Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Flying Cigar - Chimney Swifts

"No birds soars to high if he soars with his own wings"  - William Blake

The chimney swift is on the list of top ten birds in decline.  Part of the reason is because people are moving towards gas fireplaces and are starting to cover their chimneys.  The other reason, is because there are fewer old dead hollow trees since most people cut their timber before they reach that age. 

I was visiting a local Audubon Center recently and was surprised by all of the chimney swifts I saw.  I knew they had installed Chimney Swift Towers over the last 5 years to provide more nesting habitat for the chimney swifts, but I really did not expect to see as many as I did.  During the nesting phase, regardless of the size of the tower, there will only be one nest.   During the fall migration a tower the size of the one shown in the photo might hold 200 birds.  Some of the old industrial smokestacks in abandoned mills might hold 3000 plus.  I have not built a tower on my property yet, but I do plan to build one in the next year or so.  I mainly have to determine where I want to put it.  These birds eat about half their weight per day in insects so if you are having issues with mosquitos, etc why not try a chimney swift tower?   I will update this blog with my plans when I complete them.

Chimney Swifts migrate as far south as Ecuador in the Winter and as for North as Canada during the summer. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Purple Coneflower

"Earth laughs in a flower. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson"

Echinacea purpurea - Echinacea comes from the Greek word Echinos meaning hedgehog.  The hedgehog mushroom has teeth that are somewhat similar to the cone portion of the coneflower. 

This has long been one of my favorite flowers.  It is a great flower for attracting butterflies and honeybees.  This flower readily self seeds if you allow the seedheads to remain.