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A HERMIT THRUSH FOR CHRISTMAS

After Ron Lee sent me a series of pictures of a hermit thrush, I immediately knew what I wanted for Christmas — a hermit thrush showing up at my backyard feeders.

       Although this thrush winters throughout Georgia, it is not a bird that frequents our feeders.  The exception to this rule is Ron and Jennie Lee’s backyard.  The Lees have hosted a hermit thrush in their backyard for several winters.

       These winter visitors are drawn out of the thick shrubs surrounding his year by cornbread that is scattered on the ground.

       The bird that has made the Lee’s backyard its home this winter has become exceptionally tame.  When Ron goes out into the yard to replenish the cornbread the thrush will suddenly appear and begin feeding.

       Ron says that a ruby-crowned kinglet has also developed a taste for cornbread.

       My wife and I have been feeding cornbread to the birds for many years.  Although this delicacy is regularly eaten by mockingbirds and other backyard diners, we have never attracted a hermit thrush. 

       Hermit thrushes are known to feed on the ground and in elevated feeders such as bird tables and trays.

       Aside from cornbread, they are also known to eat sliced apples, doughnuts, cracked corn, pieces of pecans, suet, and peanut butter.  White bread is also listed among the foods consumed by hermit thrushes.  However, Ron reports that when he has tried to offer his hermit thrush small pieces of white bread, the bird tosses them aside and seeks out the cornbread.

       Over the years, I have tried all of these feeder offerings without success.  I guess I need to see if Ron and Jennie will share their cornbread recipe with me.  In the meantime, I hope Santa will bring me a Christmas hermit thrush.

GARDEN CLUB TO HOLD GARDENING STUDY SCHOOL

MALE EASTERN BLUEBIRD

MALE EASTERN BLUEBIRD

The Augusta Council of Garden Clubs,  in association with the National Garden Clubs, The Garden Club of Georgia and the Azalea District of the Garden Club of Georgia is presenting Course I of the Gardening Study School.  The school will be held  at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park September 23-24, 2016.

       This intensive course will focus  on a number of topics relating to the world in which we live including environmental issues, networking and outreach, plant biodiversity, backyard wildlife habitat, historical actions and leaders, ecology, environmental science and sustainability.

       I will be will be teaching the session on backyard wildlife habitats.  My talk will deal with all facets relating to creating and maintaining diverse populations of birds, wild pollinators and plants in backyard settings.

       Although the study school is designed for members of the Garden Club of Georgia wanting to attain recognition as an Accredited Environmental Consultant, the courses are open to the general public. http://augustacouncilgc.com/index.html For more information as to how you can  attend the section dealing with backyard wildlife habitats, or the entire course, contact:  Judith Kirkland at jukirkland@knology.net.

      

FAWNS SERENELY RESTING IN A BACKYARD

Twin white-tailed deer fawns

Twin white-tailed deer fawns

Over the years, Ron and Jennie Lee have been transforming their McDonough backyard into a haven for wildlife.

Since they live in the shadow Atlanta, some would say that they have been wasting their time. According to these naysayers, if you want to attract wildlife to your yard, you need to live out in the country.

Ron and Jennie’s success in inviting wildlife to their yard is a shining example of what can often be accomplished in some of the most unlikely locations. The variety of wildlife that regularly visits their yard is truly astounding.

For that reason, I was not surprised when Ron recently sent me a picture of a couple of his latest backyard visitors. I hope you enjoy the photograph as much as I do.