Written by Tammy Clayton

Copyright © 2005 Tammy Clayton

This brightly colored bird has always been a romantic symbol for their unusual coloring as well as their gentle loving nature. In Victorian times, they were a common artful addition to romantic floral artwork on greeting cards and calling cards. Today, it is a rare thing to see a Bluebird flitting about.

The Bluebird is a native American. When European colonists originally settled this land, they had been here for thousands of years. It is believed that whenrepparttar virgin forest onrepparttar 113334 east coast was inrepparttar 113335 first stages of being cleared,repparttar 113336 Bluebird flourished and became more abundant. Its original adversaryrepparttar 113337 Wren also became more plentiful right along with them though. The Wren is far more aggressive thatrepparttar 113338 Bluebird and searches for a very similar type of abode. So as both species multiplied,repparttar 113339 wrens made it hard forrepparttar 113340 Bluebird to make a home unless it faced due east.

Two events in history causedrepparttar 113341 dwindling of our brilliant blue native’s numbers. The ships that carriedrepparttar 113342 influx of human immigrants to our shores in 1851 and 1890 also gave passage to two feathered immigrants from Europe;repparttar 113343 House Sparrow andrepparttar 113344 Starling. Both of these newcomers were adapted torepparttar 113345 crowded industrial environments of urban and suburban Germany and England. The Sparrow already was known to have spread on that continent. Being resourceful, they quickly adapted to living in rural farmland. Both Sparrows and Starlings like a roof over their head. The new squatters aggressively put pressure onrepparttar 113346 gentle Bluebirds and took over their nests.

With so many people inhabitingrepparttar 113347 United States today, it is little wonder we see very little ofrepparttar 113348 country loving Bluebird. There is a growing interest inrepparttar 113349 creation of housing for this beloved species beyondrepparttar 113350 bird-watching enthusiasts. The Bluebird house is becoming a popular addition to backyards, school property lines and farms again.

Bluebird houses were first put up inrepparttar 113351 late 1800’s by bird lovers trying to accommodate their need for housing afterrepparttar 113352 Sparrows and Starlings took overrepparttar 113353 easily accessible barn rafters, nooks in houses, hollow trees and fence posts across America. Natural nesting sites have also grown more scarce as farmers now manicure their orchards, and wooden fence posts have fallen out of use in exchange for metal ones. Byrepparttar 113354 1930’s bird watchers were already wondering what happened to all those sweet singing beauties of days not so long gone by.

The first studies of Bluebird nesting habits were conducted in 1919 in Minnesota. Successful nest sites were measured forrepparttar 113355 size ofrepparttar 113356 holes, as well as forrepparttar 113357 exact location andrepparttar 113358 role of predators and competitors. The tests were done in open pastures, orchards and suburban back yards. Concluding that only with massive saturations of scientifically designed predator-competitor proof nesting boxes couldrepparttar 113359 decline ofrepparttar 113360 Bluebird be stopped. So they established and monitored Bluebird trails with tens to hundreds of nesting boxes strung out acrossrepparttar 113361 land. The monitors set up communication networks in newspapers, magazines andrepparttar 113362 mail. Wherever there were Bluebird trail sponsors, Bluebirds began to reappear for people to enjoy. It is quite a thrill to see one, especially when one understandsrepparttar 113363 odds against their gentle souls.

It needn’t be inevitable that Bluebirds, oncerepparttar 113364 most common thing in a yard, continue to loose ground against these alien intruders. Their population has dwindled and become so low, they are almost like a myth. Our Eastern Bluebird has sufferedrepparttar 113365 most serious in loss. Amateurs and bird lovers alike can accomplishrepparttar 113366 hob in restoringrepparttar 113367 numbers of our native azure friends. The trails already in existence acrossrepparttar 113368 UDA and Canada form a network of hope acrossrepparttar 113369 continent. Armies of trail tenders and box erectors will bring more and more of them back to your yards asrepparttar 113370 number of boxes grows greater.

Found only in North America, these sweet noted dwellers of fence posts have a tender voice to go along with their gentle nature. No other species of bird has been used as much asrepparttar 113371 Bluebird in poetry and songs as a symbol of love, hope and happiness. The early settlers looked upon this bird asrepparttar 113372 sign that spring had arrived, and fondly called itrepparttar 113373 Blue Robin.

In Michigan, as allrepparttar 113374 other states east ofrepparttar 113375 Rocky Mountains, we haverepparttar 113376 Eastern Bluebird. There are only two others—Western and Mountain. Their diet is mainly insects, most of which are yard and garden pests. Inrepparttar 113377 spring they loverepparttar 113378 cutworms that ruin crops and garden plants. Later inrepparttar 113379 summer through fall they dine on huge quantities of grasshoppers and wild berries. It is said that their courtship is beautiful and amazing, but it is a rare sight to behold.

