What kind of wildlife is enjoying your garden?

vonyonJanuary 24, 2007

Hi all, I realized that this forum is quite dead here and thought I'd let all of you know who are trying to eradicate the invasive non-natives and plant native shrub borders in your yard that it pays off. I planted about 180-200 native berrying shrubs a few years back (a variety of dogwoods, viburnums, native hollies, bayberry, elderberry, serviceberry, etc.). They all started as tiny little things and are all berrying like crazy now. I also planted some things for cover like cedar and hemlock.

If you are interested, the link below is a great source of really nice healthy native plants for cheap money. I think you have to order these now.

I have 6 bluebirds that are regular full year residents in the yard along with mockers, etc. The birds are loving all the berries. The bluebirds are particularly crazy about the bayberries. They all love the summer berries. I've also seen more fox and deer lately. What wildlife do you have enjoying your gardens?

Here is a link that might be useful: NH Nursery

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Mostly gray squirrels (they love the neighbors' walnuts) and the bane of the garden... rabbits.

The birds include: nuthatches, woodpeckers. chickadees, juncos, cardinals, bluejays, sparrows, possibly a couple goldfinches in winter plumage and I've heard but not seen barred owls - mating season approaches!

I feed black oil sunflower seeds in a tube feeder at a window, and suet in another feeder. My gardens are fairly young, but I leave all the perennials up in the fall so the birds can gobble seeds.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 5:11PM
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We have a native northwest forest to start with, and like you have been adding plants that attract critters and are attractive.
There are many native douglas squirrels that live here. They have been pushed out of a lot of places in our area by the larger greys. I have also seen chipmunks, possum, racoon, fox, white tail deer, and lots of bunnies.
A barred owl hung around our pond for a few weeks and three fish disappeared. We also have a great blue haron that found the pond, more fish were eaten. I saw a sharp shinned hawk try to catch a sqirrel. The squirrel got away by running around and aound the tree trunk it had been clinging to. The hawk only made it completely around once and gave up. There are a pair of ravens that have our yard as part of our territory. They can be heard long before I can spot them. Last summer one of them had a squirrel in it's tallons as it flew over. I have heard coyote, an elk bugle in the fall, and a cougar was sighted a half mike away last spring. This is a rural area but is still well poulated with houses and many roads criss cross all around us. I am amazed at how much wildlife there still is. The sad part is the road kill I see almost every day.
I haven't even gotten to the birds that share the feeders and drink and bath in the pond.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 11:43PM
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Could someone tell me why I cannot seem to attract cardinals in my backyard? I have purchased a feeder that supposedly is designed for cardinals among other birds. I just got my new feeder last week so it may take a while. I love all birds but i'd like to see some cardinals, too. Thank you in advance.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 1:47PM
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Do you have them in your immediate area. They are somewhat territorial. Put some raisins & other fruit out also. I find that contrary to many experts??? my cardinals like to feed on the ground or a platform.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 4:31PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)


Perhaps if you start another separate post on this forum or on the bird forum you will get detailed answers.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 6:09PM
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chipmunks, grey squirrels, red tailed hawks, deer, salamanders, snakes (black and yellow striped), some sort of frogs, hummingbirds, wood chucks, rabbits, robbins, cardinals, wrens and various birds I can't identify. Others tell me they have seen wild turkeys and a fox at the property. Someone else in the neighborhood says that coyotes have been coming around.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 6:20PM
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I think cardinals do eat off a platform feeder. I know they like safflower seed. I think they are a bit shy. It may take a while.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 9:26PM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

Cardinals also like good cover, so do you have some large evergreens for them to hide in?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 12:52PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

Right now I donÂt have any wildlife that hasnÂt been mentioned already, but I thought IÂd share our experience with our new hummingbird and butterfly garden. I didnÂt really expect to get hummingbirds, but for a period of about a month last summer there was at least one showing up to use the bee balm every day, and saw many more types of butterflies here than we have in the past. I havenÂt seen evidence of the plants being used as butterfly hosts yet, but IÂm hoping that our adding some more host plants might help.

