By Chris Helzer/The Nature Conservancy
This photo was taken several years ago outside the house of my in-laws in eastern Nebraska. I don’t usually photograph birds, but I was there and the birds were there, and one thing led to another…
A red-bellied woodpecker pauses near a feeder during a snowstorm. Sarpy County Nebraska
It was snowing, but the mid-day light was still bright enough for photography. As the snow fell, I stood in my coveralls near several bird feeders, hoping the birds would ignore me. I had covered my camera in a plastic bag and wrapped my lens in cardboard (held on with rubber bands) – only the best technology for me! While the snow piled up on my camera, eyebrows, and beard, I pivoted the camera around on my tripod, attempting to focus on bird after bird as they came near the feeders. Most of the time, of course, the bird either landed in a non-photogenic spot or moved away before I could get a bead on it. In spite of that, I eventually managed to get a few useable shots.
This one is my favorite from the day – mainly because of the completely white background. It would look like a studio shot except for the blurry snowflakes coming past the tree trunk. In reality, the snow on the ground and in the air behind the bird just blurred together into a pure white background.
The Prairie Ecologist
Posted in Birds, Environment, man and nature, Native Prairies, natural world, Nature, Tallgrass Prairie, wildlife
Tagged Bird, bird feeder, Birds, Nebraska, red belly woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, snow, winter, woodpecker
Many bird-feeding stations are barren of cover for birds at your feeders. You can solve this problem by providing instant cover with fully mature fall or winter-harvested stems of the White Wild Indigo. When the plants mature and fall comes, the plants will go dormant leaving their study and durable stems erect with dried leaves and stems still in tack. This makes for the perfect little bush that will give birds a secure place to land.
Just break the stems off at ground level. Get a two or three gallon container. Fill with any soil. Insert the stems into the soil for a secure upright position of the stems. You may want to put a heavy rock in the bottom of the container to keep the wind from blowing it over. Place the pots near your feeders. When the birds land in the branches of the White Wild Indigo, they can rest there and feel protected against predators.
Within minutes you will have more birds right next to your feeders feeling secure and safe. This will enable you to stand much closer to your feeders and observe birds up close.
You can plant White Wild Indigo from seed and they will mature in two to three years or you could plant them as live plants and they will mature faster. Seeds should be scarified with sand paper to thin the hard seed coating if planted in the spring and place in a plastic bag with moist sand or vermiculite. After 10 days you may plant the seed. If planted in the fall they will not need scarification. They grow to about four to five feet in height and have beautiful white flowers up and down the sturdy stems in early to mid-summer. As they mature, they will develop black seedpods, which are very attractive. They are native from Canada to Southern Texas and Florida and throughout the central region of the U.S. They will thrive in most soils.
Howard Bright, aka Earthyman
To Purchase White Wild Indigo Visit Our Website At Ion Exchange, Inc. Native Wildflowers & Prairie Plants
Posted in Animals, Bird and Butterfly Attractor Station, Birds, Environment, Fall Planting, Fall Plantings, Gardening, Grass, Ion Exchange Inc, Live Plant Plugs, man and nature, Native Grasses, Native Plant and Seed Nursery, Native Prairies, native wildflowers, natural world, Nature, Perennial Garden, Perennial Plants, Sowing Seed, Spring Planting, Tallgrass Prairie, Wildflower Garden, Wildflowers and Native Grasses, Wildlife Gardening
Tagged Bird, Bird Feeding, Bird Feeding Station, Bird Seed, Bird Watching, Birds, Earthyman, Fall Seed harvesting, Feeders, Howard Bright, Ion Exchange, Ion Exchange Inc, Mature Seeds, native plants, native seeds, Prairie Plants, Seeds, White Flowers, White Wild Indigo, wildflowers