Top 5 Secrets to Keeping Your Carnivorous Plants Alive, Healthy and Beautiful

Written by Jacob Farin

SECRET #1: Know thy plant.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but one that first-time growers overlook. There are many types of carnivorous plants occurring on every continent inrepparttar world, except Antarctica.

If you were to go on a world-wide expedition looking for as many types of carnivorous plants you can possibly find, you will discover carnivorous plants growing in Japan, China, Australia, India, South Africa, Spain, France, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Canada andrepparttar 113333 United States.

If you were to explorerepparttar 113334 United States alone, you will find carnivorous plants in nearly all ofrepparttar 113335 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska.

So,repparttar 113336 first secret in keeping your carnivorous plants alive, healthy and beautiful is to know what type of carnivorous plant you have. With thousands of species of carnivorous plants inrepparttar 113337 world, each type requires their own care.

Hopefully, your plant came with a tag that identifies its species. If not, visit Sarracenia Northwest for a list of carnivorous plants that are commonly grown in cultivation.

SECRET #2: Brighten their days with full sun.

Once you know what type of carnivorous plants you have, just duplicate their natural surroundings. This means giving your plantsrepparttar 113338 type of sun exposure and water they might experience inrepparttar 113339 wild.

Lets start with sun. It often surprises many people to find out thatrepparttar 113340 vast majority of carnivorous plants enjoy full sun. You see, carnivorous plants grow in bogs, which are open fields of wetlands.

Most people confuse bogs with marshes. Marshes typically are closer torepparttar 113341 ocean and contain slightly salted water. Marshes are also overgrown with trees, making them shady.

Bogs, onrepparttar 113342 other hand, contain fresh water, usually bubbling up from an underground spring, and can be found on mountaintops and other places far away fromrepparttar 113343 ocean. If you see a bog in nature, you will notice that there are no trees in it. So, all plants growing in a bog are exposed to full sun.

This is true for Venus Flytraps, North American Pitcher Plants and nearly all Sundews. As a result, these plants do best growing in 6-8 hours of direct sunlight during their growing season. Four hours of direct sunlight are definitelyrepparttar 113344 absolute minimum. Anything less than that will cause your plants to struggle for survival.

The only types of carnivorous plants that are not exposed to full sun inrepparttar 113345 wild are Asian Pitcher Plants, Butterworts and some species of Sundews. These plants prefer bright indirect light.

Now you know what types of carnivorous plants you have, give itrepparttar 113346 proper sunlight. With US native plants, grow them outside duringrepparttar 113347 growing season (spring through fall). With Asian Pitcher Plants and Butterworts, grow them in a window that receives bright indirect light.

If you do not have enough natural light, use 20-40W fluorescent light tubes or fluorescent compact bulbs that are equivalent to 100W. Keeprepparttar 113348 light source about 8 inches aboverepparttar 113349 plant, and keep it on for 12-14 hours per day.

Avoid using incandescent bulbs because it produces too much heat andrepparttar 113350 wrong type of light.

Secret #3: Soak their feet.

After giving your carnivorous plantsrepparttar 113351 right amount of light (full sun, partial sun or indirect light), now you need to make sure it getsrepparttar 113352 right amount of water.

Nearly all carnivorous plants grow in bogs, which are constantly wet. So, if you want to duplicate what they experience out in nature, you need to provide constantly wet soil.

Some people prefer to simply water their plants every day. Personally, I find this to be a real drag, especially when I have so many other things to do, like watch a good DVD or scratch my dog’s belly.

The easiest way to make surerepparttar 113353 soil is constantly wet is to keep your plant in a bit of standing water. Use a tray, bowl, saucer or any container that holds water. Fillrepparttar 113354 container with water and place your plant right in. Allowrepparttar 113355 water to go half way uprepparttar 113356 pot. Just make sure you do not drownrepparttar 113357 crown or base ofrepparttar 113358 plant. Remember, they are bog plants, not water plants (big difference!).

But, before your plants start soaking their little feet, makerepparttar 113359 water is relatively pure. It does not need to be blessed by a Tibetan monk, but it should at least have low levels of minerals (less than 100 parts per million). Check with your local aquarium supply store for water hardness kits.

You can use distilled water or rainwater, but this is feasible only if you have only a few carnivorous plants. If you are like me, you might have several thousand.

In that case, local tap water will do just fine. Ifrepparttar 113360 water has a lot of naturally occurring minerals or additives to makerepparttar 113361 water soft, consider hooking your hose up to a reverse-osmosis unit. Check your local hardware store for this type of filter.

Avoid using simple charcoal-filtration units. Although they are great in removing chlorine and other not-so-tasty chemicals, they are inadequate in removing minerals.

One more thing: some carnivorous plants prefer not to have their feet dunked in water. This is true with Asian Pitcher Plants. They prefer to have moist soil rather than wet soil. With these plants, water them once or twice weekly.

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