Out My Backdoor: Black Bluebirds and Other Backyard Oddities

By Terry W. Johnson

I learned a long time ago that when it comes to wildlife, never say never. Over the years I have answered a lot of calls from folks reporting unusual things going on in their backyards. Now, I'm not talking about the behavior of their neighbors or little green men. What I am referring to are the sightings of rare animals or wildlife engaging in seemingly bizarre behavior.

Out My Backdoor: Invite the State Bird to Your Backyard

By Terry W. Johnson

I have a question for you: What is the state bird of Georgia? Is it: a) northern bobwhite; b) cardinal; c) northern mockingbird; or, d) brown thrasher?

Times up. If you guessed the brown thrasher, you are right. On March 20, 1970, after a 35-year campaign waged by The Garden Club of Georgia Inc., the Georgia General Assembly designated the brown thrasher as Georgia's official state bird.

Out My Backdoor: Location Critical for Bird Nesting Boxes

By Terry W. Johnson

In the real estate business it is often said the value of a property is determined by three things location, location, location. The same holds true for nesting boxes. Where you erect a bird house will determine what bird will nest there since all cavity-nesting birds prefer to nest in certain
habitats and will rarely nest anywhere else.

For that reason, try as we might, it is difficult to get an eastern bluebird to nest in a heavily wooded backyard or a screech owl to use a box in the middle of a large open yard.

Out My Backdoor: Georgia’s Second Hummingbird Season

By Terry W. Johnson

Now that November is here, more than likely you haven’t seen a ruby-throated hummingbird in your backyard for quite some time. My wife and I were fortunate to see one as late as Halloween eve. However, because we haven’t spotted one since, I guess it is safe to say that it, too, has departed on its epic flight to its wintering grounds across the Gulf of Mexico.

Out My Backdoor: Turning the Jack-O’-Lantern into Wildlife Treats

By Terry W. Johnson

Have you have noticed that pumpkins mean different things to different people? For a child, pumpkins represent jack-o’-lanterns and Halloween. Homeowners, on the other hand, consider bright orange pumpkins to be ideal fall yard decorations. To those among us who enjoy fine food, pumpkins conjure up thoughts of pumpkin pie, stew, soup and roast pumpkin, and other delicacies. Unfortunately, few think of pumpkins as a source of food for wildlife.