BY GLADYS JEURINK
In June, 2007, the Wachiska Audubon Society will hold their
annual “Wildlife Tour of Lincoln Gardens”. So what is this Habitat?
How do you make one? As we pour cement over our soil for buildings,
parking lots, and new homes the wildlife is pushed farther back. There are estimates on how many species and plants and animals
that becomes extinct every year. People
in town and cities like Lincoln can make a small dent in these losses by
providing space in their yards by planning for wildlife.
We won’t be able to harbor tigers or lions but there is plenty
of room for birds and butterflies.
Many people have never thought of Lady
Bugs, Praying Mantis, and many other insects as friends, and a
way to spend less money on pesticides, by encouraging their survival
There is a
registry for your yard if you are interested. They will send you a kit
with ideas. To be eligible your yard needs to provide shelter, food,
water, and places to reproduce. My yard has been registered for many
years. I plant a BUTTERFLY
garden and feed birds year round hoping the birds will eat my food and
not eat all of my BUTTERFLY
larvae (caterpillars). Have you ever watched a CARDINAL
swing on a DILL plant as it searches for SWALLOW TAIL babies. I try to have a thick and large enough patch so
some can escape. DILL
needs full sun, fertile soil with good drainage. They produce huge numbers of seeds so once you have a patch
it will try to enlarge. Each
fall I try to gather one or 2 pints of the seeds.
is in the front and FENNEL
in the back and I don’t want them to cross pollinate as the hybrid
crop will lessen the DILL smell and flavor. I like the dark FENNEL as a contrasting color to green. It has hollow stems where LADY
BUGS spend the winter. The
foliage is lacy and looks good in vases with bright flowers.
need a puddle for water. A
bird bath bowl on the ground near a few rocks for a landing field works
fine. A little mud, a little manure kept wet, gives them the “salts”
they need. They actually have puddle parties and you can see them,
usually males in large numbers. For example the YELLOW
SULFUR BUTTERFLY is well known for this behavior. You can put over
ripe fruit near the puddle to get even more BUTTERFLIES,
or a little sugar or honey mixed in the mud.
Some of our BUTTERFLIES
migrate from further South so the large numbers are later in the summer.
Once I counted 75 MONARCHS on a patch of AUTUMN
JOY SEDUM to rest for the night on their way back to Mexico in the
fall. PAINTED LADY BUTTERFLIES arrive in late May or early June. Some
years there seems to be hundreds. A
few years ago they settled on my coneflowers
for their egg laying and soon the larvae created ragged plants.
This has not happened again but every year I see small numbers in
my yard their favorite plants are JOE
PYE WEED, EUPATORIUM sp., the TALL NEW ENGLAND ASTERS, COSMOS, JUPITERS
BEARD, MILKWEED, PHLOX, ZINNIAS and the tall, skinny BRAZIL VERBENEA (bonarensis).
Native plants attract more as they seem to ignore the ones their
ancestors never had. When planning your garden remember to plant nectar
plants for the adults and nursery plants for their eggs and larvae. They
are much fussier for the young than for the adults.
Some moths such LUNA
and CERCROPIAN MOTHS never
eat as they have no moth parts but go about immediately after hatching
to start a new generation. But what gorgeous creatures they both are.
Many think they are a HUMMINGBIRD
or call them a HUMMINGBIRD MOTH.
Shady yards are not as
popular as they can not fly unless warm enough so they like sunny areas
to pick up heat.
also need an assortment of plants in order to be a success.
Trees and shrubs for nest building, and protection. I have a HAWK
that visits quite often and the little guys disappear into the BLUE SPRUCE or the CEDAR
TREES, which are trimmed so they grow closely together. During the
winter I have any number of SPARROWS,
SNOW BIRDS (JUNCOS) and CHICADEES
that stay in a huge, round YEW
that is also trimmed to create a snow less haven near the bird feeders
on the patio. There is a
cat that would like to spend its time under there but my dogs check
first thing every morning. So
generally in the winter I roll a number of my plant cages under there to
keep him out.
The last few
years GRASSHOPPERS have
appeared in the front yard but I have a pair of ROBINS and a pair of CARDINALS
that keeps the numbers down. To
keep the birds around I try to keep my five bird baths filled in the
summer time and one heated in the winter.
When the sprinklers are going it is fun to watch the birds drink,
play, and bathe. Some are on the lawn, and some on the branches waiting
for it to come around again. BUTTERFLIES do not like sprinklers.
all birds eat seeds as their main diet.
BLACKBIRDS, such as RED
WINGED BLACKBIRDS, GRACKLES, and STARLINGS
like to pull grubs out of the lawn.
They also love to eat onion tops and the tender onions if they
can get to them. In the
backyard there is a SERVICEBERRY
(Amilanchier) that produces
fruit in late spring the same as my CRABAPPLE
TREES. The squirrels
pick the APPLES before they
are ripe, take a bite, and then drop them.
The birds and the butterflies seem to like them after they decay
a little. Have you seen a drunken ROBIN
that ate too many fermenting ones?
CEDAR WAXWINGS will
have this happen occasionally from the HAWTHORNE berries.
never gets completely broken down but everything goes through a chipper
so as soon as I can see what is up in the spring, I like to start using
it to keep moisture in and weeds from germinating.
Immediately behind me are birds scratching and throwing pieces
aside to find all the insects that spent the winter in the pile.
Sometimes I have to go back over and take the compost off the path and
put it back under the plants. In
the meantime the birds and their babies have breakfast as they reduce my
just received a new book from one of my seed catalogues call “Wildlife
Friendly Plants” by Rosemary Creeser.
It is not a big book but has a plant directory naming and how to
care for a wildlife habitat. She also names the plants that our “good