Wild Acres - Habichat |
For stewards of Maryland's backyard wildlife
Vol. 9 No. 2, Autumn 2003
HABITAT - the arrangement of food, water, cover,
and space - IS THE KEY! This
newsletter is a place to share ideas, information, and help answer
some of your habitat and wildlife gardening concerns.
Native Plant Profile.......
Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)
Black Haw can be a large shrub or
small tree that can reach 25 feet in height. The tree has a compact crown
with a short trunk. Leaves are oval with pointed to blunt tips. Leaf
margins are fine toothed. Entire leaf is smooth and leathery. Plant is
found naturally on open hillsides, woodland margins and old fields.
Flowers: Small ivory-white clusters bloom
from April thru June.
Fruits: Fruit is a dark blue to black fleshy
fruit with a sweet pulp. Fruit matures from September to October and
persist into winter.
of Black Haw Leaf and Flower
Notes: Flowers are quite showy in the late spring.
foliage turns to a spectacular dark purple-scarlet. Excellent tree for
showcasing in the front yard.
Value: Black Haw is excellent in providing medium height
nest sites, 10 to 20 feet high for songbirds. Fruit will attract cedar
waxwings and brown thrashers. Bluebirds consume the fruit in the winter.
Spring azure butterflies use this species as one of their food sources.
Notes: Easy to transplant. Known for its toughness and
and photos of Black Haw courtesy of USGS - Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Dr. J. Scott Altenbach
Did you know that Maryland has ten different kinds of bats?
What does an echolocating bat sound like?
Help! I have bats in my house, what do I do?
Answers to these questions and more can be found at the
Dept. of Natural Resources new web page on bats:
The web site features:
A field guide with colorful photos of all ten bats complete with natural history information to give you a glimpse at how these bats lead varied lives;
Information on bats and diseases that removes myth and superstition and presents the up to date information from the Centers for Disease Control and the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene;
Exclusion methods that have proven successful for encouraging bats to live elsewhere other than your house and the companies that are licensed to exclude bats in Maryland;
Acoustic wav files of bat calls and interesting echolocation facts; and,
Everything you always wanted to know about bat roosting boxes and how to install them.
The Wildlife and Heritage Service is particularly interested in hearing from folks who:
Have installed bat roosting boxes
and have bats using them;
Know of an abandoned building, house, or bridge that houses a colony; or
Have a colony in their attic.
If you are interested in sharing the information from your colony, please contact Dana Limpert at 410-260-8556.
Information, Click on the link below.
Discover Maryland's Bats
Seed Heads for Wildlife
||Many gardeners cut - back the seed heads of perennial and annual flowers as soon as the bloom ceases. It keeps a garden looking tidy and does redirect the energy used to make seeds go back to the plant increasing the plant's vigor. However, if you let them go and do not "dead - head", (cut the seed head), you provide food for wildlife. An added bonus is you also create interesting shapes and forms by leaving them in the winter garden.
Photo of Dried
Courtesy of Pete Jayne
An excellent plant not to deadhead is Coreopsis. Goldfinches, which are year-round residents of Maryland, will constantly return to eat these flower seeds. Birds such as the Carolina Wren will also find nesting materials in the dried stalks.
Three other species to leave through the winter are Coneflower (Echinacea), Black - eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), and Asters.
If you are a grower of annuals, try leaving Cosmos, and Sunflowers, both large and small
varieties. An amazing number of winter birds will visit those seed heads.
If you decide you cannot let your
garden go totally weedy all winter, you can try deadheading half of a
floral planting and letting the other half remain. Remember, you can
always "clean-up" the garden after the seeds are consumed. Try leaving the
seed heads of flowers in the back rows of plantings. Leave those that are
closest to winter cover to provide protection from predators as the birds
feed on the seeds.
October-December: Now that nesting season is over it is time for you to inspect the nest structures that you have on your
Wild Acre site. Provide a hinged side or roof so the nest box can be
easily checked and cleaned each year.
Repairs and inspections of squirrel and owl boxes should be done by January, as they are early nesters.
Kestrel boxes should be inspected
and installed by the start of February, as these birds-of-prey are one of
the first migrants to return from their wintering grounds.
You should finish your inspections and repairs by the first week in
March for most songbird boxes.
Duck and owl box roofs kept shut
with a hook or eye can be opened by a raccoon. Instead use several paired
roofing nails with large heads on the side of the roof and on the upper
edge of the side. Wire these paired nails together.
Nest boxes need drainage from the
rains. Four 3/8" diameter drain holes should be drilled in the bottom of
every house, except for the Peterson bluebird house.
Boxes need to be attached to a
post, building or tree. When you put a nest box on a live tree, use lag
bolts and washers. Unscrew them every spring to allow the tree to grow.
Commercial martin houses are
acceptable as are commercial plastic wood duck boxes. You should place the
wood duck boxes in shady locations.
Wood boards ¾" thick are the
easiest to work with when repairing or replacing nest boxes. Cedar is the
all-around best choice. Softwood such as pine is ok for small boxes.
Small mammals such as mice may
take housekeeping in your bird boxes. You should remove their nests (otherwise plan to put up additional boxes to house the birds and the
rodents). Or, when the nesting season is over, open the front or side of a
songbird house and leave it that way until spring.
If bees or wasps have taken over a
nest box, remove the nest and spray the inside of the box with a
place bluebird houses on trees.
Cats and raccoons can easily climb into the box from a tree.
put perches on any
birdhouses. The only birds that perches invite are house sparrows and
European starlings. Remove any perches from boxes.
use cans, milk cartons
or metal for nests. They do not provide enough insulation.
use sawdust for the
bottom of a nest box. It packs down when wet and holds moisture. Instead
use wood shavings or chain saw wood chips. They allow for better drainage.
use wood treated with
green preservative. When this is exposed to water it can produce poisonous
If you follow these general
instructions, you should have successful nesting for the coming year.
Backyard Wildlife Links
Here is a listing of phone
numbers, web sites and organizations that you might find helpful or
interesting in your search for ideas to manage your wild acres.
Online... Inspired by nature!
Wildlife Federation - Details on their backyard habitat program
www.nwf.org or call them at 1-800-822-9919.
Native plants - The
Maryland Native Plant Society offers information dedicated to
protecting, conserving and restoring Maryland's native plants and
habitats, visit them at www.mdflora.org.
Cooperative Extension offers home and garden information, tips
publications, plant problems, Bay issues, and other links at www.agnr.umd.edu/MCE/index.cfm
Their Home and Garden Information number is statewide and can be
reached at 1-800-342-2507, and from outside Maryland at
Maryland's "Becoming an Outdoors - Woman Program
"- One of the topics covered in the three-day workshops is Backyard
more information on butterflies - visit the North American Butterfly
Association at www.naba.org
Warm season grasses and wild
meadows for upland nesting birds visit
Habitat for Wildlife, Pheasants Forever at
www.pheasantsforever.org or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to hear from you!
Letters, e-mail, photos, drawings. Let us know how
successful you are as you create wildlife habitat on
Write to Me!
Natural Resources Biologist II
Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service
MD Dept of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401
Habichat, the newsletter for Wild Acres participants, is published by the
Wildlife and Heritage Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
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The facilities and services of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are available to all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, physical or mental disability. This document is available in alternative format upon request from a qualified individual with a disability.
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