Out My Backdoor: Weather Stripping Homes Nothing New to Nuthatches

By Terry W. Johnson

The winter of 2009-2010 is one we will long remember. Snow has blanketed the state from Rising Fawn to the peanut fields of South Georgia. If that wasn’t enough, temperatures have plummeted into the teens. This caused the cost of heating our homes to soar skyward faster than our national debt. Homeowners who had the foresight to winterize their homes by caulking the cracks around windows and doors, and took other measures to reduce heat loss, actually are being rewarded with lower energy bills. 

Out My Backdoor: Warm Havens for Winter Birds

By Terry W. Johnson

While drinking a cup of hot, steaming coffee on a recent cold winter morning, I noticed that most of the wildlife activity in my backyard centered on my bird feeders. Nearby, a nesting box stood like a silent sentinel watching the parade of birds and squirrels dining at my wildlife café.

While it appeared the box served no purpose this time of the year, I knew better. One late afternoon about a week before, as the sun was seemingly dissolving on the western horizon, I just happened to see two bluebirds fly into the box.

Out My Backdoor: The Christmas Hummingbird?

By Terry W. Johnson

There are a number of birds that we associate with Christmas. Some such as the robin, dove and goldfinch owe their association to this holiday because legend tells us they were present at the birth of Christ. Others are linked with Christmas because they are commonly depicted on Christmas cards. Over the years I have received Christmas cards featuring birds such as ducks, geese, blue jays, quail, chickadees and, of course, the all-time favorite – the cardinal.

Out My Backdoor: The Wondrous Pokeberry

By Terry W. Johnson

One of the most fascinating and valuable plants in my backyard is not found in a flower bed, nor is it watered or fertilized. It grows in a narrow, undeveloped border between my yard and my neighbor’s garden. Here you will find an ungainly plant that some might consider nothing more than a weed on steroids. Most Georgians call this native plant pokeberry, pokeweed, poke, poke salad, pigeonberry or inkberry.


Out My Backdoor: Backyard Wildlife Feeling the Heat, Too

By Terry W. Johnson

Has it been hot enough for you? It has been for me. For days on end, in my neck of the woods daily temperatures have soared into the mid to high 90s and heat indexes routinely topped the 100-degree mark.

When it is this hot most of us spend the majority of the day in air-conditioned comfort. Whenever I am inside cooling off, I feel guilty when I think about my wildlife neighbors. They can’t escape to an air-conditioned hideaway when the temperature sky-rockets.