Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Tag Archives: birds

Habitat Talk about Birds – Free on 11/8

NOVEMBER 8 – Birds in the Winter Garden

(9:30-11am) Learn how to keep birds happy through the winter, what you might expect to see, and some of the best native plants to sustain birds during the cold months.
Instructor: Ryan Fleming, Wildewoode Landscapes

“Habitat Talks” happen at Discovery Hill Outdoor Learning Center located at the Science and Health Resource Center in Austin ISD. Discovery Hill is a National Wildlife Federation premier demonstration habitat that NWF funded and implemented in AISD in 2013.

For more information about the sequence of talks in 2014-2015, go to http://www.nwf.org/South-Central-Region/temp_event_AUS_HabitatTalks.aspx

Gardening for Birds and Butterflies – mid-day Classes

Mark Klym is offering a course of  8 classes on Gardening for Birds and Butterflies​, beginning Sept. 16.  They will be from 1:30 to 3:30 P.M. Tuesdays at Christ Lutheran Church at 300 Monroe Street East, Austin, TX 78704, USA in south central Austin, 78704.  The fee for the whole course is only $20, through Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin.  There are still some places available.  For more information and the registration form, see www.lliaustin.org
Mark is coordinator of the Texas Hummingbird Roundup and Texas Wildscapes programs at Texas Parks and Wildlife.  He is coauthor of Hummingbirds of Texas by Texas A&M Press and is an excellent instructor.​

“The Evil of the Outdoor Cat”

Take a quick read of this interesting article, The Evil of the Outdoor Cat, by Richard Conniff, an author who writes about wildlife for Smithsonian, National Geographic and other magazines. I was startled by how much wildlife outdoor cats are eliminating from this planet. The author tells his story of “Lucky,” his outdoor cat (prior to his demise one unlucky night). He has chosen to never have another outdoor cat again.

Using deliberately conservative assumptions, federal researchers recently estimated that free-ranging cats killed about 2.4 billion birds annually in the Lower 48 states, a substantial bite out of the total bird population. Outdoor cats also kill about 12.3 billion small mammals a year — not just the proverbial rats and mice but also chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels — and about 650 million reptiles and amphibians. In some cases, they are pushing endangered species toward extinction.

I really love hearing the birds in the morning. Do you?

Purple Martin Sanctuary: A National Wildlife Habitat in Zilker

You can visit a wonderful national wildlife habitat certified sanctuary for songbirds, purple martins, right here in our Zilker neighborhood. It’s located at 1606 Virginia Avenue.

A local news-station did a recent story on the sanctuary:  http://austin.ynn.com/content/278141/local-wonders–songbirds-flock-to-south-austin. There’s a wonderful story and video profile. My husband and I walk by this nearly everyday with our dog. We call it our “birdhouse route” walk.

It’s important to note that this sanctuary is National Wildlife Habitat certified. That means it offers four components: shelter, food, water, & a place to raise young. It’s a great example. It’s open to the public – drop by, sit in a chair or on a bench, and enjoy the natural music (and check out the Austin skyline while you there.)

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