Thursday, August 23, 2007

Our Habitat

We are super proud to have our love nest certified by the National Wildlife Federation. The certification involves creating or restoring a yard to a natural habitat that supports wildlife all year.

Certification includes gardening without chemicals, planting native plants and conserving water. A yard that provides food, water and areas of cover for wildlife is essential.

Our Butterfly Bush is not native and is listed as invasive by "Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas". I am having a little trouble removing this beauty due to the many visitors this summer.

Tiger Swallowtail. Butterflies enjoy the nectar of this bush, but don't lay their eggs here. This year we planted 3 Pawpaw trees, which are native. Pawpaws also provide the only foliage that Zebra Swallowtail butterfly's larvae eat.

Praying Mantis on Butterfly Bush. The Praying Mantis feeds primarily on other insects, using their camouflage to blend in. If an insect, or a small reptile is in striking distance, the Mantis uses its pincer-like front legs to catch and devour the victim.

Praying Mantis have also been known to catch small birds. Yikes! Warning to our yard Hummers!

Female Praying Mantis are perhaps best known for sexual cannibalism of their mate.

Praying Mantis are not endangered, but they are threatened by habitat destruction, so we are quite pleased he enjoys hanging out in our habitat.

Red Spotted Purple. The red spots are under his wings. These butterflies enjoy rotting fruit, sap and carrion. Apparently it found one of those in our front yard mulch.

Male cardinal on one of the branches of an oak tree that fell in our back yard last winter. We decided to leave the tree as is and the birds are feasting on insects the decaying tree attracts.

So what's up next for our little habitat?

One of our favorite places in the world, The Adkins Arboretum , is having their annual native plant sale in early September!

And... I am hoping that Cute Husband remembers our 38th month anniversary next month and presents me with this cool bat box....!


Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Whatever you want, honey....

Larry said...

Great job!-I'll have to look in to this certification.-I do try to plant things that attract birds and butterflies.-I have a Mimosa Tree which is considered invasive but boy do birds love it!

Nervous Birds said...

How ironic? I watched a Female Cardinal (with a little help from the male after the hard work was done) capture and eat a Mantis. The Cardinal looked a bit terrified of this meal, but it flew off with it after a little struggle. I watched it all take place from the guest bedroom window last week. It has an inside view of one of my rose bushes.

Have a good week,