Another thing I really enjoyed was thta last spring we put up a chickadee house, just a few feet from our screened porch (DH and I couldnÂt agree on a spot, and that was the safest spot we could agree on). The day after we put it up, I saw chickadees interested in it. I'd heard that cavity nesters, are having trouble finding sites, but that really made me think itÂs worse than I had realized. I got to see the parents working to get food to the babies, and see the offspring fledge. I was also glad to see the moss here is useful besides being attractive--thatÂs part of what the parents used to line the birdhouse.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 7:54PM
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Lucky you Lori. I have heard that chickadees are skiddish about nesting in an area of high activity. Let us know what nests there this year.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 9:50PM
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cypsavant(z5/6 Ontario)

The area around my farmhouse is open and windy. I've been working on changing that but my ancestors were pretty thorough in their destruction of everything not cultivated, so it's taking time.
Meanwhile, I do enjoy the huge flocks of snow buntings I've been having lately...300 today at least. A few brave chickadees, blue jays, and american tree sparrows have been wintering in the sheltered area north of the house, along with a male downy woodpecker that spends a lot of time on the suet log I keep filled for him.
At dusk, if it's not too windy, 2 or 3 short eared owls have been hunting over the field around my pond. That's always fun to watch.
I have a cooper's hawk making the odd raid during daylight hours, which keeps the 2 dozen or so mourning doves on their toes. It in turn gets chased off by the resident red-tailed hawk, who has kept the rabbit population pretty much at zero.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 5:57PM
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I have a male and female cardinal that live in the trees around my yard. I also have two huge Japanese black pines they like. Cardinals mate for life. So, if you get a male, there will be a female with him.

I never feed my birds. I don't use chemicals or pesticides in my yards because I butterfly and moth garden, too. So, the birds usually have plenty to eat. I also plant shrubs that produce berries for them. In other words, I couldn't tell you whether they like a platform or not. To me, it seems they much prefer having plenty of cover in the form of pines and junipers. But, they play around in the backyard quite a bit and it is mostly hackberries.

City dwellers like me don't get too much wildlife. I have the opossums, squirrels (typical brown), birds, a toad, and lots of butterflies and moths.

Susan in OKC, OK

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 10:50AM
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My SO set up one of those little cameras that you can use for security, along with a black light,at various spots outside. (Under the birdfeeder, near the compost pile,near a shrub that was shrinking in size,etc.) We record it to our replay machine at night, and in the morning I fast-forward until I see an animal. Works great! We've captured, on film, of course, deer, (eating that disappearing shrub) fox, oppossum, bunnies, mice, and skunks so far. During the day, we only see squirrels and birds. I did see a robin for the first time in winter. (I planted 'Red Sprite' winterberry last spring, and she just loved those berries.) That was gratifying. : )

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 4:49PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Vonyon, I have gotten very interested landscaping for wildlife and am intent on reducing the number of invasives in the yard and planting more native perennials, trees and shrubbery to increase the wildlife value.

Loris, I started a butterfly garden last year too that has many native perennials as well as non-native annuals and butterfly bushes, because of their premier nectar value. I had many visits from hummers, hummingbird moths, and various types of butterflies last summer/fall, as well as all kinds of bees and wasps. I love the little critters!

I have a feeder with black-oil sunflower seed and a suet log that I built in December. They attract regular visits from Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Juncoes, Carolina Wrens, Downy Woodpeckers, and occasional visits from Goldfinches, sparrows, Mourning Doves, and even Eastern Bluebirds!

The bird activity around the feeders attracts a large Cooper's Hawk that lurks around, but is usually being harassed by some Crows. The birds have numerous evergreens and deciduous shrubs near the feeding station for protection.

Also several Eastern grey squirrels as well as a couple cute Red squirrels that have just shown up in the last few days to eat the peanuts and other goodies.

There are coyotes, deer, rabbits, raccoons, opossum etc. in the area but they aren't very active in the yard right now, which is fine by me.

