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Archive - April 2009

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Attracting birds to your yard

Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 06:21:48 AM














A pair of painted buntings visiting my feeder which is hanging in an Alvaradoa amorphoides.

I have planted many native trees, shrubs and palms to re-create natural habitats in my own yard.  I created a hardwood hammock, palm and grass savannah, and a pineland area all in a less than 1/2 acre size lot.  One of the main reasons I planted native species was to attract wildlife. 

Birds require food, shelter, and water.  I am especially pleased with the many birds who visit my yard, especially painted and indigo buntings.  Birds like to hide in shrubs and small trees.  I have a bird feeder on the sunny edge of my hammock and a large clay pot saucer used to keep water for birds to bathe in or drink.  The birds like hanging out in the Alvaradoa amorphoides and Lantana involucrata before they fly to my feeder.  I use a bird seed mix which includes sunflower seeds, millet, and other small seeds.  Millet seeds are eaten by the buntings.  Both the painted buntings and indigo buntings spend the dry season in South Florida.  In a few weeks, the buntings will fly north to their summer nesting areas.

At this year's Spring Plant Sale we will have many native species to plant and create habitats for birds and butterflies.  We will have some small sized Lantana involucrata, Chromolaena odorata,  Passiflora suberosa and Alvaradoa amorphoides  to get you started on creating your own wildlife habitats in your yard.  Plant them and they will come! 


Spring has arrived in Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden!

Thu, Apr 02, 2009 at 11:07:20 AM


                                                                   Brownea capitella in our rainforest

Spring at Fairchild means lots of amazing flowers are here for you to enjoy.  Some flowers are only fragrant at night.  Tonight and every Thursday night in April, there will be special walking tours in the Arboretum to visit flowers which are fragrant during the evening hours to attract  insects, mostly moths, which only fly at night. There may be fewer moths than there are of daytime insects, but there are also fewer nighttime flowers, so less competition. The flowers have a fragrance because that is a signal which works at night, when visual signals as used by many daytime flowers don't work.

Do moths have a sense of smell? Most definitely. Nearly all insects have a very good sense of smell - or, to be precise, sensitivity to minute amounts of complex chemicals, and moths particularly so. Moths are known for the huge variety of shapes and forms in their antennae, which are their main smell sensors. I know that there are several angel's trumpets (Brugmansia spp.) blooming now.  They are incredibly fragrant at night.  Try to visit Fairchild soon to enjoy Spring!  Visit on a Thursday evening this month and you might even see a moth!



                                                                   Brugmansia aurea in the Arboretum