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Birds and Blooms Extra

Birds and Blooms Extra

November 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.

United States
Trusted Media Brands Inc.
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7 Issues


1 min.
from the editor

Binoculars have a permanent home in my living room—tucked away near the front windows but always within easy reach. Earlier this year they came in handy when a flycatcher, most likely a great crested, landed in one of the mature trees in our front yard. I quickly tossed binoculars to my husband, Jim, explaining that he should look for the notable head shape, with ruffled feathers at the crown. As he looked through the binoculars, I saw the bird leap off the branch and reach for an insect. “It got a bug!” Jim said. I loved how finding out the bird’s name and seeing that behavior just clicked for him. After watching the flycatcher, we talked about how fun and eye-opening it is to watch our yard birds with binoculars. Although it’s a…

1 min.
this month

SHARE Have you committed a funny garden blunder? Share the embarrassing tale that made you turn cardinal red at birdsandblooms.com/submit. Read Amazing Facts About Baby Animals is a perfect gift idea for the animal lover in your life—buy yourself a copy of this adorable and informative book, too! Make Gather pine cones and tree branches from your yard and arrange them in a jar. Add a colorful ribbon for extra flair and to match your decor. GET AWAY Head south for Holiday with the Cranes in Galveston, Texas, Dec. 14-15. This island experience offers attendees an opportunity to watch and celebrate sandhill cranes. COUNT BIRDS A new Project FeederWatch season kicks off Nov. 9. feederwatch.org…

1 min.
snow white

Snowberry SYMPHORICARPOS ALBUS , Zones 3 to 7 A native deciduous shrub, snowberry produces clusters of 1/2-inch pale green berries that transform to white by early fall. Towhees, thrushes, robins and waxwings eat the white fruits, but sometimes birds take a pass, leaving the berries as winter interest. Attracts: Light needs: Full sun to part shade. Size: 3 to 6 feet high and wide. Grown for: Showy, bell-shaped pink flower clusters that attract hummingbirds. Foliage: Simple, oblong 2-inch green leaves. Benefits: Snowberry is a host plant for the vashti sphinx moth caterpillar. It grows well as a border plant or in a shade garden.…

2 min.
tiny acrobats

Blaring sharp, tin-hornlike calls no matter the weather, busy red-breasted nuthatches add life to even the chilliest days. Frequent visitors at feeders, the incredibly active 41/2-inch-long birds are quite at home there, snatching suet, peanuts, mealworms and other goodies with their thin bills. Male red-breasted nuthatches boast a rusty breast, blue-gray wings, black cap, white eyebrow, black eye line and white throat. Females have a lighter red breast and gray cap. Adept climbers, they glide up and down trunks and branches in search of beetles, spiders, ants and other insects in warm months. The birds seem almost tame, as they’re more intent on eating than reacting to your presence. Which offers the opportunity to observe their interesting behaviors, says Nancy Castillo, author of the Zen Birdfeeder blog and owner of a Wild Birds…

1 min.
the feed

FOUR OF A KIND Red-breasted, pygmy, white-breasted and brown-headed nuthatches live in North America. Their names offer helpful hints for identification. WHAT’S IN A NAME? The word nuthatch likely comes from a Middle English phrase meaning “nut hacker.” “Red-breasted nuthatches like eating straight from my garden! I plant sunflowers for them, since they enjoy the seeds.”Sue Gronholz BEAVER DAM, WISCONSIN STICKY TRICKS Uniquely skilled and crafty, red-breasted nuthatches use flakes of bark to smear sticky pine and spruce resin at nest hole entrances, a tactic that may deter predators.…

5 min.
grow a bird buffet

1 Purple Majesty millet PENNISETUM GLAUCUM, ANNUAL Imagine a corn plant wearing a majestic deep purple robe. That’s a great description of this 2003 All-America Selections winner (a well-deserved award!). Enjoy its graceful 4- to 5-foot stature all summer. Come fall, cut cattail-like seedpods for dried floral arrangements or leave them for the birds to snack on in winter. Why we love it: It’s easy to grow, drought tolerant and a focal piece alone or next to companions with contrasting foliage. 2 Cosmos COSMOS BIPINNATUS , ANNUAL This bright and classic garden annual is a perfect addition to troublesome bare patches in perennial beds. Simply spread some seed and let cosmos come back year after year—it easily self-seeds without becoming a pest. Some cultivars grow 2 to 4 feet, and feature white, pink, lavender and magenta…