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

Author’s Note

Happy Spring HabiChat fans!

I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones happy and healthy. While this certainly is a trying time, we can make the most of quarantine by connecting with our backyard habitats and the residents they support. I have been enjoying the sounds and signs of spring, including watching an amorous mourning dove woo a potential mate. So far, his attempts seem to be successful!

While many local native plant sales have been canceled, vendors have been working to provide plants via online means. Check out the Maryland Native Plant Society website for a list of local vendors. This time is also a great one to tackle some of the invasive plants that may have found their way into your yard. Check out the Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas for information on common invaders and how to properly remove them. I, for one, have been tackling quite a bit of periwinkle (Vinca minor) on the weekends.

In this edition of Habichat, I have created articles on our native mining bees which are active early in the spring, the lovely maple-leaved viburnum, backyard birding tips, and how to create backyard habitat while sheltering in place. In addition to HabiChat, I have also included activities to do with children at home on our wildlife education page.

As spring continues, young wildlife are going to venture out from their dens and nests. It’s important to remember that wildlife don’t have the same parenting procedures as we do, and they often ‘free range’ their young. Check out our page on Think Twice Before Rescuing Young Wildlife to learn about normal behaviors of young animals.

Happy Habitats,
Kerry Wixted

Mourning Dove, photo by Kerry Wixted
Mourning dove, photo by Kerry Wixted

In This Issue

Native Animal Profile: Mining Bees

With spring underway, many species are emerging from their winter rest, including our local bees. Six families of bees have been identified in Maryland. The largest family of bees is the Andrenidae family, which is also known as the mining bees. Most mining bees are active early in the spring and are important pollinators of spring-blooming plants. Read more.

Native Plant Profile: Maple-leaved Viburnum

Maple-leaved viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) is one of our native, short shrubs in the moschatel family (Adoxaceae). It has medium growth that maxes out at heights of 3-6 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. It often will form a short colony, making it a great plant to use as a low hedge or border. Read more.

Backyard Birding Tips

There is no better time to connect with wildlife in your backyard than now. With spring underway, many bird species are increasing their activity. Winter birds like dark-eyed juncos are heading north while migrants like ruby-throated hummingbirds are returning to Maryland. Read more.

Creating Backyard Wildlife Habitat While Sheltering in Place

You probably have a lot of materials around the house and yard that can be repurposed to create backyard wildlife habitat. Don’t let quarantine hold you back from creating habitat! This list contains some ideas about how to create habitat with limited supplies. Read more.

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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.​