Here are a few photos I've taken in the last week or so:

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 4:56PM
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Terry, Congrats on the bluebird! Wow, when you showed us pics of your lot, I wouldn't have thunk! It is amazing what you get with a little attention to the kinds of plantings you have. How invasive have you found the butterfly bush? I had heard they were very invasive. I planted one not knowing any better, but up here they die back in the winter. The following year, it never came back. They are beautiful though.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 6:50PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)


Thanks for mentioning that about chickadees. I didn't realize. I wonder if the ones nesting here were already used to use from having us near when they eat from the hemlocks or birdfeeder.


I liked seeing your pictures and your garden sounds very enjoyable. I would love to get blue birds here, but think there's not enough open sunny area for them.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 12:15PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Vonyon & Lori, I was thrilled when I saw the Bluebirds. They come by a couple times a week to nose around, not nearly as often as other birds.

Regarding my lot - do you mean that it is too wooded for bluebirds? I think someone in the neighborhood feeds them and has bluebird boxes. A lot of the neighbors have more open yards too because they mow large lawns. Also - there is farmland across the street.

The Butterfly bushes are iffy here too. This is the border of zone 5/6 - they don't always make it through the winter, let alone be invasive! I deadhead them regularly anyway to prompt more blooms.

I have "Black Knight" and "Pink Delight" - the Black Knight is much more hardy and grows larger. I have read that the darker colors are hardier.

They aren't native, but they are well-behaved here and the butterflies absolutely LOVE them.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 6:16PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

I live in the Ozark National Forest so i have a lot of wildlife. Birds include nuthatches,owls, crows,turkeys,titmouse,goldfinch,rosefinch,bluebirds,downey woodpeckers,housewrens,bluejays,red hawks and two others i'm not sure of,a pilated woodpecker i call baby.He figured out how to feed from one of my hummingbird feeders and follows me through the woods fussing at me. Tho i don't get out in the woods much at all anymore.
All kinds of snakes,lizzards,toads. Grey squirrels,rabbits,chipmunks,deer,coyotes,have had a couple bear come through.Fox, have'nt seen any skunks or possums in several years. also have bats.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 3:17AM
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Terrene, I was confusing you with Terry who also comes here and has an older home at an in town type location. Sorry about that. What part of Massachusetts are you in? I'm in the upper eastern corner (the part that goes up into NH), about 10 miles from the ocean. I live in an area of an older farm that sold some of the lots for suburban type ranches about 40 years ago, so we have lots of open field-type habitat.

I have found that bluebirds really aren't that rare anymore. I spotted a bird on a guardrail in the center of the Mass turnpike as I drove out in the western part of the state last year, and fully expected it to be a house sparrow, but was pleasantly surprised to see a bluebird!

Lori, The story about chickadees and nesting is secondhand not personal experience. It surprised me a bit as I find them to be one of the most gregarious birds at the feeder. In fact, I have heard that it is possible to train them to handfeed (I wouldn't encourage them to do that, but I think it is a testament to how fearless they can be). I'm think the nesting behavior that is being referred to is that when they are nesting the slightest thing will cause them to abandon the nest. It is probably a species preservation strategy and makes sense given the kinds of competition for cavities.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 10:17AM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Vonyon, was that me you thought had the bluebirds?? I could be so lucky! I've got fox squirrels, a pair of cardinals, juncos, chickadees, mourning doves and of course the EUST have found me now, along with the HOSP. I had seen a red bellied woodpecker and a blue jay on a number of occasions, but I haven't seen them in awhile. Hopefully next spring or summer, my plants will be a little larger and I can show you what it looks like now. What a difference!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 11:19PM
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I get a wide variety of birds to my yard. But the wildlife that specifically enjoys my garden are deer, squirrels, groundhogs and rabbits. Right now with snow covering the ground the deer are eating any thing they can find. That includes the buds on my camillia and my azaela. I live in a townhouse with a very small yard but that doesn't mean the wildlife doesn't show up. Yesterday my neighbor was moaning about the seven deer he saw eating his bushes.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 10:07AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Vonyon, I was wondering if you confused me with another poster. I live in the metrowest area of Boston. It is an older development on former farmland. There is still some farmland remaining as well as patches of forest around here.

