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Birds and Blooms ExtraBirds and Blooms Extra

Birds and Blooms Extra March 2019

Even more of what you love from North America's #1 bird and garden magazine, celebrating the beauty in your own backyard.  Published on the months in between the Birds and Blooms magazine, Extra features vivid photographs, useful tips and expert advice to inform, inspire, and connect enthusiasts who share a passion for backyard birds and gardening.

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7 Números


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“was that a roadrunner?”

I blurted out to the person closest to me. I was walking back to the car after picking up my registration packet for the Sedona Hummingbird Festival when a relatively large bird dashed across the walkway. The woman confirmed it was a greater roadrunner, but she didn’t seem nearly as excited about the common Arizona sighting as I was. Glimpsing the roadrunner when I least expected it was such a surprise and so memorable. Birds that not only survive but thrive in hot and dry climates have adapted to drought conditions, an unusual menu and prickly nesting sites. Turn to page 26 to read about desert dwellers and see photos, including one goofy-looking flier, the pyrrhuloxia (pir-uh-LOK-see-uh)! While southwestern birds are on your mind, we’d love to hear about your encounters with…

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this manth

ASK OUR EXPERTS As a new garden season and spring bird migration kick off, send your questions about tricky IDs or backyard dilemmas to our pros: birdsandblooms.com/submit Make Use acrylic craft paint and brushes or sponges to create herringbone, triangle or diamond designs on pots in colors that fit your style and home! Enjoy Lorae Webster of Osceola, Wisconsin, shared this spring surprise. “How often do you catch your flowers smiling back at you?” she asks. GET AWAY The San Francisco Flower & Garden Show is March 20-24. One can’t-miss display is Sproutopia, which features kid-friendly garden activities. sfgardenshow.com CELEBRATE National Plant a Flower Day is March 12!…

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backyard royalty

Purple Majesty Millet Pennisetum glaucum ‘Purple Majesty’, Annual Shooting up quickly in spring, Purple Majesty millet sprouts multiple flower-packed stalks and transitions to its iconic royal purple in early summer. It grows best in high temps and tolerates low moisture, making it ideal for borders or mass plantings in your yard’s brightest spots. Attracts: Light needs: Full sun. Size: Grows 3 to 5 feet tall, and 10 to 12 inches wide. Grown for: Bold purple color and drought resistance. Foliage: Pointed leaves shoot up from a few tall main stems. Plant perks: This millet is not only easy to care for, it’s a magnet to backyard wildlife. Flower stalks grow up to 14 inches long and support pollinators throughout the spring and summer. BIRD BENEFITS In early fall, mature seed spikes attract many birds. Later, ground feeders like sparrows,…

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serve a fruity feast

The best way to get a new backyard fruit feeder noticed is to have a hungry bird already picking at its offerings. Luckily for birders, orioles have that role covered. Once they arrive from their wintering grounds and locate a consistent buffet of halved oranges, the vivid birds become late-spring feeder regulars. Their presence may attract colorful tanagers and rose-breasted or black-headed grosbeaks, which return from the tropics about the same time as orioles. “We offer fresh oranges when fruit-eaters such as orioles are most likely to visit—the spring and summer months,” says Emma Greig, who keeps an eye on the feeders at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology at Sapsucker Woods. She also manages all aspects of Project FeederWatch, the lab’s popular winter-long feeder survey with thousands of participants. Like any backyard…

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the feed

UTILIZE A TRAY FEEDER To get started, serve a small portion of your fruit of choice on a tray feeder to attract birds’ attention. The open feeder helps birds spot the treats more quickly. Just like other food sources, place it next to some cover. Having trees, bushes, tall grass or other shelter nearby helps birds feel safer when approaching a new feeder. “Early spring is a busy time in Texas, so I offer a simple, sweet mix of treats like sliced apples and raisins mixed with birdseed.” Pat Northington AUSTIN, TEXAS DRIED OR FRESH FRUIT Raisins and cranberries are fine, budget-friendly options. Robins eat raisins as is. Rehydrate raisins to feed bluebirds. With cranberries, use dried fruit. Birds prefer it over the fresh berries.…

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easy-care perennials

1 Coral bells HEUCHERA ZONES 3 TO 9 Coral bells’ tall, airy flower clusters tower elegantly above mounds of evergreen foliage that comes in a rainbow of colors. This plant works especially well in borders and containers, and it thrives in sun or shade. Why we love it: It’s easy to increase hummingbird traffic in the backyard and extend the blooming season by clipping off spent stems to encourage new growth. 2 Aster ASTER OR SYMPHYOTRICHUM ZONES 3 TO 8 With more than 250 varieties, you’re bound to find a cultivar that’s suited to your space. The extensive range of sizes and colors available makes this plant one of the most popular late-season bloomers. Why we love it: From miniature alpine plants to giants that tower up to 6 feet, asters brighten any fall landscape, especially when…