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.

Out My Backdoor: What's the Best Bluebird Box Design?

By Terry W. Johnson

We Americans don’t ever seem satisfied. Take bluebird boxes, for example. While the basic design has remained relatively unchanged for years, we are constantly seeking the perfect bluebird box.

Although such a structure may be a pipe dream, wildlife biologists are inching closer to that goal. Let’s take peek at some of the innovations researchers have come up with.

Out My Backdoor: Cloudless Sulphurs: Fall's Most Overlooked Migrant

By Terry W. Johnson

By the time autumn officially arrives, the fall migration of many migratory birds such as warblers, flycatchers and vireos has passed us by. However, during the ebb between when the last waves of early fall migrants bid Georgia ado and Jack Frost has transformed our countryside into a multihued tapestry of vibrant autumn colors, we have the opportunity to witness another migration: the migration of the cloudless sulphur butterfly.

Out My Backdoor: Beautyberry Blends Show, Sustenance for Backyard Wildlife

By Terry W. Johnson

In recent years, a native shrub named the American beautyberry has been making a transition from Georgia's woodlands to backyards throughout the state. It is remarkable that it has taken Georgians so long to realize that this native shrub is both an attractive addition to our home landscapes and a valuable wildlife food plant.