Out My Backdoor: Spring Beauties -- on the Wing

By Terry W. Johnson

The spring bird migration is dwindling down to a trickle. Over the past several weeks, literally millions of migrating birds streaming from their winter homes in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America have passed through Georgia.

Some of them have flown over my middle Georgia home. Although I didn't see them, I am sure a smattering of migrants briefly stopped in my yard to rest and refuel before resuming their long journey.

Out My Backdoor: This Honeysuckle Is a Good Guy

By Terry W. Johnson

To many, the mere mention of the word honeysuckle conjures up the image of Japanese honeysuckle.
As its name suggests, Japanese honeysuckle is an alien plant. It was introduced into America as an ornamental in 1906. From its new home on Long Island, N.Y., during the 20th century this aggressive vine quickly wound its way across untold thousands of acres across the country.

Out My Backdoor: The Scouts Are Here!

By Terry W. Johnson

For more years than I care to remember, I have vainly tried to entice purple martins to nest in my yard. Each year during the late winter or early spring, a handful of purple martins magically appear at my martin house.

When these early migrants show up, my hopes run high that this will be the year I will become a purple martin landlord. My high expectations are dashed in a few days when the birds disappear, never to return.

Out My Backdoor: Helping Birds Survive Winter's Worst

By Terry W. Johnson

It was only recently that an Arctic Clipper laden with a full cargo of frigid weather sailed into the Peach State this winter. Of course, when cold dominates our weather we have the luxury of taking refuge in cozy abodes. When we do venture outside, we don heavy winter coats, hats and gloves to ward off the cold.

At best, frigid weather is little more than an inconvenience to most of us.

Out My Backdoor: the Wildlife Christmas Tree

By Terry W. Johnson

If you were asked to name four plants that are associated with Christmas, what would you say?

You could not go wrong if you listed the holly, poinsettia, mistletoe and the Christmas tree. All of these plants will always be inexorably linked to this special holiday. However, in the hearts and minds of most Americans, the plant that symbolizes Christmas more than any other is the Christmas tree.

Out My Backdoor: Backyard Wildlife Love Acorns

By Terry W. Johnson

Acorns rank as one of the very best wildlife foods. For generations stately oaks have been rooted in backyards across the state. Although the beauty of these trees has long been recognized, their importance as valuable food plants for backyard wildlife remains largely unappreciated.

With more than 30 species of oaks native to the Peach State, regardless of whether you live in the city or country, the mountains or the coast, there is an oak that will grow in your backyard.

Out My Backdoor: Halloween Superstitions and Backyard Wildlife

By Terry W. Johnson

Nowadays most folks enjoy having a cornucopia of wildlife living just outside their backdoor. However such has not always been the case. In times past, people often either took their wildlife neighbors for granted or honestly believed that many of them were imbued with frightening magical powers, or worse yet, cavorting with witches and ghosts.