Out My Backdoor: Persimmon: the Forgotten Wildlife Food Plant

Persimmons (Terry W. Johnson)

By Terry W. Johnson

One of my favorite wildlife food plants is the common persimmon, a plant that I haven't showered with much attention. In fact, the only thing I have done for this small tree in more than three decades is save it from the bulldozer when my wife and I built our home. In spite of this lack of tender loving care, it is a valuable addition to my home landscape.

Out My Backdoor: A Ride Down Memory Lane

By Terry W. Johnson

Recently I took a ride down memory lane. It is a journey I take quite often from spring through fall. When I embark on these trips I don't venture out on a busy highway or even a dusty country road. They are trips taken without cranking up my car or old faded red pickup truck. The reason for this is simple: These cherished treks never extend beyond the confines of my yard.

Out My Backdoor: Ironweed, a Native Beauty

By Terry W. Johnson

Now that September is here, it won't be long before the Georgia countryside is ablaze with fall foliage. While it is true that this collage of reds, purples and yellows is the main act during Mother Nature's autumn extravaganza, it is preceded by an opening act that is also quite spectacular in its own right.

This is the floral show put on by our native fall wildflowers. While everyone is familiar with one of the stars of this show, the goldenrod, a number of other flowers are also stunning. One of these native beauties is the ironweed.

Out My Backdoor: The Best Backyard Olympians

By Terry W. Johnson

The XXX Olympic Games have provided us with the opportunity to watch some of the greatest athletes in the world exhibit their remarkable athletic prowess. Watching these amazing men and women perform got me to wondering how their athletic feats compare to some of the animals that live just outside my backdoor.

Some of the most breathtaking events in the Olympics involve speed. The fastest Olympians can run as fast as about 28 mph. However, mere mortals like you and me rarely break the 18-mph barrier.

Out My Backdoor: The Great Crested Flycatcher

By Terry W. Johnson

Recently, on a cool April morning I stepped out onto my deck and was greeted with a chorus of bird songs. I heard the songs of some of the birds that are familiar year-round residents in my neighborhood –the northern cardinal, Carolina wren, chipping sparrow, northern mockingbird, pine warbler and eastern towhee. Then suddenly I heard a call that I had not heard this year. From the back of my 3-acre lot came a loud wheep. I knew immediately the great crested flycatcher was back.

Out My Backdoor: The First Day of Spring

By Terry W. Johnson

A quick glance at the calendar tells us that the official first day of spring is March 20. However, I have found that Georgians don’t always agree with that.

If you are a turkey hunter, for example, you might feel that spring commences on March 24, opening day of the 2012 turkey hunting season. However, if you are a dedicated backyard wildlife watcher, the big day can’t be found printed on a calendar or in a hunting regulation guide. This is because it varies from county to county and backyard to backyard.