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Today's Backyard Wildlife

Mike Hill

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Don't see many nightjars around the house - maybe the lights confuse them. Bats I enjoy seeing. They might be flying and I haven't noticed them yet. There's plenty of mosquitos around for them to feed on. I'm in an established neighborhood - approx 80 years. But there has been an influx of mainly west and east coasters into the neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. It appears that the newcomers really don't like having to do anything outside and/or manual and seem to rely on chemicals. i.e. lawn care spraying, mosquito spraying, tree spraying, pre-emergent week controls, landscape spraying (they don't garden), and who knows what else they spray. Instead of simply bending down and pulling a weed in a sidewalk crack, they will go to HD (closest to here) and buy roundup and spray it. I think that has taken it's toll. Only butterflies I've noticed this year (and yes, it's early) are Cabbage Whites. Very few honeybees. And far fewer bumble bees - last few years my coneflowers are swarmed by both bumblebees and a few carpenter bees. And I've only seen one hummingbird so far this year. They may be coming while I'm at work, but cannot be many, as the "nectar" is not depleted. I'm not a tree hugger - but sure would like them to outlaw all this unnecessary (but apparently profitable) broadband and mass spraying being done!
 
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Mike Hill

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When we first moved here in 2012 we saw bats every evening. Now I rarely see one. I don't know the cause - could be any one of those diseases that seems to be inflicting the bats now, or maybe a reduction in insect supply from drought or spraying, not sure. See a lot of nightjars in the evenings though. Owls will move with food and nesting sites. Great horned rarely build their own - they usually evict hawks from their nests and since the owls don't do maintenance, the nests break down and are used only a season or two. The one behind us that the owls took over from a pair of redtailed hawks is almost completely gone now so we don't get the nesting owls any more. Maybe the hawks will come back and rebuild it one of these years.
Did not know that about great horned owls and nesting!
 

Mike1950

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55 year old neighborhood. mostly 1 acre lots. backed by a ridge/hills of tree and beyond that the edge of Palouse farm ground. wheat lentils and?? for 100 miles. Plenty of hummers, bees and some bumble bees. More than 20 years ago all grass but we have changed our acre from mostly grass to 3,500 ' of grass . we have created wild area to east. 1/8 acre front yard hardscape. 1/4 acre shop area. Lots more birds, bugs and wildlife now than before. Lawn gets sprayed and Kathie uses roundup on hardscape. owls- robins goldfinch pine siskins wood peckers magpies wren Chicadees etc.
personally I think it is not just chemicals. It is the mono landscape of lawn-concrete and very low maintenance plants. I have more birds here than my 80's acreage home on edge of farmland.
our success is semi wild areas on our acre. The birds have planted mountain ash and we probably have 20 of them. We do not feed birds with feeders. cannot just be chemicals. our neighbors for most part have lots of lawn. 20-30,000 square ft.
 

trc65

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We've got tons of birds, but bees are not very plentiful. Only one of two apple trees has any fruit in spite of the fact they were loaded with blossoms. Not seeing many bees at all.

Great living amongst farmland, but neighbor to the south just sprayed post herbicides that are now showing injury symptoms across half the garden. Time will tell if I have any tomatoes or beans. Temp was too high for chemicals he used and wind was too high so he made an off label (illegal application). Waiting a week or so before I decide wether or not to file complaint with the state.

First time in 45 years that a neighbor has actually damaged our garden.

Agriculture has definitely impacted wildlife. Too much acreage and too few operators. Relying too much on chemistry and large equipment.
 

