Water Conservation in the Yard

Written by Silvianne Barthe

It is that time of year again. The water companies are sending us notices to reduce watering in our gardens.

What are you doing to help conserve this precious commodity?

Often we don't appreciate something until it's gone! That can really be true with water. Taken for granted when it is plentiful, its importance is truly appreciated inrepparttar garden once it becomes scarce. If you find yourself in a drought, there are some things you can do to help conserve water and makerepparttar 139217 best use of what you have available.

If you have not already mulched your plants, do it! Mulch will help limitrepparttar 139218 amount of water that evaporates fromrepparttar 139219 soil. While organic mulches such as grass clippings or wood chips are preferable since they add organic matter torepparttar 139220 soil, plastic mulches are useful in limiting evaporation fromrepparttar 139221 soil. They can be laid between rows inrepparttar 139222 vegetable garden and will help limit moisture loss; however, they also will limit infiltration.

Place your water where it will dorepparttar 139223 most good. Sprinklers are very inefficient for getting water torepparttar 139224 roots of your plants. Much ofrepparttar 139225 water lands onrepparttar 139226 leaves and evaporates before reachingrepparttar 139227 ground. A slow gentle watering atrepparttar 139228 base ofrepparttar 139229 plants, allowingrepparttar 139230 water to soak intorepparttar 139231 soil, will be most efficient.

Attracting and Caring for Hummingbirds

Written by Johann Erickson

The oldest historical mention of hummingbirds likely dates back torepparttar Taino Native Americans, who were reportedlyrepparttar 139201 first humans to greet Columbus when he landed in America. The Taino believe that hummingbirds arerepparttar 139202 spreaders of life on Earth, and their warriors were known as Colibir, or Hummingbird warriors, because they are a peaceful bird that will defend their territory withrepparttar 139203 heart of an eagle.

How long they have been in America is unknown, but they have delighted bird watchers for many years, with their quick dashes intorepparttar 139204 garden, andrepparttar 139205 shine ofrepparttar 139206 sun on brilliant feathers. While there actually are duller colored birds,repparttar 139207 ruby-throated hummingbird isrepparttar 139208 most commonly recognized for its iridescent feathering, and dazzlig ruby-red throat. The color though, is not all it seems.

Hummingbirds get their unusual coloring fromrepparttar 139209 fact that not all feathers are pigmented, or colored. Inrepparttar 139210 duller colors, includingrepparttar 139211 Rufous Hummingbird,repparttar 139212 brown hue is actual pigment inrepparttar 139213 feather structure. Inrepparttar 139214 ruby-throated variety, light refracting throughrepparttar 139215 feather segments, breaking it up much like a prism would. Only certain levels of color will be seen byrepparttar 139216 human eye, and that color will change with every movement ofrepparttar 139217 feather, or angle ofrepparttar 139218 light striking it.

This is one ofrepparttar 139219 features that makes them so charming to watch as they flit around a garden or feeder. Hummingbirds are very fast, traveling at an average 25 miles per hour, with wingbeats of anywhere from 10-15 per second inrepparttar 139220 Giant Hummingbird, up to 80 per minute byrepparttar 139221 Amethyst Woodstar. The ruby-throated hummer falls intorepparttar 139222 middle range, at about 53 beats per second.

To sustain such rapid and prolonged activity,repparttar 139223 hummingbird’s heart must beat accordingly. For birds that are hot, or sleepy, that can be as low as 50-180 beats per minute, but a heart rate of an amazing 1360 beat per minute has been recorded in a Blue-Throated Hummingbird.

All this activity requires a humming bird to eat almost continually, to fuelrepparttar 139224 activity that will maintain its 105-109F body heat. That means dining as many as 15 times an hour, on high-energy food. In volume, they consume up to eight times their body weight a day. But reducerepparttar 139225 nectar to a solid by eliminatingrepparttar 139226 water, and it would amount to their own bodyweight.

A hummingbird can starve to death in as little as two hours, if still active. That makes rescue of birds trapped in garages or other enclosed areas, imperative within a short time. At night, their “thermal generators” shut down as they rest, and allow their body temperature to drop, so that less energy is used up while they sleep.

If you enjoy watching these delightful little birds, and are also an enthusiastic gardener, why not plant clumps of flowers or bushes, to bring them into your yard? Hummingbirds are creatures of habit, and will develop their own paths to food, checking them frequently and on a daily basis. Once they find out you have goodies, they’ll return over and over. Other hummers will follow, and you may then get to see hummingbird behavior at its worst, as they dive at each other to protect their food sources.

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