My lot is kinda unique in that it has less lawn and is more wooded than most of the other lots. I like that, because it does attract a lot of wildlife, but from what I've read, it is not the preferred habitat for Bluebirds.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 3:47PM
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I know areas like that. It sounds similar to here. The thing that attracts the bluebirds is the open farmland I believe. I know they like to hunt in mowed fields. I had one nestling last year that had a deformed beak and couldn't fly at fledging time. Even though it is farmland, it made me realize how much chemical exposure there may be living near farms, even small ones. Massachusetts makes all farmers do the integrated pest management (IPM) course and practices, but the farmers are also very protected from many laws from what I understand. For example, a friend abutted a composting farm. The smell became horrific and her house was literally covered with flies. She took pictures and went to the board of health and then to the state only to be told that there was little she could do about it because of laws protecting farmers. I have never researched this myself, I'm just relaying an anecdote, but the friend is a research librarian, so no slouch and not afraid to look further into her rights. Something just didn't seem right about that to me. How can a law protect one citizen more than others?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 9:03AM
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I have recently had a couple first in my yard. I have had a pair of Egyptian Geese that have been hanging around the lake for about a month now. They have been a real treat for me and my neighbors. Then just last night I saw two coyotes running across the raised bank at the lake.

I have never seen any coyotes from my yard before, but I have heard them. They were just walking really fast. It didn't even look like they were running, but they were moving and the whole sighting lasted maybe five seconds and they were gone. Man they had bright eyes.

There was also a big goose and gander that was being followed around by a duck, but I haven't seen them all together in a while.

It was about a month ago I heard a crazy amazing ruckus of a bunch of coyotes. I have heard it many times out in the woods and in various places, but I always figured the most of the howls I was hearing around here were coming from dogs. This last episode was undoubtedly coyotes, because the sounds were just too wild to be dogs.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 11:43PM
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And this swan too, and a pair of wood ducks once last week! Anybody know what kind of swan this is? All these cool birds have had me looking at some really cool aviary sites.

I did any good shots of the Egyptian Geese, but my neighbor got some shots from about 10 feet away. These are very pretty geese, and seem to be much more intricately colored than any of the photos I have seen online of Egyptian geese.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 12:12AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Vonyon, I hear what you're saying about the farmland. I live across the street from two farmed fields that are beautiful and pastoral-looking. I know farmers have a hard job. I buy local produce (mostly organic) almost entirely in season. but I now know that I never want to live abutting farmland ever again!

Although the farmers use IPM, they do regular applications of chemicals on the fields, especially where they grow corn (the pumpkins they hardly sprayed at all). This includes herbicides and fungicides mostly - as well as big bags of pure white chemical fertilizers.

Some of the spray has actually blown into my house when the wind was right and I can smell it and have gotten a sore throat. Now I just regularly close the windows in the summer when I hear the (noisy) tractor.

Btw, I placed an order this week for 40 seedlings from the NH Div of Forest and Lands in the link above. Ordered 10 gray dogwood, 10 alternate-leaf dogwood, 10 American Mtn Ash, and 10 Virginia creeper seedlings. I was bummed the Bayberry was sold out!

Only $1 each - what a deal! People can still order through the end of March. Thanks for that link!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 8:57AM
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Terrene, I'll be curious to see what you think when your shrubs arrive. Keep me posted.

Big thick, Thanks for sharing the pictures. The swan is beautiful!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 9:12PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)

Well vonyon, since you asked, I'm glad to say I have chickadees using the nest box again this year. I realize I have tons to learn about their behavior though since I'm not really sure what they're up to. I think I've seen the female begging for food when both birds were outside of the box, and I saw one of the birds going after some twine that's staking a shrub, which the bird must be using to add to a nest. I do hear the territory call (fee-bay) in the mornings and evenings very close by. We put the nest box up much earlier this year than last year, so I think the chickadees started using the box before they were really ready to work on breeding.

