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Save Bees. Plant in fall. Yard tips...
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Nature Scoop October 2021

Migratory Magnolia Warbler in my Bird Bath

Update on mysterious bird disease: Please check with your local DNR or wildlife agency before making any changes. For instance, in Ohio, ODNR posted a notice on 9/8 allowing bird feeders and baths to go back up, with vigilance and caution. Future updates will be posted on Twitter @naturescoopohio and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/toni.stahl.73/.

Bees are in trouble and need our help, but there is a misunderstanding about what the problems really are. The agriculture business loses money when there are diseases in non-native, European honey bees, but honey bees are not endangered, like our native Rusty-patched Bumblebees are. There are more honey bees in the world now than at any time in history. The executive director of the Xerces Society states that "Keeping honey bees to 'save the bees' is like raising chickens to save birds." One acre of flowering plants is needed to support one honey bee hive full of 10,000 - 50,000 honey bees. The farming industry and backyard hobby beekeepers aren't required to plant flowers for their bees, like they feed their livestock. Domesticated honey bees are competing with our wild native bees (like bumblebees, leaf-cutter bees, mason bees and more) for flowers they depend upon. Honey bees can fly much farther than our native bees, extracting resources from a large area that overlaps wild bee habitat.

The majority of native bees nest singly as opposed to a large group of honey bees living in a human-managed hive. Many native bees rely on specific native plants for pollen to feed their babies. Honey bees are generalists, and able to use pollen from native, non-native and even invasive plants. By pollinating invasive plants, honey bees are introducing more plants that suppress the growth of our necessary native plants. Unfortunately, well-intentioned people are planting invasive plants for honey bees. Honey bees also carry disease which they deposit on plants they pollinate, which is then picked up by the native bees when they pollinate the same plant. We can help save our native bees by planting native plants that flower from early spring to late fall. The native plants that feed the most specialist native bees in most parts of the country are Perennial Sunflowers, Goldenrods, Native Willows, Asters and Blueberries. These plants will also feed the generalist native bee babies. A pollinator list flowering by month from Doug Tallamy is here. Let's save honey bees and native bees by placing hives in landscapes that are adequately planted to support the hives. Read more from Heather Holm.

Fall is a great time for planting. Plant a native tree that supports caterpillars from the native plant finder by Doug Tallamy and National Wildlife Federation. Some of these caterpillars become butterflies, like the Tiger Swallowtail. Leave decaying trees where it is safe to do so to allow Woodpeckers to use them for nests. Tree roots stabilize river and stream banks, preventing erosion pollution. Erosion creates a build-up of silt that destroys egg-laying habitat for fish, such as trout and salmon. We need native trees because they absorb storm water, store carbon dioxide, give off oxygen and more. Doug Tallamy lists the top 10 native trees. Leave the leaf litter underneath the trees so that larvae are able to overwinter there.

Good news: One of our readers, Saima, made a YouTube video of her Certified Wildlife Habitat. Each of us can make a difference by spreading the word. See her Secret Tips.

- Toni Stahl, Habitat Ambassador Volunteer, Email marc-a@columbus.rr.com, please retweet @naturescoopohio, website www.backyardhabitat.info


