Guest Post at Beautiful Wildlife Garden

The Beautiful Wildlife Garden Blog features a guest post by myself today titled “Be a Citizen Scientist in Your Wildlife Garden“. Head over and check it out and while you’re there, browse through the many other excellent posts about wildlife gardening from some experienced gardeners, it’s a really great resource. You can also find the Wildlife Garden on Facebook and Twitter.

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Ecology Lesson:: The Basics

We talk about ecology a lot, but what is it really? Chances are, unless you took some ecology classes you may have missed out on some aspects of ecology. A better understanding of ecology can help with designing and creating any wildlife habitat. Additionally, the more you know about ecology the better you’ll understand articles or books and find it easier to explain concepts and educate others. Let’s start with the basics, what exactly is ecology?

Ecology- the relationship between organisms and the environment (from the Greek words oikos, home, and logos, to study).

Ecology studies not only the interactions between the various organisms but determines distribution and abundance of the organisms.  There are many divisions of ecology that study many of different aspects such as population ecology, which focuses on the number of individuals living in an area, landscape ecology, which focuses on the factors controlling the landscape, community ecology,…

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City Lights and Urban Wildlife

Artificial lighting affects not only our ability to see the stars, but it affects a great many aspects of the ecology of wildlife. Light can impact wildlife directly by streetlights or lit buildings, or more indirectly with sky glow, the light from combined city lights. It can affect many difference facets in the lives of wildlife including feeding, migrating, mating and even sleeping and in the worst instances it results in death.

One of the more well known and better documented examples is the impact of lights along beaches on newly hatched turtles. Once hatched from their eggs the young turtles naturally move towards the brightest lights which on a natural beach would be the stars and in the direction of the ocean. Instead, many turtles move inland because of bright lights, which subjects them to predators, cars, dehydration and ultimately death. Beaches with too much light can even prevent…

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Urban Bees

Over at Cities and the Environment, the electronic journal for the Urban Ecology Collaborative, the current issue features urban pollinators, specifically bees. There are some interesting articles ranging from the question of green roofs being valuable habitat for bees to enhancing community gardens with bees.

Can green roofs provide habitat for urban bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae)? (PDF) is an interesting paper that discusses the challenges of increased urbanization and the potential role that green roofs can play in supplementing patches of habitat. In addition to cooling the “heat island”, reducing storm water runoff and improving air quality, it’s been suggested that the roofs of buildings that have replaced habitat such as shopping and industrial complexes could serves as replacement habitat for pollinators. Green roof studies in Europe have found positive evidence that green roofs can…

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Artificial Bird Feeding:: What we don’t know

When it comes to backyard bird feeding, the bird feeder reigns supreme. Many people have one or more feeders in their yards and some people go to extremes with their feeders. However, how many people have stopped to consider if they are benefiting or harming the birds. This is an issue as contentious as keeping cats indoors and there are many viewpoints. Here is a first hand account of just how contentious the issue can be. The truth of the matter is however, we know very little about the impacts of artificial feeding.

A new study in the UK on artificial feeding with Great and Blue Tits (similar to Chickadees in the US), has shown some surprising results. They found that in groups where supplemental feeding was provided, the birds laid eggs earlier and had shorter incubation periods, not entirely surprising. The result  that was surprising…

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The Hydrologic Cycle

The next post is about rain gardens and ponds and is where habitat, hydrology and stormwater management start to overlap. This is a paper I wrote about the hydrologic cycle that may be helpful to anyone wanting to understand hydrology and why it’s so important that we mitigate the affects of all of our impervious surfaces.

 

 

The Hydrologic Cycle: Focus on the Oregon Cascades

The Importance of Water

In water, life on earth began and all life now depends on water for survival. Without water animals would perish, plants would wilt and we would cease to be the blue planet. On Earth, water is life. Water plays more of a role than just keeping the beings on the planet alive, it is also home…

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