I hope it works out for the birds again this year. Now that the weather is a bit more normal, maybe I'll even get to see it again.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 12:27PM
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Lori, I have heard that chicadees are skitish when they are nesting and that you have to be careful not to put them off by monitoring the box too much. I may be remembering the wrong species as I have never had them nest here, so I'm trying to retrieve a dry memory. Anyway, I have a hard time believing this because you would think they'd be extinct by now if this were true. There never seems to be a shortage of them around here! I would love to see how big the chicks are. I bet they are tiny given that tree swallow chicks heads are the size of the tip of my pinky.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 9:11PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)


Despite some of the pluses of monitoring the nest box, I still don't feel comfortable doing it, so I don't think I'll get to see the babies until they're ready to fledge.

It may change a bit when the parents are further along in the process, but the chickadees don't seem skittish at all. I know I was concerned both years, because I have my winter sowing just about 2 feet away from the nest, and also occasionally need to do some gardening in the garden bed that we put the nest box in, but the birds seem ok.

I do wonder if the birds may have spent time in my yard before setting up to nest, and know I'm not a threat.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 3:07PM
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Lori, I think chickadees are some of the most tame birds in my yard short of the chipping sparrows. Maybe I have the wrong species. Maybe I'm thinking of titmice?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 9:10PM
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loris(Z6 NJ)


Chickadees are supposed to be very tame and very curious. I've noticed different chickadees having different reactions to people. The first time I ever saw them (before I had any clue as to what they were) there was a group of them in a shrub off of my screened porch, and they were looking at me as much as I was looking at them. There are times though that if I get too close to some chickadees I'll either scare them to a different location or I start hearing "chick-a-dee" with many "dee"s at the end. I've been reading that the more "dee"e added on, the more of a threat the chickadees perceive.

I know chickadees are tame enough that people have been able to handfeed them, although I don't really believe that's good for the birds. Chickadees are one of my favorite type of birds, and much of that is because of their personality. They just seem so friendly and sweet-tempered.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 9:01AM
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lellie(z9 Anna Maria Island)

Every once-in-a-while, I get these little crabs around the pool area...I don't know if they walk here from the beach, which is 2 short blocks away, or if birds accidentally drop their lunches...LOL!
(They're only about an inch across.)

This guy hangs at my mailbox and lives in the driftwood:

One of our many squirrels...havin' a snack:

    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 4:09PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Just wanted to say, I love Chickadees! They are such clever, friendly little birds.

Vonyon, don't mean to threadjack, but I ordered 40 more seedlings (for a total of 80) all of them native and producing berries or hips for the birds.

I called them several times to adjust the orders, but ended up with these:

20 Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
10 Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
10 Northern Arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum)
10 Nanny berry (Viburnum lentago)
10 Northern bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica)
10 Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana)
10 American Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana)

The seedlings are fabulous! Very healthy with well-developed root systems.

I've spent the last 2 weeks digging beds and planting them (ouch my back's complaining a bit). Most of them are planted in temporary nursery beds. I put a bunch in pots too because my sister is taking 20, and I'm planning to bring a few to the Spring plant swap.

Since you ordered yours several years ago, what sort of results have you gotten? How long did it take for yours to start flowering? How fast have they grown? Have you transplanted any? Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 8:18AM
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Wow Terrene, those all seem like good choices. What a great service huh? Where are you located in Massachusetts? I'm in the northeast corner.

When I got started, I bought one each of viburnum, pagoda, etc. from Garden in the woods, but they were expensive. They have all done well and it gave my border a kick start. I ordered most of the rest from NH Nursery. But I also ordered quite a bit from Cold Stream Farm and Pine Ridge. My serviceberries mostly came from a place in upstate NY who had a really nice selection. I planted most about 3 years ago I think. I have gray, red twig, yellow twig, silky and pagoda dogwoods, inkberry and winterberry hollies, elderberry, serviceberries (running, and the tree types) nanny berry, highbush cranberry, arrowwood, wild raisin, and a few other viburnums, hemlock, bayberry and I think I have some kind of nut bush maybe hazlenut? Anyway, they all flowered and berried pretty much the second year. The big favorites of the birds in the winter are the bayberries. The only ones they don't eat are the highbush cranberries which still have last year's berries hanging on them. I don't think I lost more than 2 or 3 and I didn't water them at all except when I put them in. We have had a few fairly wet years in a row though so it wasn't necessary. The elderberries were the fastest growing, they are already about six feet high and continue to spread out widthwise. They bend when they berry because the clusters are so big. I didn't mean to order them, but they came as a substitution and I'm so glad they did. The gray dogwoods are the things you just can't kill. I have dug wild ones in the woods and totally mistreated them. I have never lost one of them either. They can be mowed to the ground when they get out of control and will come back as tall in 5 years. The birds adore them. My pagoda trees have done really well, but they are trees as you probably know. I have not transplanted anything else except the wild dogwoods and wild arrowwoods, but haven't lost any as I said. Good luck to you. I'm glad you are pleased. If I were you, I'd recommend ordering a planting bar as it makes planting them really very easy. You may want it when you put them in their permanent spots.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 2:13PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Wow, vonyon, your yard sounds like a bird paradise! You must get tons of birds.

