Tag Archives: wildlife

Sweet Nesting Solution for Flycatchers

Eastern PhoebeBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz  –

Excerpted in part from my book,
A Journey of Seasons

Along with the more obvious firsts of the year, I am always glad to welcome the return of our nesting pair of Eastern Phoebes (Sayornis phoebe), also known as common flycatchers.  These little brownish grey birds are easy to overlook until they begin building their mud and grass nests on porch lights, windowsills and other protrusions beneath the eaves of houses, garages, barns and other structures.  I’ve always loved having phoebe’s around to eat bugs and cheer me up, but cleaning the mess they create while building their nests can sometimes be a drag.  If you’ve had the same experience, I’ve got a sweet solution to keeping both you and your flycatchers happy.

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Alien Invaders: Armadillos in the Midwest

Nine-banded ArmadilloBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Many people who don’t live in the Ozarks are surprised to learn that there are armadillos here. This is obviously because most people do not associate these odd animals with the mid-south, but rather think of them as creatures from such dry states as Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  While I never thought much about armadillos before I came here, I have come to learn the hard way that they are both an intriguing and terribly frustrating creature.  And while I am a self-avowed animal lover, I must admit that my frustration with this scaly critter has occasionally reached murderous proportions.

Winter Blahs? Let’s Feed the Birds!

Male Red-breasted Nuthatch By Daniel Novak

Feeding and watching birds in the summer, spring and fall can be an enjoyable family pursuit and winter should be no different. While many of the birds we often see at other times of year travel to warmer climates for the winter a few hardy souls remain. Inasmuch as feeding can attract a plethora of birds for our viewing enjoyment it can actually be integral in seeing our feathered friends through a tough time of year when other food sources may be scarce or absent. Here are a few basic winter bird feeding tips that will keep birds happy and coming back day after day.

Gardening With Wildlife: Beefing Up Your Habitat

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

(Excerpted in part from A Journey of Seasons: A Year in the Ozarks High Country)

One of the coolest things about being a country gardener is that I am constantly surrounded by wild things.  These creatures are part and parcel of a healthy ecosystem and one of the rarest and most precious gifts that one can have.  However, it goes without saying that on occasion we are forced to butt heads with the very wildlife that we cherish.  Whether it’s the birds eating the blueberries, squirrels in the peach tree or a rabbit in the cabbage patch, we sometimes have to go to war to protect our share of the harvest.  And after years of living and gardening in the backwoods I have learned that all creatures are compelled to survive, and that the best deterrent for pesky garden critters is to create a place for them to do just that.

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Otters in the Ozarks

Image by Schmiebel By Jill Henderson

When Henry Rowe Schoolcraft first entered the Ozarks in 1818, he found the area lightly populated by settlers whose livelihoods included hunting, trapping and timber. At that time, the Ozarks were still a secret wilderness overflowing with thick virgin timber and teaming with wildlife.  But it wouldn’t be long before prospectors began to cash-in on the abundance of the land, and a great assault on the precious resources of the Ozarks began. Continue reading

A Hole Lot of Trouble!

Woodpecker Hole © 2011 Jill HendersonBy Jill Henderson

Last week I was in the shop working on a project when I realized that for the entire hour that I had been there, I had been hearing the steady, drumming rhythm of a woodpecker pounding a nearby tree. I stepped out of the shop to look for the source of the sound, hoping to find out which species of woodpecker it was. I scanned the trunks of nearby trees without luck. Finally, I walked around the side of the well house to get a better look at the lower portion of the trees when a small woodpecker shot out in front of me and landed in a low-hanging branch ten feet away. I turned to look at the side of the well house and immediately saw a tidy hole in the wood siding just below the eave.

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Big Bucks and Hunting Season

hunterssmBy Jill Henderson

As we round into the third week of November the Ozarks is enjoying blissful days of low-70 degree temperatures and generally sunny skies.  The winds have been gusting steadily all week long and have finally blown in a good soaking.  I view the weather from the perspective of a gardener, homesteader, and naturalist and this week’s weather has afforded my husband and I the perfect opportunity to check our fence lines and enjoy a hearty hike in the woods.  But  now that the official hunting season has begun, we will spend the next two weeks a little closer to the house.

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Fall Frenzy: A Skink Story

fall leavesBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz –

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, but it is also one of the busiest. Between winterizing the garden, gathering wild edibles, bringing in firewood, and generally readying ourselves and the homestead for the winter to come, it seems to me that we have been in perpetual motion – a frenzy, if you will.  A word that seems to convey just a touch of obsessive compulsive behavior that can sometimes lead to strains, and bruises and bumps.  But we humans are not the only creatures driven to frenzy in our preparations for the coming winter.  In fact, sometimes the frantic nature of animals searching for food, mates and shelter lands them in a slippery situation.

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Great Horned Owls – Giants of the Forest

By Jill Henderson Show Me Oz

Last night, as I stood outside admiring the way the stars danced brightly in the clear dark winter sky,  I heard the unmistakably deep, resonating call of one of the Ozarks most reclusive giants –  the great horned owl.

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