Whenever I speak about backyard habitats and their importance for insects, people frequently comment that they have a butterfly bush and see many butterflies on them, so why go to the trouble of planting native plants? While a butterfly bush, an alien plant, attracts adult butterflies, it is not a host plant for even one […]
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Monarch butterflies are in trouble. Their numbers have plummeted 97 % since the 1980s for several reasons: They lay their eggs on only one host plant, milkweed. Unfortunately, milkweed often grows along roadsides or farm fields where extensive pesticide sprayings occur. Milkweed is an innocent victim of man’s obsession with pesticides and insecticides. Extensive logging […]
The year 2018 brought record-breaking precipitation to our western Pennsylvania garden. After a short and late spring, the hot and humid summer lasted into early October. We seldom had to fill our small pond, which was home to three green frogs and several kinds of dragonflies. They provided me with plenty of photo opportunities while […]
We recently returned from an amazing visit to Yellowstone National Park. The weather forecast called for rain and even snow during our stay, but luckily it only rained overnight and the snow only capped the mountain tops. By afternoon we usually experienced blue skies, white clouds, and pleasant temperatures. The drive from Bozeman Airport through […]
Someone told me recently that she hung up a hummingbird feeder last summer but the hummingbirds quickly disappeared and never returned. I asked her how often she changed the syrup and cleaned the feeder and she replied, never. She just left the initial batch of syrup out all summer. I was not surprised that the hummingbirds […]
Ever since we decided to plant native plants in our garden we are faced with the question: Just where can we find native plants? Nurseries are brimming with showy annuals: petunias, zinnias, geraniums, snapdragons, and a wide variety of cross-bred cultivars. Their value for wildlife (as a nectar source) is never even considered, as long […]
In spring and fall I often turn my camera’s focus on birds, but during the summer I like to photograph wildflowers and wildlife. Oftentimes, the wildlife would be overlooked by most people, so it helps to know where and when to look. Since our garden is a certified wildlife habitat I don’t have to stray […]
I love my digital SLR camera and 400mm lens. The picture quality is excellent. It is no big deal to set up a tripod and blind in our backyard to photograph birds. The downside, of course, is the weight of all this equipment if I want to take photos beyond my backyard. I have even […]
Our garden, a “Wildlife Habitat” certified by the National Wildlife Federation, not only provides food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young to all kinds of wildlife, but also many photo opportunities for me. Here are some samples of the subjects I found very close to home.
To say that our serviceberries are a big draw for wildlife is an understatement. Ever since the first berry showed a shade of red, birds, chipmunks, and a squirrel have feasted on it. American robins and cedar waxwings are the most frequent visitors, but we have also seen house finches, Northern cardinals, a scarlet tanager, […]