PRFCT Tips

Tagged with "Birds"

April 9, 2020

The PRFCT Relationship

April 09, 2020

Why not take advantage of this at-home opportunity to get to know your property better -- to work on your relationship? Have you spent quality time with your place, looking and listening? Learning from it. Do you understand and embrace its needs? How do you decide what is best for it? All on your terms?   
 
Go outside and take a good look at every square foot of your place, without judgement. What is going on? What is doing just fine, and what needs you? Appreciate all that is beautiful that happened all on its own. 
 
You and your land have been living together;  is it time you took a vow to be true to it? No cheating.  A relationship based on mutual input, not domination.    
 
What does that mean? This year’s PRFCT Tips will be your guide. 
 
Step One: Review all the maintenance and fertilizer/pesticide treatments you or your professionals have been applying to your property. What are they? Why are they needed?  
Check out their health and environmental effects here:  https://www.beyondpesticides.org/resources/pesticide-gateway
Or email us with questions: info@perfectearthproject.org 
 
Go back outside. Is your property bursting, buzzing and chirping with life? Treasure it. Make that vow: I will do this place no harm. Practice.  
 

Sept 10 TIP

KEEP OR KILL?

September 10, 2019

A friend called recently to ask for our opinion on a backyard situation. A large number of caterpillars were descending from webs in a tree and nibbling on his plants. He called in a tree expert who recommended that the offending tree be cut down and removed. Was this truly the only way to manage the problem?  

Happily, we could tell him to do nothing: keep the tree, and not to worry about the plants. The caterpillars are Fall Webworms, whose webs start showing up in late summer.

The parents are  pretty little white moths. They are native to the US; highly prolific, they lay their eggs in sunny spots on a large variety of host trees. The eggs hatch into the “worms” which weave the nest (same as silk worms). The nests protect them from predators, but they must come out to eat more leaves.  
As it is late in the growing season, the leaves they eat have already done their photosynthetic job and losing some of them to the webworms is no real loss to the parent plant. Many of the caterpillars will in turn become food--for birds and predator insects who need the protein for migrating or overwintering.  

So, just let them be.
Sadly, the people who don’t know about all this may be spraying, pruning, or even chopping down a whole tree.  Compare that to what a few little caterpillars can do. 
 
Note: Our last tip mentioned that milkweed doesn’t provide resources for anything but Monarch butterflies. This is not true, there are a large number of butterflies, bees and insects that benefit from milkweed, and I was quickly brought to task by some of our well informed readers, many thanks to them. Here’s more https://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/Wings_sp11_milkweed.pdf 

Milkweed

On Beyond Milkweed

July 23, 2019

July 23, 2019
On Beyond Milkweed   
Now that everyone LOVES milkweed, what’s next?  Milkweed only serves one insect, the Monarch Butterfly. You can do more! How about adding some other historically “weedy” native wildflowers to your garden and expand the pollinator banquet?  How about Thistles? They provide pollen, nectar, leaves and seeds for hundreds of insect and bird species. They are beautiful and structural, and seriously deer proof! There are some invasive ones and massive eradication programs have pretty much wiped out the good with the bad, so...

Do your bit for the good ones, get to know your thistle. 

If the answer to ALL these questions is NO, you probably have a native, let it be! 
Is the thistle spiny along the entire length of the stem? 
Are the bracts (the bulbous part below the brushy flower) triangular, firm, and spine-tipped? 
Are the bracts thick, and leathery, and jagged? 
Are the roots rhizomatous (running underground and popping up all over)?
The thistle in the photo inspired this tip. Found it growing in my yard, Goldfinches love the seed. Somewhat common on LI, endangered in Ct. Keep an eye out for some of your own and welcome it to your expanding world of pollinator plants. 

Thanks to Lindsay Karr https://weedwise.conservationdistrict.org

2018 03 16 07.06.42

Slow to Mow a Meadow

September 21, 2018

Are you mowing your meadow in the fall? Not so fast please, don’t mow, let it go till the spring!

Why?  For one thing, it looks much more beautiful than stubble.

Also, there are lots of ecosystem benefits:  
Seed heads have time to develop and disperse
Habitat and food is provided for wildlife:  think crickets, bumblebees, turkeys, American goldfinches, hawks and owls.

Mow in the spring, just before new growth begins, 8-12” high (habitat retained for solitary bees) and, best if you can rake off the cuttings.

Screen Shot 2018 08 29 At 2.47.43 Pm

Prevent Kamikaze Birds!

August 31, 2018

Saving Birds From Killer Collisions

We've all heard that sickening thunk when a bird flies into your window.  Up to one billion birds are estimated to die every year in the US due to window collisions, mostly with low-rise buildings and residences.

Birds hit glass because it reflects light and mirrors the outside landscape, making it  hard for birds to tell where the outdoors ends and the indoors begin. Try going outside and examine your windows from a bird's point of view at morning, noon and evening. Do they reflect trees or sky?

If so, or if they have a history of bird crashes, try these deterrents:

  1. Fun for kids and good for the environment: Repurpose your old CDs and turn them into hanging suncatchers, to warn birds away.  
  2. For a much more subtle fix, purchase ABC bird tape – a translucent tape developed by the American Bird Conservancy that lasts for years, letting plenty of light in. The tape strips or squares should be spaced no more than 2-4" apart. (Birds will try to fly through larger gaps.)
  3. You can also create your own designs using basic craft supplies like tempura paint or window markers, again keeping the 2-4" spacing in mind.
Tags: birds habitat

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