Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

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

Tag Archives: wildlife

How Wolves Changed Rivers (in Yellowstone)

I so enjoyed watching this four minute video highlighting how the introduction of wolves into Yellowstone in 1995 (a year I drove through Yellowstone, as I moved from California to Michigan for graduate school) not only change the ecosystem but changed the actual physical geography (the flow of rivers). It’s a story of “trophic cascades” in which an introduction to the top of the food chain can have remarkable effects all the way to the bottom.

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Garden wildlife

Since I’ve installed the three new gardens in the front, we’ve seen a huge increase in wildlife visitors to our yard. Mostly, we have birds, bees, and butterflies. Adding a birdbath increased traffic earlier in the summer. We’d sit outside and watch the show as the birds played in the water and quenched their thirst. Lately, in the new garden I see a lot of bees on the sages. I’m hoping to eventually see some hummingbirds in the Firebush but haven’t yet. Earlier this summer, I saw the butterfly show. We had a lot of caterpillars eating up the butterfly weed (milkweed). Providing that food allowed us to see a plethora of butterflies later on in the season. Here’s a few we’ve seen.

I have applied for recognition as a National Wildlife Habitat through the City of Austin for FREE! Your garden (of any size) must (a) provide food, (b) provide water, (c) create cover, and (c) provide wildlife a place to raise young.

Caterpillars on the milkweed

Black Swallowtail on the milkweed (above, center bottom)

Butterfly

Queen on butterfly weed (above)

Another butterfly

Common Buckeye on Blackfoot Daisy (above, center – brown)

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