Food for Birds

We’ve heard it before, * “do not cut and remove perennial stems and flower heads in the fall.” These pictures clearly demonstrate local birds feeding on these valuable fall and winter food sources!

Photos courtesy of:  Suzanne Sky – Talent, Oregon

*Read AGC’s article: https://ashlandorgardenclub.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/gardening-prepare-for-winter/

 

Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas

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Hummingbirds Winter Care

Keep hummingbird feeders clean to prevent mold and fungus, which can be fatal to hummingbirds. Refill feeders frequently so there is always an adequate supply of nectar for overwintering hummingbirds.   Do not prune shrubs or trees near feeding areas in fall so hummingbirds have plenty of sheltered places to perch and rest between feedings. Bring feeders indoors to warm/ defrost and rotate out with other feeders.

Below are some methods to keep the nectar from freezing:

Hummingbird_feeding_in_winter

Photo by: Dan David Cook

  • Use a dome to protect from snow, sleet and ice.
  • Position the feeder to protect from cold winds and exposure.
  • Attach hand warmers to the feeder.
  • Heat tape such as used for preventing pipes from freezing.
  • Place a clamp-on/ clip-on shop/ work light adjacent to the feeder—about 12-24″ away would be as plumbers do when defrosting frozen pipes. Test the distance before you walk away. Try a 125 Watt infra-red light bulb, but not the red-glass type. Get an I.R. bulb with clear envelope, it casts a more natural light. Connect it all to a timer.
  • Place holiday lights around, above or below the feeder.
  • Insulate with any fabric.
  • Some say to alter the water:nectar ratio, but don’t do this! Keep ratio the same for hummingbird’s health and nutritional needs
  • Do not obstruct access to feeding ports. Use common sense and your best judgment.
Information from: hummingbirdmarket.com. http://www.hummingbirdmarket.com/hummingbird_articles/feeding_hummingbirds_in_the_cold.html
And, Seattle Audubon –  http://www.seattleaudubon.org/sas/Learn/SeasonalFacts/Hummingbirds.aspx

 

Gardening: Prepare for Winter

In the Rogue Valley, fall is a good time to plant perennials, shrubs, trees and bulbs. Just bulbs.jpgremember to keep new plants well watered until winter rains begin.

Plant Spring Bulbs: Plant daffodils, tulips, crocuses in October and into November until the ground freezes.

Watering: Cut back watering established perennials, shrubs and trees to prepare them for winter. (Remember to continue watering new plants until rains begin.)

Deadheading & Clean up:  To provide food and habitat for pollinators & birds throughout the winter, Do Not cut or remove perennial stems and flower heads until the spring.   NOTE:  If you must have a prim garden, then cut back perennials stems to 6-8 inches on plants that have finished blooming for the season.

Leaves: Rake and remove leaves from the lawn, use leaves as mulch in your flowerbeds, or compost them to make leaf mold.  Shredded leaves break down faster and are easier for worms to turn into compost. Placing shredded leaves in flowerbeds over the winter helps protect plants, suppresses weeds, and will provide nutrients by late spring.

Dig Bulbs.  Tender bulbs such as dahlias and gladiolus should be dug up in cold winter areas.  When foliage begins to yellow and die, cut back foliage, dig up bulbs, and store them in a cool, but freeze-free, area like in an insulated garage, under your house or in an spare refrigerator.   When digging be careful not to damage the bulb.  In lower elevation areas of the Rogue Valley you can cover tender bulbs with 6-8 inches of mulch for winter protection.  

Mulching with leaves, hay, or even evergreen boughs can provide an extra layer of protection for tender perennials. These mulches will catch and hold snow which helps insulate them.

Feed Plants. Fall is a good time to feed perennials by working in a 4 to 6 inch thick layer of compost in your beds. This compost slowly breaks down over winter providing nutrients to the plants and improves soil structure.

Article by: Carlotta Lucas

 

Oregon Snakes

One of many nice qualities about living in Oregon, is its non-poisonous snakes, well all but one!

crotalus_viridis_02.jpg

Western Rattlesnake –   Photo By Gary Stolz, U.S. Fish & Wildlife/Wikimedia

Snakes are beneficial to gardeners, they eat mice, voles, rats, slugs, Japanese beetle grubs and other gardening pests.  Only one snake species in Oregon can harm humans, and that is the venomous Western Rattlesnake.

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) reported,  “there are two sub-species of the Western Rattlesnake in Oregon, the Northern Pacific subspecies, found in southwestern Oregon, in the middle and southern Willamette Valley, as well as the Columbia Plateau. The Great Basin subspecies is found in Oregon’s south central areas and the southeastern region. ”

ODFW says Gopher Snakes (Pituophis catenifer) are often mistaken for Rattlesnakes, because Gopher Snakes shake their tail, hiss and strike out with their head, but Gopher Snakes are not venomous, nor do they have rattles on their tails.  Other snakes in Oregon are also harmless to humans and they are beneficial to the environment, too.

Gopher snake

Gopher snake – Photo by Julia Larson/Wikimedia

Oregon snakes:

  • Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)
  • Western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
  • California Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata)
  • Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
  • Northwestern Garter snake (Thamnophis ordinoides)
  • Pacific Coast Aquatic Garter snake (Thamnophis atratus)
  • Common Garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
  • Racer snake (Coluber constrictor)
  • Western Terrestrial Garter snake (Thamnophis elegans)
  • Ground snake (Sonora semiannulata)
  • Striped whipsnake (Coluber taeniatus)
  • Sharp-tailed snake (Contia tenuis)
  • Ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus)
  • Night snake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea)
  • Rubber Boa (Charina bottae)

 

Charina_bottae _ Rubber Boa _ USDA Forest Service

Rubber Boa – photo by USDA Forest Service

To learn more about Oregon’s snakes, click on the links below:

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/snakes-slither-through-garden-eating-slugs-grubs-and-other-pests

http://www.oregonlive.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2015/06/meet_the_snakes_of_oregon.html

Download Oregon’s Fish & Wildlife Brochure … Oregon_Living With Snakes pdf

 

By: Carlotta Lucas