What is a planting bar?

I am ordering a weed wrench to make it easier to yank out the invasive shrubs and smaller saplings (honeysuckle, norway maple, burning bush, etc) and then planning to try lasagne beds where I'll be plantings the shrubs in their permanent spots.

There is a lot of vinca minor spreading around the yard too and the plan is to mow and smother it with cardboard and lasagne layers.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 9:43PM
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A Cooper's Hawk. His lunch was a Mourning Dove. I know they have to eat, but couldn't he take a pigeon? : (

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 10:48AM
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Hi Terrene, I have about 2 1/2 acres, most of it old cow pasture, so there is still plenty of room for more. I just have to find the time to put them in now.

The planting bar is just a tool that opens up a sliver of the ground to allow you to plant seedling shrubs and trees. It is heavy and flat. You just drive it in and open up a wedge of ground and then put the seedling in. Then you drive it next to it to push the dirt back beside it. I'm sending the website for Musser. That is where I bought mine from.

I do have quite a few birds, but more the type that like open space like swallows (tree and barn), bluebirds, doves, jays, cardinals, a few chickadees, mockers, titmice and chipping sparrows, phoebe's flycatchers, house wrens (argh), orioles very infrequently, flickers, downy woodpeckers and a variety of hawks. I end up with the ubiquitous HOSP and starlings of course. But I only rarely see nuthatches and have only seen one female rose breasted grosbeak, never saw a bunting. So the woodland types I only rarely see.

You seem to have some great variety there. Where are you in Mass?

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting Bar

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 7:12PM
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We have the usual cast of characters (lots of squirrels, birds of many kinds, a few rabbits, toads, lizards, etc.) The thing we've enjoyed the most is probably not enjoying the gardens but rather enjoying hunting the critters that enjoy the gardens. That's a pair of red foxes we've seen numerous times this year. We think they have their den in an old brush and stump pile a couple hundred yards from the house and they (hopefully!) may be raising a litter there this year. This is really a treat for us since we're in a fairly urban area with pockets of woods here and there. I hope they survive and make this a permanent home.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 9:17AM
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terrene(5b MA)

The planting bar looks interesting. We'll see when I get close to planting time..

The areas where I want to plant the baby shrubs are covered with Vinca minor, many invasive shrubs of assorted ages, and Norway maple saplings. Ugh!!

I just ordered a Weed Wrench to make it easier pulling shrubs and saplings. And then the plan is to continuously mow (very low) or smother the Vinca minor, my estimate it will take at least 6 months to kill the stuff. It is rugged, and chokes the life out of nearly everything that grows around it.

I in the Boston Metro west area on 1.25 acres. There is woodlands in this area, as well as farmland.

Today a Sharp-shinned or male Cooper's hawk flew through the feeding station and perched on the lower limb of a tree in the woodland area. No birds to be found, so he/she moved on. What a beauty!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:05PM
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Terrene, I had one of those hawks perch on a spruce in the yard the other day looking for a meal, but the crows ran him off. Maybe he has noticed that it is a bird paradise as well!!

Sorry, I guess you had answered that question about location before. You are lucky to have that much land out there. You must be close to Garden in the Woods then. Have you ever been? Maybe you have answered that one before too. Sorry, the mind is the first thing to go so I hear!!

