By Jeff Osmundson
The National Audubon website press room has any number of stories for you to act on: reverse the rollback of the MBTA, the EPA’s assault on law, science and the public voice, even presidential politics; but let’s take a little more positive look closer to home.
Spring is right around the corner. In western Washington some think the gardening season starts in January, February for sure! Our winter birds have been amazing, and soon they will be joined by northward moving migrants, and then butterflies and dragonflies. If you live in a house, apartment or condo you perhaps have some areas that are green and growing already. On this sunny day, I will be headed out the back door as soon as I can.
So, what can we do today or this week to help locally? Well, here are a couple of ideas. We recently had the Xerces Society give a program on invertebrates in our area. Some of those are pollinators and they need help. You can find more information and some things that you can do to help on one of Xerces pages if you go here:
https://xerces.org/pollinator-resource-center/pnw. On that page there is a plant list for pollinator plants and other native plants for the Pacific Northwest region.
One of the things I thought I would try this year is a bug hotel. The National Audubon website has an article “At these hotels, bugs are the VIP”. You can find the article here: https://www.audubon.org/news/at-these-hotels-bugs-are-vip. Not only can we make a cool little garden display, but it can help local bugs, mason bees, other beneficial insects….and maybe even the birds that feed on them from time to time.
And lastly, I will not throw away all those limbs that come down in the storms. At least some of them will make a little pile or two on the edges of the garden. They are great places for our little bird friends to find safe haven from the hawks, places to hang out during the day, and some may even nest in them.
This is an easy article to write on a day that sun is streaming in the window; and I know that we have a few rainstorms left before spring arrives. Remember last year when the pandemic caused a run-on garden seed? I will be spending the rainy days looking at seeds, tubes for mason bees, native plant lists and propagation techniques. I hope you too can find some fun and interest while waiting for spring to spring.
Until next month, stay safe, wear a mask and wash your hands. When is the best time to go birdwatching? When you can!
Jeff Osmundson, President