Hummingbirds: Feathered Pollinators

Home Wise! Family Smart!

HummingbirdSheri1In the continental United States, hummingbirds are key in wildflower pollination. Source: USDA Forest Service

Late this afternoon, I caught a glimpse of a tiny hummingbird dodging rain and fighting wind to check out my feeder – no nectar! I rushed in the kitchen and made a batch of nectar (the nectar recipe is below). Once the nectar was cool, I put on a poncho, rain boots and headed out to fill the feeder. Thankfully, she came back.

Hummingbirds are fascinating! Enlist the help of the entire family to attract these tiny birds to your landscape.

Spring migration occurs from mid-April through May. This time of year, hummingbirds move through the area pretty quickly so visits to your feeders may be brief. We’re lucky in eastern Nebraska because some folks have Ruby-throated hummingbirds all summer long.

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Spring Flowering Plants for Pollinators

Earlier this month I announced the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification program. We hope that you will consider certifying your habitat or start the process of planning one in your landscape. One of the important sections of the application is plant selection.  Your pollinator habitat must have plant diversity and plants blooming during the spring, summer and fall months.

Spring Flowering plants that bloom in March, April and May are extremely important for early pollinators such as mason bees, honey bees and queen bumblebees.

MJ

Acer rubrum – Red Maple

Allium textile – Textile Onion

Aquilegia canadensis – Columbine

Baptisia australis – Blue False Indigo

Baptisia australis v. minor – Dwarf False Indigo

Ceanothus americanus – New Jersey Tea

Cercis canadensis – Redbud

Chionodoxa sp. – Glory-of-the-Snow

Cornus sp. – Dogwood

Erysimum asperum – Western Wallflower

Geranium maculatum – Wild Geranium

Leucocrinum montanum – Starlily

Lindera benzoin – Spicebush

Lithospermum incisum – Narrowleaf Stoneseed

Malus sp. – Apple, Crabapple

Phlox andicola – Prairie Phlox

Phlox bifida – Sand Phlox

Phlox divaricata – Blue Phlox

Phlox hoodii – Spiny Phlox

Prunus sp. – Pear, Plum

Prunus virginiana – Chokecherry

Pulsatilla patens – Pasqueflower

Rhus aromatica – Fragrant Sumac

Rhus trilobata – Skunkbush Sumac

Rubus sp. – Blackberry, Raspberry

Salix humilis – Prairie Willow

Sanguinaria canadensis – Bloodroot

Senecio plattensis – Prairie Ragwort

Sheperdia argentea – Buffaloberry

Thermopsis rhombifolia – Prairie Thermopsis

Viola pedatifida – Bird’s Foot Viola

Yucca glauca – Yucca, Soapweed

Programs for Pollinator Conservation in Rural Areas

More than 30 percent of our food relies on insect pollination, which is overwhelmingly provided by bees. Recent research has shown that wild native bees, which number more than 4,000 species in North America, contribute substantially to crop pollination on farms where their habitat needs are met. –Using 2014 Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation

Penstemon in Bloom

Penstemon is one of the many native flowers blooming on Spring Creek Prairie in June. Beautiful!

Rural residents play an important role in protecting pollinator habitats. Using 2014 Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation provides information on how you can encourage pollinator habitat in rural areas.  Congress recognizes pollinators are a crucial part of healthy agricultural and natural landscapes and the 2014 Farm Bill reflects the importance of pollinators.

For assistance with your farm or acreage pollinator program and more, contact:

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

Nebraska Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu

Cherry Creek Habitat Weather Station

Tyler Williams is a Nebraska Extension Educator in Lancaster County and has an educational focus on climate resiliency. He recently installed a weather station in the Cherry Creek Habitat. Now we have access to weather information 24/7 from our habitat. Thank you Tyler!

View our weather station information at our website:

http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/bees.shtml

MJ

weatherstation

Weather station in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat.

Learn more about our weather station:

Pollinator Weather Station

Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification

I am so excited to make this announcement and proud to be part of this Pollinator Habitat Certification team. Here at our office, we plan to certify the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat and I want to also certify my home pollinator garden.

MJ

Do you love gardening and want to help pollinators?  Consider developing your landscape into a pollinator habitat. This month, a team of Nebraska Extension horticulture professionals, led by Extension Educator Natalia Bjorklund, launched a new program called Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification.  This program gives Nebraskans an opportunity to certify their garden and promote pollinators in their community.

To certify their habitat, gardeners need to provide spring, summer and fall blooming plants that support pollinator needs, a water source, shelter, nesting sites and restrict pesticide use. Gardeners will be asked to make a commitment to protect pollinators and provide a diverse plant community that will result in a pollinator habitat.

This program is open to Nebraska  homeowners, schools, businesses, parks,  homeowner associations, farmers, acreage owners and community gardens.

Please visit the Nebraska Pollinator Habitat Certification website to view the certification application. http://entomology.unl.edu/pollinator-habitat-certification

monarchcatpillar71315

Monarch caterpillar on swamp milkweed.

habitataster15

Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat Summer 2015