April is filled with important events and opportunities to connect to
nature around us. Earth Day is Thursday, April 22. This year’s Earth Day is marked by the theme “Restore Our Earth.”
Celebrate this important day by making your yard or outdoor space into a wildlife-friendly habitat. The easiest way to start is to put out water for birds. You can then add native plants, food, shelter, and places for wildlife to raise their young. Your space can play a valuable role in helping to reverse habitat loss and will make a difference for the future of song birds and other important wildlife.
Be on the lookout for Orioles. If you like bright colors, this is your month because showy Hooded Orioles begin to arrive in our area. Want to attract them to your yard? Put out something orange, such as an orange-colored feeder with nectar and orange slices, or the berry-grape jelly they love. Hooded Orioles are master weavers and might just build one of their soft hanging nests in a nearby palm.
Hummingbirds, our colorful local Anna's and Allen's Hummingbirds are joined by a warm-weather migrant, the Black-chinned Hummingbird. The chin may look black, but the throat is a beautiful violet in the right light.
Be sure to change the nectar in your feeders every three to five days as weather gets warmer.
It’s also the perfect month to plant a butterfly garden using California native milkweed and Kotolo milkweed. All three are essential habitat plants for the western population of the beloved Monarch butterfly.
It’s nesting season, and you can help. If you live near a bluebird, wren or owl habitat, consider hanging a nesting box in your yard. You can also put out cotton, sticks, moss, or other nesting materials the birds can use to build their nests. Busy bird mothers will appreciate it.
If you are staying indoors, you can still connect to nature through a host of live cams set up worldwide. This month, we recommend watching our local Big Bear Bald Eagle nest couple, Jackie and Shadow (friendsofbigbearvalley.org), as they welcome their eaglets to the nest, Bella Hummingbird nest (Explore.org), live from her ficus tree perch in La Verne, and for those up at night, try our very own Barred Owl nest cam (www.wbu.com/owl-cam), from the woods of central Indiana. Enjoy all that nature brings you.
By Julie Rensink Hanson