Lellie, that little lizard is so cute. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:18PM
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We live in a suburb of Toronto on a 1/4 acre. This is our first year observing the birds so I can't identify all of them yet, but so far the ones we can identify are cardinals, mourning doves, robins, chickadees, sparrows, woodpeckers, finches, grackles, starlings, plus one tiny owl last Halloween.

More exciting for me has been the family of raccoons who nest in our silver maple. The tree is right beside the patio where I sit on warm nights. Last summer, Mama raccoon was so used to me sitting there that she didn't mind my observing her leading her four babies down the tree, one at a time, about five feet away from me!

One of her daughters stayed with her this year and they spent some time wintering in my garage (I made a bed for them). Here's a pic of last year's baby...

There seems to be a wildlife freeway through our yard. In addition to the raccoons, we get visits from opossum and skunk who walk by the patio on a regular basis.

Can't wait to see them again this year!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 8:07AM
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lellie(z9 Anna Maria Island)

These little guys were napping way up in a clump of palms next to my pool...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 9:02AM
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Lellie, How cute is that.

Selkie, Not to be a killjoy, but raccoons do carry a rather nasty roundworm that can be passed on to people particularly kids if you have any that play under that tree. I don't know much about it, but I'd google it up if you have concerns. At any rate, I think it is a mistake to get them too used to humans for their sake.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 10:51PM
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Thanks for the warning, Vonyon. I have researched the topic of suburban coons extensively and we do have some ground rules regarding their cohabitation in our yard.

Don't worry... we fully understand they're not our pets and it's to their detriment if we let them get too close.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 10:53AM
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I've recently moved to Austin, Texas from Central Florida. I'm trying to include plants in my new, rather barren garden to attract wildlife. So far my hummingbird feeders and new coral honeysuckle seem to be a big hit with the hummers.

I was going to replace a crepe myrtle tree with a native orchid tree, but after seeing several dozen butterflies on the blossoms yesterday, I'm rethinking that decision.

So far the animals I've seen in my tiny garden are: about 5 different squirrels, cardinals, doves, purple finches, painted buntings, hummingbirds, yellow finches, house sparrows, Carolina wrens, an armadillo, a garden snake, bats (at dusk) and a lizard of unusual size. ;-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Suburban Wildlife Garden

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 11:37AM
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Terrene-- What size Weed Wrench did you get? When you get it, could you let us know how well it works? I've got a boulder about 1/3 the size of my garage that's covered with English Ivy. I'd like to remove it, and I'm looking for anything that will make that task easier. Thank you.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 1:05PM
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Our pair of red foxes multiplied! We've seen "Mama" with two cubs crossing the driveway going from the brush pile to a wood pile where we suspect they hunt. Now that was a real treat!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 4:20PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Kelp, just saw your question on this thread. I purchased the 2nd largest size, which works on a trunk size up to 2 inches. It weighs 17 pounds, and is just about the right size without being too heavy and burdensome.

It is working great! I LOVE it. I could have used this years ago. I have already pulled up dozens of invasives and it is SO much quicker and easier than digging them up (occasionally using a shovel a little helps get a plant out).

How big a plant you can pull depends on the plant and soil conditions too. Norway maples, for example, have pretty solid roots and I can only pull up to about an inch diameter. (Bigger than that, a friend with chainsaw whacks them and they get sprayed.)

Of course it works on smaller plants too, and would work on your Ivy. They do have two smaller sizes.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 6:51AM
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Terrene, Now my husband wants that one. I'm glad to hear that it works well. Did you buy the name brand Weed Wrench or are there knockoffs that work as well?

This week's wildlife sightings......not in my yard, but around town. I saw what appeared to be a mink or a weasel crossing the street mid morning in a swampy area. I am not sure which it was. It looked a bit like a ferret, but was dark brown with a long tail. It was jumping around playfully.

I saw a big turtle crossing the road. It was on the edge, so not in any danger. It didn't appear to be a snapper, but I don't know what other kind it would be. It was too big to be a box turtle and I don't know what other kind we have around here.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 8:05AM
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