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Birds and Blooms ExtraBirds and Blooms Extra

Birds and Blooms Extra September 2018

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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from the editor

I have at least three bird feeders up at any given time, plus plenty of mature trees, midsize shrubs and ground-level plants in my backyard. But a suggestion in this issue reminded me that my urban habitat is missing one important thing: a birdbath. In the story “13 Ways to Be a Bird’s Best Friend,” Kathy Eppers of Aledo, Texas, points out that any one of the essentials—food, water and shelter—will attract your favorite fliers, but the most wildlife-friendly landscapes have all three. Find more tried-and-true tips from your fellow readers on page 40. Following their sage advice is guaranteed to give your backyard bird population a little boost. A welcoming garden also provides you with more opportunities to photograph all of the creatures that stop by. For some real inspiration, turn…

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this month

FOLLOW US For your daily dose of nature, go to instagram.com/ birdsblooms and click “follow,” or search #birdsandblooms. Be Inspired Zeke insisted that his grandma Sherry Stangil, of Springtown, Pennsyvlania, write “Bug Hotel” on their homemade hotel so that the bugs know it’s for them. Read Settle in with a print collection of entertaining and informative stories from BirdNote, the popular public radio show. Learn more: birdnote.org ASK OUR EXPERTS Get your toughest backyard questions answered by our pros. Submit yours at birdsandblooms.com/submit and the answer might appear in the magazine! SHARE What’s your best bird feeding tip? birdsandblooms.com/submit…

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create a buzz

Cosmos Cosmos species, annual All growing season long, bees and butterflies are drawn to cosmos flowers, which are nectar-filled, colorful and pinwheel-shaped. Grow single or double cultivars of this easygoing bloomer, and they will produce flowers and seeds for your feathered friends from summer through late fall. Attracts: Light needs: Full sun. Size: 1 to 6 feet tall. Grown for: Big colorful blooms. Foliage: Feathery leaves. Cultivars to try: Psyche White has jagged semi-double blooms that last all summer. Sea Shells features multi-colored flowers with petals shaped like tubes. Lemonade offers light yellow petals with white centers. BEE BENEFITS For the ultimate pollinator-friendly garden, grow bee balm, coneflower, rudbeckia and calamintha among your cosmos.…

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squirrel-proof strategies

Most backyard birders are familiar with this scenario. You select the perfect bird feeder, fill it with an ideal blend of seeds and hang it with care. When you come back later, instead of seeing your favorite birds stopping for a snack, you spot two squirrels stealing from your feeders! It’s enough to drive anyone nutty. But before you blow a gasket, here are some humane solutions to combat your squirrel problem. 1. Manage Your Mindset Many of us are quick to anger at the sight of squirrels scaring away birds, but it’s helpful to see things from a different angle. “Framing it as a conflict or war is just going to escalate rather than address the problem,” says John Griffin, director of urban wildlife at the Humane Society of the United…

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the feed

STUFF WE LOVE The Sky Cafe feeder from Duncraft features a baffle that does double duty. Squirrels can’t reach around it to steal seeds, and birds are protected from rain and snow while they perch under the baffle. Head over to duncraft.com to see more squirrel-proof feeders like this one. “I often find oak saplings from squirrels burying acorns around my sister’s home. So I reforest—dig them out and transplant them on my property.”Shellee Morey CARSONVILLE, MICHIGAN SUPER SQUIRRELS These bushy-tailed creatures can fall 100 feet without serious injury and are faster than you might think—at top speed, they can run 20 mph. Many gray squirrels are able to jump 8 feet high from a stationary, sitting position!…

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four-season shrubs

1 Oakleaf hydrangea HYDRANGEA QUERCIFOLIA, ZONES 5 TO 9 Oakleaf hydrangea gets its name from unique oaklike leaves, which set it apart from other hydrangeas and deliver some real color in fall. A carefree shrub that reaches 6 feet tall, in summer it boasts large cone-shaped flowers. Long-lasting blooms look lovely even as they fade and also make good cut flowers. Why we love it: Large white blooms turn purplish pink, plus purple-red fall foliage. 2 Variegated redtwig dogwood CORNUS ALBA ‘ARGENTEOMARGINATA’, ZONES 3 TO 7 There’s a lot to love about dogwood, especially the variegated types. Besides beautiful foliage, this one offers bird-pleasing berries, exceptional fall color and striking red stems in the winter. Redtwigs grow 6 to 8 feet tall. Remove older stems periodically to keep color strong with new growth. Why we love it:…