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Birds & BloomsBirds & Blooms

Birds & Blooms October/November 2019

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.

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7 Números


1 min.
from the editor

Owls hoot and holler year-round throughout North America, but their mysterious and secretive personalities, bright eyes and camouflaged plumages always make us think of fall. That’s why this issue is chock-full of impressive owl facts and the most adorable photos—ahem, quickly flip to the back cover! Learn all about the distinguishing characteristics of the barn owl, like how its white heart-shaped face helps it hunt, in “Nocturnal Hunters” on page 20. And in “Hooo’s Hiding in Your Backyard” on page 30, meet the stealthy owls that might already be lurking within your neighborhood. Find out which is the smallest yet fiercest of the bunch, and learn the sounds they make so you can identify them as they hoot from the shadows. I have many owl memories, but a favorite is from a quick…

1 min.
this month

GET AWAY Travel to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico for Festival of the Cranes, Nov. 20-23. It’s a sandhill crane migration hot spot. Read QueenSpotting by Hilary Kearney offers in-depth information about queen bees and includes 48 challenging photos that give you a chance to find her within the hive. Make It Hide a vase full of colorful autumn blooms in your carved pumpkin. Arrange flowers to cover the rim of the vase. GO ON AN OWL PROWL Look for a nature center near you that hosts owl prowls—nighttime hikes to look and listen for owls. Or grab your best birding pals and explore a local park or trail. EXERCISE Just one hour of raking and bagging leaves burns 260 calories.…

1 min.
boost fall color

Russian Sage Perovskia atriplicifolia, Zones 5 to 9 This perennial packs oodles of color, with lavender and blue blooms that appear in July and thrive into October. The lacy leaves sprout off woody stems and offer an aromatic scent. It’s deer- and rabbit-resistant; just plant it in a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Attracts: Light needs: Full sun. Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and nearly as wide. Grown for: Low-maintenance color in dry landscapes. Foliage: Gray-green leaves. Cultivars to try: Blue Jean Baby features blue tones and shorter stalks, or enjoy Denim’n Lace’s bright, purple-blue flowers for color well into autumn. BIRD BENEFITS Migrating hummingbirds need nectar sources to fuel their journeys south. Encourage them to stop by and fill up with this late-season bloomer.…

3 min.
northern nomads

Imagine a songbird as hardy as a polar bear but as tiny as a pine siskin. The common redpoll is that bird. A member of the finch family, this tough little creature thrives in the harshest and coldest environments. The farther south you are, the less likely you are to see a redpoll. Even in the north, they move in unpredictable ways within their range, following food sources. A flock might clean out a feeder in a day during some winters…or it might not show up at all. “Common redpolls stay in the northern latitudes if food is readily available,” explains Emma Greig, a program leader for Project Feederwatch, which is organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “They’re fun to watch because they constantly sort out dominance.” These hungry birds usually snack on…

4 min.
precious metals

1 Gold Zebra foamy bells HEUCHERELLA, ZONES 4 TO 9 Gold Zebra’s yellow and green leaves are accented with brilliant gold and blood-red centers. When watered regularly, this stunner tolerates heat and humidity as it grows up to 8 inches tall and wide. It thrives in full shade to part sun and is often used in containers or as an edging plant. Why we love it: This deer-resistant wonder has showy white flowers that attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other helpful pollinators. 2 Campfire coleus PLECTRANTHUS SCUTELLARIODES, ANNUAL Set your beds ablaze with the bright orange foliage of Campfire. This big, bold plant tolerates both part shade and full sun. Reaching about 28 inches tall and nearly as wide, it’s an evergreen perennial that won’t survive frost, so most gardeners grow it as an annual. Why we…

1 min.
edibles to grow indoors

TOMATOES “They typically produce well with about 14 to 16 hours of light,” Leslie Halleck says. Tomatoes thrive in temperatures between 70 and 78 degrees. If space is an issue, grow compact dwarf varieties like Lizzano, Tiny Tim or Micro Tom, all of which are ideal for pots. PEPPERS Put peppers, particularly hot peppers, in planters to grow indoors. Give them 14 to 16 hours of light, and temperatures around 70 to 80 degrees. Plant spicy habanero, jalapeno or Red Ember, or try sweet Cupid peppers. LEMONS Look for a spot in your house that offers lemons bright light and cooler temperatures. “Lemons bloom year-round, so you can have different stages of ripeness at the same time,” says Steven Biggs, author of Grow Lemons Where You Think You Can’t. “Plus, they have a fantastic fragrance…