Tips for Our Yards and Gardens

-  Organic Lawn Care: Keep whole leaves in your garden bed and under trees as natural fertilizer and to protect small creatures that overwinter in leaves, including next year's butterflies. Move leaves on a plastic tarp from lawn areas to garden or wooded areas where they can pile up until spring
Winterize Your Yard for Wildlife
-  Prevent wildlife injuries: Cut trees or clear brush in winter to avoid this task during nesting season. Cap chimneys, vents and window wells to keep wildlife from becoming trapped. Keep pets under control. Avoid giving wildlife human food or trying to treat them like pets
Fall Clean Up with Ecology in Mind with Doug Tallamy
- To keep invasive plants away, put an alternative native plant in their place. If you live in the Midwest, here are references for garden plants and trees and bushes
-  Plant trees where they won't shade out your garden when the trees become full grown
-  Naturally fertilize trees with dead leaves and grass cuttings. Allowing these materials to remain on the ground will also keep tree roots warm
How to plant a tree - see page 5
How to plant a balled and burlapped tree video
-  Wait to prune trees until trees are completely dormant so they are much less susceptible to insect damage and disease
-  If you decide to kill Native Poison ivy because it is causing rashes, count the leaves before you kill it (3 leaves). Native Virginia Creeper vine turns red at the same time, but has 4 or 5 leaves and isn't as shiny. Neither of these climbing vines will hurt your trees, and their berries are highly valuable for wildlife
-  Native Wild Grape Vine climbs and kills trees and bushes. How to remove it if necessary. The berries have high value for wildlife
How removing invasive species can help our native birds - see p. 16
What To Do with Fallen Leaves
Leaf Litter: Love It and Leave It from Doug Tallamy
-  Rake your street gutters to keep leaves from going into the storm drain and from blocking the flow of rainwater to the drain
-  Check your trees for wires, straps, support systems, twine, ID tags or other items that apply pressure and cut them free before there is permanent damage (girdling) to your tree
-  To create a small brush pile, we laid untreated landscaping timbers as a base and spaced them 4"-6" apart, then crisscrossed large limbs cut into 4' long pieces covered with smaller limbs and brush. In spring, we grow native vines over the top (native Virginia Creeper) and in winter, we look for fresh-cut, local evergreen to put over the top. Tips for a large brush pile
-  Backyard Wildlife: Feeding Wildlife
-  Clean bird houses: Make any needed repairs and scrape out debris. Use a soft, stiff brush on the outside with hot soapy water, rinse well and dry completely. If there are black smudges from dampness on the sides, scrub with 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water, rinse thoroughly and dry
-  Bird houses for winter: Consider
leaving the house up for roosting. Block any ventilation holes with weatherstripping and remove the weatherstripping in early spring for nesting
-  Birds shed their tattered summer feathers to grow warmer plumage for winter. Producing feathers made of protein requires high-energy foods. Plant natives that provide nuts, seeds and fruits. You can also use bird feeders to supply suet and black oil sunflower seeds, but avoid mixes that contain seeds birds won't eat
-  Bats have an undeserved bad reputation, especially around Halloween. Don't be scared of them unless you are an insect because bats eat insects, such as mosquitoes
-  It's good to notice a lot of spider webs this time of year. Keep in mind that spiders are afraid of you and beneficial to our environment. They eat hundreds of insects in our yards, are a source of food for other critters and their webs are used for bird nests
-  After the Chimney Swifts have left your chimney in fall, replace the chimney cap
Stormwater Pond Maintenance - See page 4
- If your state transportation dept. is creating roadside habitat for pollinators, thank your governor, DOT director and DOT district. Let the community know that native plants are necessary for bees, butterflies and other pollinators to survive, even when the plants are dormant and look dead. Talk to people and post on social media
A Helping Hand for Early Bees, planting tips
-  Follow this Eastern Monarch fall migration roost map to see their pace and pathways
Fall Foliage Prediction Map
-  The height of fall migration lasts until mid-November. We can help migratory birds by turning our outside lights off and closing our drapes when inside lights are turned on from 11:30 pm to 5 am. Use yellow LED bulbs pointed downward and controlled by a motion sensor
 

Nature News

Why Do Leaves Change Color?
The Nature of Oaks Webinar by Doug Tallamy
That "Stuff" Growing on Bark
At Home: Backyard Stream Repair
Few Keystone Plant Genera Support the Majority of Lepidoptera Species
-  New Smithsonian Study Links Declines in Suburban Backyard Birds to Presence of Nonnative Plants
-   A Secret Weapon to Fight Climate Change: Dirt


Ohio Habitat Ambassador Nature Events

Please send your backyard conservation educational event with a link the month prior to the registration deadline (e.g. May 1 for June issue)
-  Enjoy your yard
 

Other Ohio Nature Events

Please send your backyard conservation educational event with a link the month prior to the registration deadline (e.g. May 1 for June issue)
-  From July to the following June or when they run out, Ohio DNR provides Wild School Site Grants for schools or teaching organizations to start a wildlife habitat or outdoor classroom. ODNR also provides consultants to help teachers with planning
-  10/23, Morning Walk in Inniswoods Metro Gardens, Wild Ones Columbus, Westerville
Why Tap Walnut Trees?, Woodland Stewards, Recorded Webinar


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