By Jeff Osmundson
Greetings members and friends of Skagit Audubon,
If you remember last year about this time we had our message on leaving a messy garden in the fall. The gist of the article was to leave the old fading plants, especially those with seeds, for the winter birds to use as feed and cover. Falling leaves and stalks also compost and add texture and nutrition to the soil. With all the spare time we have not cleaning our fall gardens, perhaps we can look ahead to next season and see what we might want to consider to attract more birds to our yards and gardens.
Do you love hummingbirds? Maybe these plants are worth considering for the next spring planting; honeysuckle, milkweeds, sages and penstemons. I tried a mass planting from the sage family, Hot Lips Salvia, this year. The planting box was swarmed with hummingbirds, bees of all varieties and butterflies, and still is as we enter the fall season.
Maybe you are just not sure what might work for your particular area. Well, you can visit the Audubon website and get recommendations for native plants suitable for our area. Our friends at the Native Plant Society would remind us that native plants are better for birds and bugs. You can customize your own list at www.audubon.org/native-plants. And, if you are new to birding or a little rusty on your skills, you can practice your skills with back yard birding. From the comfort of your deck or porch you can practice finding and focusing on birds with your binoculars. Now that breeding and defending territories are not as important, the birds are singing less and using more calls and chips. Now is a good time to learn to associate those quieter and shorter sounds with their feathery owners.
With any luck we can be meeting again in the near future, enjoying field trips, hiking again with our friends, and bringing our education programs to both kids and adults.
Until then, stay safe, mask up and wash your hands.
Jeff Osmundson, President