?about birds and bees ?

beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)September 2, 2013

THis is my first summer here and I"m not seeing very many bees. LOts of butterflies and a few birds, though the neighbor says it seems to be a lot less birds than usual.
Wondering and sorta hopeing it is just because this is the first year there had been a garden in this area. We are surrounded by woods and pasture.
Any thoughts or ideas or even suggestions on how to encourage the birds and bees to visit will be appreciated
thanks
BB

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helenh(z6 SW MO)

My neighbor built a shelf I think with oak boards outside her big window. She feeds birds summer and winter by scattering feed on that shelf. She has lots of cardinals and goldfinches on her finch feeders that are hanging in the yard. Bird seed is expensive but if you like to watch birds you can feed them to attract more.

My friend who lives in town has a fountain and birds line up on the wire to take turns getting drinks. Water is cheaper than bird seed.

Lots of people hate mulberry trees because of the seedling trees, purple bird poo and dropped fruit. A fruiting mulberry will attract birds but you have to plant it carefully. I never have much trouble with birds eating my blueberries and I think it is because I have a mulberry tree near them.

We had two years of drought. Oklahoma and Texas had dry weather those years also. I would expect drought to have some effect on populations of all sorts of wildlife. I don't know where they got food and water last year because everything was dried up.

Here is a link that might be useful: just saw this on OK forum about buckwheat

This post was edited by helenh on Mon, Sep 2, 13 at 22:10

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 9:41PM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Pesticides are killing moths and insects birds rely on to eat, it use to be you drive at night and your car would be covered with moths, no more.

In addition Bees are also being killed by the millions by pesticides and GMO crops with Monsanto Roundup built into the plant that you eat.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:45AM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

Helen and Joe, thanks for the food for thought. When we were looking for a place we tried to avoid areas with heavy concentrations of commercial farming as we wanted to be away from ( if possible) the chemicals in the air, soil and water.
We plan to add crab apples and regular apples next year and I will encourage some of the small mulberries that are smothered in the brush. We do feed birds and just had two young wrens leave their nest this AM. I'll get thistle feeders too.
Seeing so many butterflies here, I thought we might be in a low chemical area. Guess we will wait and see.
Joe I also read your post about the pesticides just a few minutes ago. That adds to my list of worries about the environment we are creating. Next year we plan to grow all of our plants from seed,mostly heirlooms, but that seems like spit in the ocean compared to the size of the sales from big box stores
Not much that I can see and confront scares me, but the things that are being done to our environment are not in that category. That is scary.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 3:30PM
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mosswitch

A lot of not seeing butterflies and moths is being too diligent about cleaning up leaves and garden debris in the fall. Many caterpillars, pupa, cocoons and crysalids overwinter in the fallen leaves, and if you clean them up and shred them, you are killing them. And no butterflies and moths to hatch out in the spring. Luna moths make their cocoons in the leaves of the trees and when the leaves fall, they wind up on the ground to overwinter. If you wait to clean up in the spring when you start seeing butterflies, you will have a lot more.

Sandy

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 8:39PM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

important and useful info Sandy but that is sure not the problem here. THis place has been unoccupied and untended for at least 10 years. That may explain why there are so many butterflies. I don't remember ever seeing quite so many.
I'm hoping the lack of bees here is because there have not been many blossoms here for so many years.
Hope there are more next year as we have plans for a large veggie garden.
I'm studying up on how to attract and support the pollinators and appreciate the answers offered by other readers. Thanks again

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 7:09AM
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gldno1

beth, we are having the same problem here with no butterflies.

I haven't changed any garden practices and sure don't clean up downed leaves anywhere! I think I finally saw two Monarchs. We have lots of cabbage butterflies, white ones and that is about it.

The general use of pesticides and herbicides in the surrounding area may be the culprit.

I did see lots of bees, honey, carpenter and bumblebees.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 7:58AM
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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

Not sure what plants attract bees the best. I have lots of flowers and see a few here and there. We have white clover in our yard and that blooms over a fairly long time. I'm sure it's considered a weed by some but it stays shorter than my dandelions so I don't notice it much. lol

Just having a variety of plants and shrubs is the best way to go for both the birds and the bees so there's always something in bloom and berries at different times.
Starting around mid November every year, the Missouri Department of Conservation offers seedling trees and shrubs in bundles for Missouri residents at very low cost. Be sure to take advantage of that and share the extras with your neighbors. You can order them in the fall and they will mail them to you in late winter/early spring. If you have room to plant some shrubs, you will have lots of berries for your birds to eat and also the nests will be down low enough so they're at eye-level and it's easy to see into their nest which is cool for kids of all ages like me. : )

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 7:17AM
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christie_sw_mo(Z6)

I mentioned ordering trees and shrubs from MDC and will post a link for last year's order form just for you to look at so you can see what they had available in case you're interested. You can contact MDC and ask them to mail you a catalog later this fall or wait and access it through their website when it's available.
They would have to be mailed to a Missouri address by the way. Thought I should mention that since your member page says you spend your winters in Arizona.

Here is a link that might be useful: MDC seedling order form

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 7:36AM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

Christie many thanks for the suggestions AND for the link. We will definately be ordering trees and shrubs over the next few years. That is super.
There are at least 5 varieties that I definately want. We are adding a shrub/small tree windbreak across the north side. Things with berries for birds will work very well.
Bethb

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 12:19PM
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