I love to go out to the Cherry Creek Pollinator habitat after it snows. It is always interesting to see what tracks I can find. Wildlife are very active in the habitat during the winter. This week I found deer, rabbit, raccoon, opossum and varies bird tracks.
You many think there is not much to see in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat this time of year. It may be brown, but there is a lot to see. We do not cut back the habitat plants in the fall. This plant material is cover and protection for the birds, squirrels, opossum, rabbits, raccoons, skunks and deer that frequent the habitat during the winter. The seed heads from our native plants bee balm, goldenrod, brown-eyed Susan, tall thistle, milkweed and sawtooth sunflower feed our wildlife and also reseed themselves for more plants next year.
Today was a nice and sunny day to hang our bird feeders in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. We have American goldfinch, northern cardinals and dark-eyed juncos visit our habitat. It is important to leave native grasses and plant cover for them during the winter months.
Snow has come early to the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. We usually have a long fall season, but not this year. We have had three snow storms and more is predicted for the weekend. We have good cover in the habitat for wildlife and many plant stalks with seed heads for seed eating birds. The habitat is still an active place in the winter.
The Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat received snow this week. I enjoy looking for animal tracks after it snows. Even though it is cold, there is lots of activity in the habitat. Birds, a squirrel, rabbits and deer visit the Cherry Creek habitat.
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.
Sunflower seed bird feeder.
Finch sock bird feeder.
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 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!
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
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.
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
Sometimes we get lucky and see wildlife in the Cherry Creek Pollinator Habitat. Today it was a gray tree frog. The bee house is not just for solitary bees after all.
Can you see the tree frog?
Tree frog resting in the solitary bee house.