didn’t mind them around because: [Read more…]

The Value of Old Growth Trees

The Value of Old Growth Trees

We’ve lived in Southern California now for 9 years and several years ago moved to Redlands, CA. This city has a long history dating back to the 1880s where it became the winter home for many wealthy Mid-westerners, similar to Pasadena. One thing that attracted us the most were Redland’s numerous old trees, many dating back 100 plus years. [Read more…]

To Kill or Not to Kill Spiders….and Do Spiders Bite?

To Kill or Not to Kill Spiders….and Do Spiders Bite?

I read an article in a small newspaper (Coast News  in Encinitas) about spiders and wrote the author thanking her. It quoted her children’s favorite book, Charlotte’s Web, which happens to be my favorite childhood book, and left me a permanent fondness for spiders and pigs.  None in the author’s family would kill spiders and they were in mourning over the death of a big spider that lived on their front porch.

We too do not kill spiders, none outside our house, and inside we transport any outside (my husband’s exception is black widow spiders).  One of our grown sons confided in me that he, too, cannot kill spiders – you never know in what ways you affect your children. [Read more…]

Save a Songbird: Keep Cats Inside

Save a Songbird: Keep Cats Inside

2016 Follow-up – If you can’t bring your cats inside permanently – please consider this Birds Be Safe Collar -A recent United States-based scientific study has shown that Birdsbesafe® cat collar covers projected an average reduction of 87% birds captured annually.  

While vacationing in British Columbia this fall, I read a good letter to the editor about cat owners who let their cats run free, thinking it’s good for the cat. A statistic jumped out at me, which I checked out. I have had both an indoor cat an outdoor cat.

More than 20 percent — so 1 of every 5 songbird death – is due to cats running free. American Wildlife Foundation scientists have been studying the drop in songbird population. Habitat destruction is a big reason but obviously cats are another.  You read about the statistic of millions of bird deaths yearly due to cats (a 2010 U of Nebraska report estimated 480 million birds in the U.S. annually!) but I think the above factoid is easier to understand. There’s also the baby ducks, squirrels and rabbits they catch.

Reasons why to keep your cat indoors:

  • Injury and getting nabbed by a predator (coyotes as well as cars).
  • Friendly inside cats revert to its hereditary,  predatory nature once they go out the door. And while that may seem ‘natural’ remember that, cats are not part of the natural predatory cycle. In more wild areas, bobcats nab an occasional bird but nothing like the damage cats do.
  • To repeat, more than 20 percent  — so 1 of every 5 songbird death – is due to cats running free

If you’re a cat owner, look at the resources below & consider the following:

  • Cats not introduced to the outdoors don’t miss it. Keep them indoors from the start.
  • Also, cats do fine on leashes, especially if started young.  People who have leash-trained their cats, including my husband, report they go happily for walks just like a dog.
  • If you really can’t make the decision to keep your current feline in, make a vow that any future cats you have will be indoor-only cats.
  • More and more cities have laws where cats running free that can be traced to owners result in a fine.  Do it on your own and regulation won’t be necessary.

Resources