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.

Out My Backdoor: Counting Hummingbirds Is No Easy Task

By Terry W. Johnson

August is indeed a special month. For the state’s students, it marks the end of summer vacation and the return to the classroom. For Georgia sportswomen and men, the 2010-2011 hunting season is ushered in with the opening of squirrel season. And for the backyard naturalist, August is truly the month of the hummingbird.

Indeed, more hummingbirds visit Georgia backyards this month than at any other time of the year. During the hot, sultry days of August, it is not uncommon for some homeowners to host 100 or more hummingbirds a single day.

Out My Backdoor: 4 Parts Water, 1 Part Sugar—a Special Fuel

By Terry W. Johnson

The bird that controls the air space over our yards throughout spring and summer is the ruby-throated hummingbird. Although it is so small that 10 can be mailed for the price of a first-class stamp, no other bird can threaten its aerial superiority. As is the case with supersonic aircraft that coarse the skies of the world, this feathered dynamo operates on a high-energy fuel. In the hummingbird’s case, the fuel is sugar.

Out My Backdoor: Mulberries Get No Respect (But They Should)

By Terry W. Johnson

We Americans are fickle. We seem to jump from fad to fad. For a time, something like poodle skirts or pet rocks will be the rage only to fall out of favor and be forgotten a few years later. 

Take mulberries, for example. In the not too distant past, mulberry trees were found growing in backyards throughout the state. Additionally, since they make super shade trees, they were also planted in city parks and school yards.