Mike Hill

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Have lots of birds (grackles, cowbirds, sparrows of various kinds, finches of various kinds, cardinals, wrens, nuthatches, siskins, tits, warbler or two, bluebird, mourning dove, towhees, thrashers, blue jays, 4 types of woodpeckers, hawks (flying overhead), owls (hear the hooting, various migrants) and mammals (rabbits, chipmonks, voles, squirrels, deer, fox (close but not in yard), armadillo (close but not in yard), coyote (seen scat in yard), bobcat (not in yard, but road dead 1,000 feet down road), bunches of raccons, possums)- more than we used to. But I feed birds year round. Hummers not year around, but usually have some. There is/was a bird store a few blocks away that had a number of hummer feeders and they would have many, many hummers at all times - I think my feeder got the loners who did not want to compete in all the hub-bub. But yesterday passed the store and it looks like they are closed, so I would expect to have more than I had the last few years. I had 2 bee hives in my back yard for some years, so could not spray - so not much spraying - although the round-up would come out occassionally. When the yard spraying started (and when I started seeing the little signs up) is about when I noted a marked decrease in my bees and honey. In fact, both hives died out at different times and I had to requeen them to get started again. The chemicals may not have killed them, but the supply of nearby clover blooms was diminished with the spraying (both privately and publicly on the roadways), decreasing their summer supply of nectar. They still collected spring locust and poplar and fall wildflower, but the summer clover honey was way down. When the mosquito spraying started is when I noticed a big decrease in butterflies - last year I only saw a literal handful or two. Last year I had one caterpillar on the bronze fennel - and usually there was probably 10-20 on each plant. This year not a one. I do not spray (holdover from the bee raising days) the lawn, nor do I spray fungicide, miticides or general pesticides. Therefore - there are some things that I cannot grow successfully - such as roses (everything), squash (squash vine borers) cruciferous vegetables (cabbage loopers), eggplant (flea beetles) and the like. This year, I have seen an increase in honeybee activity - maybe another hive moved close or a wild colony is somewhere close. But not bumble bees (very marked decrease). Other than the tearing down of existing housesto build two on the lot, there has not been a bunch of change in the neighborhood in 40 years. It's just grown older. Who knows what is causing the downturn? May come back next year and have 100's of monarchs flitting around, caterpillars denuding the bronze fennel, and bats getting tangled up in my hair (i.e. Barney Fife's fear). But then I could be like some of the red-neck fishermen east of here. 50 years ago, they started releasing Striped Bass into our reservoirs. On a couple of lakes the locals did not take kindly to the stocking of Stripers. They would even shoot the trucks. They blamed the Stripers for ruining the fishing on "their" lakes. Even when the biologist would show them that not a single Striper had a bass in it's stomach when they were sampled (90% of what they ate was shad, while the other 10% was mainly alewives and skipjack), and - they would not believe it. What they did not see was the drastic reduction of cover near the shore that their lakes used to have, but were getting older and the covers rotted away. Once they learned to fish the lake differently (not just throwing plugs at the shoreline) and started catching fish again, did they lessen up on the pressure on the wildlife fisheries dept. I think I'll be the same, and blame the chemicals until I learn differently. LOL
 

trc65

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I'm certainly not anti chemical, I made my living for a long time researching/using ag chem, but there is documented evidence various chemicals have reduced insect/bee population. Ag in general has reduced wildlife as well. Growing up had large population of quail also had waterways and fence rows. Most of that is gone now, coyotes moved in and very reduced population of quail, pheasant and songbirds.
 

Mike1950

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I'm certainly not anti chemical, I made my living for a long time researching/using ag chem, but there is documented evidence various chemicals have reduced insect/bee population. Ag in general has reduced wildlife as well. Growing up had large population of quail also had waterways and fence rows. Most of that is gone now, coyotes moved in and very reduced population of quail, pheasant and songbirds.
We have more quail than ever. Almost no pheasants. I agree that insect populations have changed. But more people to feed means more food. The Gates of the world want us to eat chemical produced meat. Hell what could go wrong. Funny most beef grown in my part of states are raised on land that would support very little else.. too many people, maybe...
 

trc65

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This little tree frog is resting on the window sill just waiting for dark to start feeding.

Edit, it is only about two inches long.

PXL_20220623_233728402.jpg
 
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trc65

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Chuck, it is about two inches long. I was editing the post to add that info while you were typing your question!
 
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