HabiChat: Spring 2018

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Vol. 22, No. 3 | Spring 2018

Spring has finally sprung! After a seemingly endless winter, I am excited to welcome warmer temperatures, spring flowers and wildlife into my backyard. This issue includes information on spring visitors like flower flies—a pollinator and a predator—as well as a beautiful native groundcover, moss phlox.

In addition, spring is a time for migration, which can be hazardous for many birds. Check out our article on bird-safe windows for tips on how to make your home more bird-friendly as well as some recommendations by guest author, Clare Walker, on plants that help pollinators but often deter deer.

If there is a particular topic that you would like to include, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Happy Habitats!

Kerry Wixted

photo of mark from bird hitting window

Bird Safe Windows
BAM! Have you ever had a bird hit one of your windows? Nearly a billion birds collide with windows each year, half of which happen with home windows. 

Unfortunately, the majority of birds die as a result of their injuries; even those that may be able to fly away often sustain life-threatening injuries. 

The good news is that window collisions are easy to reduce at many houses.

Photo of deer in garden

Deer Resistant Plants for Pollinators
In sections of Maryland, high concentrations of white-tailed deer have created a demand for "deer proof" plants. In reality, though, there is no such thing. Deer may nibble on anything - especially when hungry - but they do dislike aromatics, prickly leaves and thorns. 

A better alternative to planting invasive species is to look for Maryland native plants that are deer resistant.

photo of yellow flies on flower

Flower Flies
It’s a bee! No, it’s a fly! Have you ever seen a fly masquerading as a bee in the garden? If so, then you may have encountered a flower or syrphid fly. 

More than 130 species of flower flies are found in Maryland, and these animals serve both as important pollinators as well as predators in the garden.

Photo of moss phlox

Moss Phlox
Are you in need of a good, native groundcover? Moss phlox (Phlox subulata) is a creeping groundcover in the Phlox family (Polemoniaceae). 

This herbaceous perennial grows up to 9 inches tall and forms mats across the ground. It prefers full sun, but it can grow in sandy, rocky or loamy soil.

For more springtime tips and tricks, check out the HabiChat archives.

Wild Acres is a voluntary program that encourages residents to create backyard wildlife habitat. In addition to this seasonal newsletter, it offers fact sheets on how landowners can enhance their habitat for wildlife.

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