Tracks in the Snow

After a fresh snow fall, I like to visit the pollinator habitat to see who has been visiting. It is often obvious when you view the tracks from the night before. I found many bird tracks around the feeders. At least one rabbit had passed through. The deer tracks were interesting to look at.  I could see where it was entering and exiting the habitat. I also added my own tracks.

MJ Frogge

Feeding Birds

The Cherry Creek Habitat hosts many American Goldfinch. I placed three sock feeders for them in our mature trees that border the habitat. I also hung the sunflower seed bird feeder for our seed eating birds. We often see Dark-eyed Junco and Northern Cardinals in or near the habitat.

M J Frogge

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from all of us here at Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County!

Today, we recycled the fall decorations from our office by placing them into the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. It will be fun to watch the wildlife on the live camera as they check out the pumpkins, squash and cornstalks. You can watch at http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/bees.shtml

While working around the insect hotel, I noticed an opossum has been raiding the black oil sunflower seeds, chewing the seeds up and then regurgitating almond-sized pellets or “nuggets”. People sometimes notice these same pellets around bird feeders and aren’t sure what they are! Now, you know!

To learn how to create your own pollinator-friendly habitat, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/bees.shtml.

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

“For the golden corn
and the apples on the tree,
For the golden butter
and honey for our tea;
For fruits and nuts and
berries, that grow
beside the way
For birds and bees and
flowers, we give thanks
every day”
–author unknown

Bird Feeders

Today I placed our sunflowers seed bird feeders and thistle seed feeder in the habitat.  First, I cleaned and disinfected our bird feeders.  It is important to do this to prevent the spread of bird diseases. Take a minute to read over these recommendations of feeder maintenance and hygiene by Audubon.

MJ

Disinfect your feeder and birdbath: To keep pathogens at bay, immerse your seed feeder or birdbath in a nine to one water-bleach solution, rinsing it thoroughly, one to two times per month. In the presence of outbreaks, disinfect twice as often.
Empty water from your birdbath every day: Brush or wipe it clean and rinse, then refill the birdbath with fresh water.
Discard old seed and hulls: When you clean your feeder, get rid of the old seed. Rake or sweep up any uneaten hulls on the ground. The disease-causing Trichomonad protozoan, for example, can live for up to five days in food and several hours in water.
Avoid overcrowding: If possible, provide more than one feeder and spread them out. Crowding only expedites the spread of disease, so give the birds variety and plenty of room. Source: Audubon

Check Out Photos from the Live Camera

One of the regulars in the Cherry Creek Habitat: a skunk

About this photo: One of the skunks we see regularly in habitat photos captured with the live cam.
This photo was taken March 28, 2015 at 1 a.m. CT

Last fall, a Web camera was mounted so everyone could watch a live stream view of the Cherry Creek Habitat 24/7. In addition to the change in seasons, viewers have also enjoyed wildlife using this educational area.

A couple weeks ago, I went through the camera still shots and pulled together some of the highlights from January-April 2015. Vicki in our office posted the photos to Flickr. The list of wildlife includes: two different skunks, two raccoons, two cats, a small herd of deer, rabbits, squirrels, birds and a wild turkey. There is a description with the date/time of day each still photo was taken.

Cherry Creek Habitat Web Cam Still Photos 2015 – more photos will be added each month. Enjoy!

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

Spring in the Pollinator Habitat!

Spring officially begins with the vernal equinox today.  We are so ready for spring weather.  Plants are just starting to green up in the habitat.  The purple poppy mallow is starting to grow.  All winter I have kept the sunflower seed bird feeders and finch sock feeders filled for our habitat bird population.  We have seen northern cardinal, American goldfinch, purple finch and dark-eyed junco visiting our feeders. In the evenings, raccoons, skunks, rabbits and deer have been seen on our live cam.  We are pleased so much wildlife is visiting our habitat.  We look forward to seeing our insect pollinators soon.

MJ

Purple poppy mallow growing in the habitat.

Purple poppy mallow growing in the habitat.

Habitat view and bird feeders in early February.

Habitat view and bird feeders in early February.

Sunflower Seed Feeders for the Habitat

Today sunflower seed bird feeders were placed in the habitat.  Soni found sturdy metal brackets to hold the bird feeders I obtained for the habitat.  Chris installed the brackets on our blue pole and helped me hang the feeders after I filled them with sunflower seeds. Thank you Chris! The cardinals, juncos and other birds in the area will appreciate the feeders this winter.

MJ

Sunflower seed feeders added to habitat.

Sunflower seed feeders added to habitat.

Close up view of sunflower seed feeder.

Close up view of sunflower seed feeder.

Nature’s birdfeeders

Rudbeckia flower heads provide food for birds in the winter.

Rudbeckia flower heads provide food for birds in the winter.

Leave seed heads standing in the landscape over the winter.  The dried seed heads of flowers like purple coneflower, Rudbeckia and sunflowers are nature’s birdfeeders. Junco and cardinals have been visiting the habitat and eating sunflower seeds. We have three squirrels that visit too.  If you have pumpkins left over from a fall display, put them outside for wildlife.  Squirrels and deer will be happy to feed on them.

MJ

Fall in the Habitat

We have been enjoying beautiful fall days this week in the pollinator habitat.  Chris helped me unload another truck load of bark.  Thank you Chris and I promise this is the last load for this year. Soni and I spread the bark and placed new pavers, donated by Jim.  The pavers make it easier to walk through our dry stream bed that was added for erosion control and direct foot traffic through the habitat.  I planted the seeds of native plants that we have collected this month. We also have planted several trees. Redbud, oak and spruce trees will benefit all wildlife when they mature.

MJ

View of habitat in the fall.

View of habitat in the fall.

New paver walkway.

New paver walkway.

Praying mantis in container flowers looking for next meal.

Praying mantis in container flowers looking for next meal.