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Birds & BloomsBirds & Blooms

Birds & Blooms

December/January 2020

Birds & Blooms is the #1 bird and garden magazine in North America with more than 1 million subscribers. We pride ourselves in celebrating the “beauty in your own backyard” with a mix of expert advice and personal stories from our family of readers. Our magazine covers a wide range of topics such as attracting hummingbirds, building birdhouses, gardening for butterflies, feeding birds for less, growing veggies, tales of readers’ birding experiences, plus a whole lot more.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Trusted Media Brands Inc.
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7 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

1 min.
from the editor

I love waking upto a winter wonderland of snow-covered trees and watching fluffy, puffed-up cardinals and downy woodpeckers visit my feeders. Although they’re well-equipped to handle frigid weather, birds sure appreciate an easy meal. Turn to “Feeding Cheat Sheet” on page 20 for a handy chart that shows you which foods common backyard birds love most. Tear it out and use it all year! Also in this issue, get to know the northern cardinal, our adorable cover star, in “Cardinal Rules” on page 10. Discover how to create a haven for these colorful winter guests. And for those who live in warmer climates, we have a different kind of snowbird for you. In “Snow Birds” on page 38, read about six birds that have “snow” in their name. You’ll find them sporting…

1 min.
this month

MAKE Lyn Cosby of Atlanta, Georgia, makes bird ornaments for family and friends. She finds 100% lambswool or merino wool sweaters at thrift stores or yard sales and washes them several times in very hot water, turning them into felt. Next she sketches patterns, cuts pieces from the fabric and sews them with embroidery floss in matching colors. “It’s a labor of love!” she says. GIVE Cross every nature lover off your gift list! Buy one Birds & Blooms subscription online at birdsandblooms.com/givetoday and give a second gift for free! Support A percentage of every chocolate puffin sale goes to the National Audubon Society’s Project Puffin. Give them as gifts! This 3D chocolate bird is $15 at bixbyco.com.…

1 min.
new year, new bloom

Winter Heath Erica carnea, Zones 5 to 7 Just as the new year dawns, this winter stunner bursts into bloom, even when coated in a dusting of snow. Low-growing, it eventually forms a thick ground cover. Native to the Alps, it does best in climates with cooler summers, but grows well in warmer places with afternoon shade. Attracts: Light needs: Full sun. Size: About 1 foot tall and wide. Grown for: Early blooming and showy winter interest. Foliage: Evergreen needles about ¼ inch long. Cultivars to try: December Red has pink flowers that fade to purple. Or, if pink’s not your thing, plant Springwood White for its silvery blooms. WILDLIFE BENEFITS Songbirds hide in the cover, but the real attraction is for butterflies. Pollinators, especially ones that emerge early, rely on the flowers, which stick around until early spring.…

2 min.
cardinal rules

It’s hard to miss a male cardinal and his bold red feathers, black face mask and spiked crest. Although the female is more subdued, she is no less adored. Either is a go-to critter for holiday cards, in snowy scenes that take on vibrancy thanks to the dash of red. Despite being fairly common, the birds can be a bit elusive. They often come to feeders as the sun is setting, when their red feathers are muted under low light conditions. Cardinals like to eat from trays or platforms, preferring sunflower and safflower seeds and often roasted, unsalted peanuts. Seeds and nuts are no match for their hefty pink beaks. Cracked corn is worth setting out, too. “I’ll sprinkle seeds directly on the ground or the sidewalk to give cardinals easy access…

4 min.
bird-approved berries

1 Winterberry ILEX VERTICILLATA, ZONES 3 TO 9 A close relative of the Christmas favorite, holly, this hardy shrub tolerates almost anything nature throws at it. It grows best in moist, acidic soils and easily handles winter cold. To get berries, plant male and female types. Why we love it: Unlike other holly, winterberry’s leaves fall away during winter, exposing its red berries and creating a perfect setting for photos. 2 Mountain ash SORBUS SPP., ZONES 2 TO 7 Mountain ash is a fall beauty. Its leaves turn beautiful shades of yellow and red, and its berries red-orange. This small, low-maintenance tree reaches 10 to 25 feet tall and prefers acidic, sandy, moist soil. Why we love it: These oval-shaped trees produce white flowers in spring that are attractive to butterflies and bees along with fruit-loving birds. 3…

2 min.
keep the holiday alive

Nothing is more festive than a locally grown, freshly cut Christmas tree filling your home with smells of forest and holiday. But by the end of December or early January, it’s more eyesore than centerpiece, littering your carpet with dead needles. This year, instead of kicking the tree to the curb as everyone else does, repurpose it in your yard—and watch as birds, insects and perennials reap the winter benefits. INSULATE PERENNIALS Cut or saw off branches from the tree and layer them flat over your perennial beds as winter mulch. Even if snow already blankets the ground, the branches add an extra layer of protection from fluctuating winter temperatures, says Vijai Pandian, a horticulture specialist with the Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) extension. Use only local trees, as the greens from other areas…