Backyard Habitat is for the Birds
Providing a safe and inviting habitat for birds in your backyard is simple and will help our feathered friends thrive in the summer and survive during the winter. I have had a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat in every home I've lived in. My Montana home is Certified Wildlife Backyard Habitat #197,214. All you need to provide is four things: food, water, cover, and places to raise young.
Providing water in the summer is not as critical as in the winter. In the winter, many natural sources of fresh water are frozen, but birds still need clean, fresh water for drinking and bathing. Finches, sparrows, warblers and towhees will eagerly visit a birdbath in the winter. To prevent the water from freezing, install a birdbath heater or a “water wiggler,” or dump out the water in the evening before it has a chance to freeze. Either way, change the water frequently. To keep the birds healthy, scrub the bath with a stiff brush every few days. If it is really soiled, use a dilute vinegar solution or mild soap and water to clean it. Just be sure to thoroughly rinse it.
Food is easiest to provide by hanging a feeder. There are many different types, and each feeder is designed to replicate a specific feeding niche in the ecosystem. The most common feeders are tubes filled with black-oil sunflower seeds that attract house finches; thistle sock feeders that attract colorful goldfinches; and suet feeders that attract flickers, sapsuckers and some woodpeckers. These feeders can be purchased in most nurseries and garden centers.
Cover is any place a bird utilizes to perch, seek shelter or escape predation. Just about anything can be used for cover, including living plant material, snags and rock or brush piles. But, the best way to provide cover is by planting a diverse selection of perennials, annuals, grasses, shrubs, vines, and of course, trees. Grasses are especially important because they provide cover during the winter. Leaving spent flowers and stalks through the winter will also provide cover.
Installing a nesting box is the best way to provide a place for your backyard birds to raise their young. Birds can be very choosey when it comes to selecting a nesting place. It pays to do some research and provide a nesting box with the appropriate size and dimensions. There are local stores that specialize in birding and wildlife habitat, as well as online sources. An excellent resource for information on nesting boxes is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website section devoted to nesting box characteristics, http://www.birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse/instructions/. It provides bird-specific nesting box requirements and downloadable plans on how to build your own box. Building nesting boxes is an excellent woodworking project for the entire family. They also make wonderful handcrafted holiday gifts.
Providing habitat for our native birds not only helps them survive, but it can also bring us great joy and contentment, as we watch them frolic in our yards. However, be aware that attracting small wildlife to your yard can also attract larger wildlife, such as deer or bears, so always be cautious. Once you have all of the critical habitat pieces in place, you can get your backyard wildlife habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation. The online application is available at http://www.nwf.org/backyard/.
This is a reprint of an article I wrote when I was the commercial horticulture program coordinator for the western area of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.
AT HOME WORKOUT OF THE DAY
BTWB Endurance Fitness Level Workout: Run 5 Km for time
Post your score in BTWB when completed
Recovery is a key ingredient to your recipe for becoming a bad ass. It's super fun to come into the gym, crush the workout, pick up heavy stuff, or drag a heavy sled. However, if you're not taking active steps to recover from your workout, you are not receiving the full benefits of your training. Here are 2 key recovery practices
1. Get 8 hours of sleep. Some research suggests that if you get less than 8 hours of sleep, you can expect only a 50% adaptation to your training. Sleep is that important! It is the only time in which your body can repair, produce certain hormones, and do all of the important physiological functions that your body needs to incorporate your fitness training. Some research suggests that a 2-5 hour sleep deficit has the same deleterious health impacts as smoking 5-10 cigarettes a day.
Some of the ways you can improve your sleep:
One of the things I love about CrossFit is that no matter how long you've been doing it, there's always a higher level skill towards which you can practice and train. You can finally hold downward facing dog for a minute? Terrific! Now it's time to lean off a box and hold yourself in a supported handstand. You can do that? Awesome, now it's time to develop your kick-up skills. You can kick up and hold against the wall? Fantastic! Now, it's time to develop your free handstand and handstand walking skills.
No matter where you are in your CrossFit journey, you can find new challenges once you master the basics. If you rush forward into a skill for which you have not progressed through the basics, you will certainly walk out the door frustrated and perhaps injured.
I have played many sports in my life gymnastics, soccer, softball, rowing, springboard diving, and now the sport of fitness: CrossFit. Each sport has taught me the importance of progressions and drills for skill development. You wouldn't think a sport like rowing has drills and progressions, but it does! I learned to row in a huge barge that was super stable. My rowing coach could walk down the middle and correct our technique. Once we mastered rowing the barge then we started rowing a heavy wide shell. Once we could row in that, then we moved into a sleek and fast fiberglass shell. But, if we had tried rowing in the racing shell first we certainly would have flipped. Flipping over in the recently thawed Potomac River is not recommended!
What skills do you want to develop? Where are you in your progressions to higher level movements? Share with us in the comments.
Are you ready for our September Fitness Level Challenge? We start on Friday!
For the entire month I have programmed workouts that count directly towards the 8 Fitness Level Categories:
For the past couple of weeks in class we've asked all of you to tell us which of your Fitness Levels are locked. For instance, my Endurance and Long Fitness Levels only have 1 workout completed as Rx'd in the past 6 months, and therefore my Fitness Level in those categories won't be calculated until I completed 2 more qualifying workouts as prescribed. Those categories are locked until I complete a qualifying workout. Workouts that we modify or scale don't count towards our Fitness Level.
I have programmed an Endurance Fitness Level workout on Sep 23. I'm also missing workouts in the Long category and I have those workouts programmed for Sep 10, 17, 21 and 27. Why don't I have more Endurance workouts programmed? Because If I did, you would not come to class! Endurance workouts are:
Some of you might show up for 2000m and 5000m rows, but even I would skip 1 mile run day:) You can do those workouts on your own and I highly encourage you to do so!
All of the workouts are loaded into BTWB and you can see them all now. So, how will you earn a prize? There are TWO WEEKLY and ONE MONTHLY prize opportunities.
You can earn a prize each week if you unlock a Fitness Level Category. If you have more than 1 locked category you can earn a prize for each one you unlock. Your Coach will let you know the FL category of every WOD to help you know if it's one you need to do as prescribed.
You can also earn a weekly prize for the MOST EMOJIS given on BTWB. I have the ability to track our BTWB engagement and last week here are top 5 the most supportive people in the gym:
I will give a prize to anyone who gives more Emojis than me each week:)
Finally, we will have prizes for the top 5 people who raise their overall Fitness Level the most. Here is where we all stand this week. Our names are arranged alphabetically by first name. Scroll through the list to see your score.
Our September Fitness Level Challenge is designed to get us excited about our fitness after a summer of fun in the sun! I encourage you to stay engaged with your gym-mates via BTWB and to have some fun exploring your fitness. It's a time to CELEBRATE what we can do and perhaps develop some goals for the winter. Good luck!
BTWB Level-Up Challenge in September
Record your WOD on Beyond the Whiteboard.
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