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HABITAT - the arrangement of food, water, cover, and space - IS THE KEY.

Author’s Note

Happy New Year HabiChat fans!

Winter can be a tough time of year for many of our local wildlife species. You can give them a hand by creating habitat and providing natural foods. In this winter edition of HabiChat, learn about Cedar Waxwings, a lovely resident bird that can be found in backyards, as well as our native inkberry holly that provides important cover. In addition, this issue also includes articles on Winter Greens for Wildlife, Eastern Screech Owl Nest Boxes, and how to help with the 3rd Maryland-DC Breeding Bird Atlas.

Winter is also a time for maintenance projects, so don’t forget to clean out and repair nest boxes and prune your shrubs and trees. If you are feeding birds, please also make sure to keep those feeders clean. In addition, water is crucial to many species this time of year. Consider adding a heated bird bath or pet water bowl to your landscape to help local wildlife. If you are looking for fun projects to do with the kids, why not go on a winter safari or make seed wreaths for the birds?

Finally, I am pleased to announce that we have completed the Simple School Wildlife Garden Guide. The guide contains basic information on how to start a school wildlife garden and includes suggested plants and designs for three types of gardens: a monarch garden, a songbird garden, and a pollinator garden. The guide can be found on our Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat page. ​

Happy Habitats,
Kerry Wixted

A green bee ontop of a white flower.

American Holly, photo by Tom Potterfield (CC by NC SA2.0)


In This Issue:

Native Animal Profile: Cedar Waxwing

Often heard and not seen, the lovely Cedar Waxwing can be found year-round throughout Maryland. Cedar Waxwings sport a pale brown, crested head with a sleek black mask that runs from their bill and around their eyes. Read more

Native Plant Profile: Inkberry

Inkberry (Ilex glabra) is one of our native, compact shrubs in the holly family (Aquifoliaceae) that keeps its leaves year-round. It is a relatively slow growing species that maxes out at heights of 5- 8 feet tall. Read more

Habitat Project: Eastern Screech-owl Boxes

Did you know? Maryland is home to eight species of owls, several of which are year-round residents while others visit during migration. The smallest resident owl in Maryland is the Eastern Screech-owl, which is often under 10 inches in length. Read more

Calling All Bird Enthusiasts! Join the Maryland-D.C. Breeding Bird Atlas

Maryland is fortunate to have breeding bird atlas data from 1983-1987 and 2002-2006. The majority of the data collected during these efforts was from volunteers. Beginning this year, the third Maryland – District of Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas (MD-DC BBA3) project and will run through 2024, and you can join in the effort! Read more

Winter Greens for Wildlife

Woody plants are essential for wildlife. In the winter, evergreen plants can provide much-needed shelter and food for local animals. Consider adding one or more of these native plants to your backyard landscape to provide for local wildlife. Read more



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We want to hear from you!

Letters, e-mail, photos, drawings. Let us know how successful you are as you create wildlife habitat on your property.

Write to Me!

Kerry Wixted
Natural Resources Biologist II
Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service
MD Dept of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401

phone: 410-260-8566
fax: 410-260-8596
e-mail: kerry.wixted@maryland.gov

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Habichat, the newsletter for Maryland's Stewards of Backyard Wildlife, is published by the Wildlife and Heritage Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources. 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.​