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.

Out My Backdoor: For Beauty and Wildlife Food, Dogwoods Deliver

By Terry W. Johnson

As I write this column, the leaves of the flowering dogwoods growing in my backyard are bathed with a blush of red. Soon, however, they will turn scarlet and, together with their already bright red berries, light up the autumn landscape. If the flowering dogwood's breathtaking beauty is not enough to endear this small native tree to us, perhaps the fact that it is also one of our most valuable wildlife food plants will.

Out My Backdoor: Feed Birds With Flowers in Fall

By Terry W. Johnson

The stress of the long, hot summer is beginning to show on the flowers in my backyard. For weeks, the zinnias, salvias, coneflowers and a host of others along with untold numbers of hummingbirds and butterflies attracted to them have treated my family to a veritable kaleidoscope of color. Knowing that soon the flowers time will be over, I must admit that I am filled with mixed emotions. Hummingbirds are departing in droves. As the flowers continue to wither and die, the butterflies will also disappear.