Gardening is for the Birds
by Kristi Cook

Patience is a virtue, especially in the gardening world. I learned this lesson in a profound way one season while on a morning walk through the garden. As I scouted for disease and pests and checked the ripeness of various fruits and vegetables, I discovered my lush and heavily laden tomato plants nearly covered in aphids. Or so it seemed. Never in all my years had I been the victim of such a harsh attack by these horrid creatures. I’m sad to say that my initial response, despite being an organic grower, was to think I needed some chemical to treat the infestation. Fortunately for my garden, my more rational side suggested I wait patiently to see which of my garden helpers would come to the rescue. And as always, I was not disappointed.   >> read article
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In Defense of Spiders
by Kristi Cook

Spiders are perhaps some of the most feared and misunderstood inhabitants of any garden. Quickly squashed into “bug juice” without a moment’s hesitation, these beneficials rarely find safe refuge in their garden homes. Yet, despite their fearsome reputations, wise gardeners learn to appreciate these hungry monsters as they go about their daily business patrolling for pests such as mosquitos, flies, aphids, and leafhoppers. Knowing how to live side by side in harmony is a simple matter of understanding what makes them tick – or twitch.   >> read article
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Hoo Gives a Hoot
by Kenny Coogan

Hosting and inviting owls to your garden has many advantages. Although not seen as often as diurnal birds, when owls are spotted it is a thrill for all. Their distinct vocalizations often give their locale away, as they fly silently with their fringed feathers hunting for vermin. Having pest control working not only for free, but throughout the night unseen, is an added bonus. Owls are an environmentally safe form of pest control – no harsh chemicals needed.   >> read article
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The Ecological Benefits of Bats
by Alison McCartney

All bats found in the Southeast are insectivores and therefore provide the ecological benefit of acting as a natural pest control. Forty-five bat species are native to the United States with 15 living in the Southeast. Nearly 40 percent of these species are threatened or endangered, and around the world, many more are declining at alarming rates.   >> read article
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A Helping Hand From the Birds and Bees
by Alan Pulley

When it comes to gardening, many think of wildlife as problematic, when, in most cases, just the opposite is true. As most gardeners can attest, there is a lot that goes into managing a garden. No matter the size, there’s always something to do – like soil prepping, weeding, watering, planting – you get the idea. With all that we do to help improve our chances for success, we’re not the only ones in control. Believe it or not, there are other busy workers out and about giving us a helping hand, and their presence could determine the success or failure of our efforts – and no one does this better than our native wildlife, especially the birds and bees.   >> read article
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Welcome the Birds
by Jeff Rugg

Have you ever wondered why you see more birds in local forest preserves than in your yard? Why some birds are seen in the suburbs but not in the city? Have you ever tried to attract hummingbirds or orioles by putting out special bird feeders, only to have them ignored? What can you do to attract more birds to your yard ...   >> read article
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Backyard Birds
Keep feathered friends flocking to your garden
by Tom Barnes

"Tea-kettle, tea-kettle,"sings the little Carolina wren as it crouches in the garden shed waiting for the most opportune moment to sneak from its perch to the suet hanging from the old oak tree. Nearby, a shy and diminutive Carolina chickadee scolds the gray squirrel with a "chickadee-dee-dee" for stealing the small sunflower seeds that were destined for his early morning breakfast.   >> read article
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Bringing Home the Birds
Keep your feathered friends flocking to your yard
by Shannon Pable

Soon, the palette of the landscape will be transforming from subtle browns and tans and exploding into splashes of hot pink, white, yellow and purple. The sweet-smelling crabapple blossoms will shower papery petals in a gentle breeze, blanketing the landscape. The rustling chatter and singing of wildlife will fill the once still air. Soon, spring will be here!   >> read article
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