sparrow at birdfeeder in Western New York

Put your birdfeeders back up; birds no longer getting sick

by Connie Oswald Stofko Although the cause of the mysterious illness that was killing songbirds this summer is still a mystery, birds are no longer getting sick. You can put your birdfeeders and bird baths back up, according to an updated statement on All About Birds from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. To try to prevent the spread of the illness, home gardeners were asked to take down birdfeeders and bird baths so birds wouldn’t congregate there. The cause of…

flower on common milkweed in Amherst NY

For butterflies & fragrance, choose common milkweed!

by Connie Oswald Stofko If you like butterflies, you probably have a kind of milkweed called butterfly flower (Asclepias tuberosa). You may even have swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Consider adding common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) to that mix. Not only is it a plant that monarchs love, it gets a pretty flower– and it’s fragrant! Dan Murak pointed out the fragrance this summer when I visited his landscape, which was shared on the Snyder-CleveHill Garden View. Another thing I like about common milkweed is that…

wild turkey

Help count wild turkeys in your area of Western New York

It’s not uncommon for Western New York gardeners to see turkeys trotting through a nearby field or even across their own lawn. How many wild turkeys are there this year? That’s what the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would like to know. And they’d like your help. During August, you can participate in a survey, recording how many adults and poults (young of the year) you see during normal travel. To make a report, click the “Summer…

robin died from mysterious disease

Mysterious bird deaths—stop feeding birds for now

by Connie Oswald Stofko Sick and dying songbirds have been showing up from Florida to Pennsylvania with strange symptoms: crusty eyes, blindness and headshaking. Birds may be found on the ground, disoriented and unresponsive.  This has been labeled a “mortality event”– where a large number of animals die within a short period of time due to what appears to be a similar cause. No affected birds have yet been reported in Western New York, but one was found on July…

cardinal in snow by Stofko

Where have the birds gone & what can gardeners do about it?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Have you noticed that you haven’t had as many birds at your bird feeder lately? The cause is simple: lack of snow. Something you probably didn’t notice is that the number of birds in North America is down by almost 3 billion birds since 1970. That’s a big concern, but there are things that gardeners can do to help. No birds at your feeder? A reader left this comment on a previous article: I live in…

bee covered in pollen on swamp milkweed

Support fireflies, plus 4 more reasons to get rid of some of your lawn

by Connie Oswald Stofko Attract fireflies, support pollinators, save yourself some work and have cleaner air. Those are some of the benefits you can reap when you get rid of some of your lawn. Support pollinators Pollinators include butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. To support them, turn a section of your lawn into a garden and include native plants. Native plants are better than non-natives in providing what native pollinators need: nectar, pollen and seeds, according to the New…

red admiral butterfly

Citizen scientists: Help with BioBlitz on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor

by Connie Oswald Stofko Be a citizen scientist and help the Pollinator Conservation Association with its BioBlitz through Dec. 1 on the Outer Harbor in Buffalo. Help to discover and identify flora and fauna there to improve conservation planning for future projects. The area includes Times Beach, Tifft Nature Preserve, the Union Ship Canal, and all of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation land and State Park land on the Outer Harbor. You can post pictures and observations on INaturalist.org….

Desmodium canadense or showy tick trefoil

What are the most popular categories of perennials?

by Connie Oswald Stofko What kinds of perennials are most popular with gardeners? Perennials that: Attract butterflies Attract hummingbirds Are native plants That’s from Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Rd., Williamsville. These categories are so popular that the staff at Mischler’s has grouped perennials from these categories together to make them easier for gardeners to find. There is still time to plant perennials, and many are blooming now! Let’s take a look at an example of one perennial…

monarch on milkweed

New signs on garden walks, plus why you should try native plants

If you are going to share your landscape on any of our local garden walks, you can pick up a free sign to let visitors know that you use native plants in your landscape. And if you don’t use native plants, read on to see why you might want to add a few. Signs for gardens with native plants Native plants will be highlighted on garden walks this summer in a project organized by Gardens Buffalo Niagara and the WNY…