Wildlife in our gardens


i dump my fire pit ashes in my chicken run. its high ph desiccates bugs and kills them. my chickens love to dirt bathe in it.


These guys have been staying in the grass and clover and out of the raised beds, mostly:


They’ll find them!


They have, they just seem uninterested. Squirrels, on the other hand…


This may be my favorite thread ever! Thanks to everyone who takes time to snap these wildlife photos and upload them. All our lives are richer for the experience. Me being who I am (king of the unnecessarily long post) you know I have to comment on a few!

@urbangardener I love that woodpecker taking an ash bath. @moose71 said it first, but chickens do that to combat mites, chiggers, and the like. I have an on-going burn pile and when not in use my chickens get in the ash and really get into it. They will dig little holes and throw the ash all over themselves for more than 10 minute- very entertaining to watch. That rabbit is cute but they cut so many of my small twigs and bushes this year that I can’t see anything but a cooked rabbit with a carrot in its mouth like in the cartoons! ha.

@KSprairie I’m very happy to see that box turtle. I’m a life-long nature guy and box turtles, for me, represent the most amazing (and depressing) wildlife conservation example I have seen with my own eyes in my own short lifetime. Growing up, we would see Eastern Box Turtles every time we went in the woods and 80% of those crossing the road were Eastern Boxes (the other 20% were snapping turtles). In my short life time (I’m almost 50) there has been a complete change in turtle species in my area. I now see an Eastern Box turtle about twice a year. If you a turtle here now its a slider. I have no idea how one species can so completely replace another one in just 40 years but I’ve seen it happen and dont have to read studies to know it has happened. Does my heart good to see you still have them in your area.

@dutch-s hands down, bobwhite quail are my favorite bird on earth (well, maybe tied with bowerbirds and their courtship and decorating skills). Bobwhites are just a work of art, absolute beauty. Thats why they are in so many paintings I suppose. Its also fun to “talk” to them. I can walk outside and do the classic =“BOB WHITE!” whistle and within minutes all the males in the surrounding fieds start calling back. Quail are the BEST!


I’m your age Kev. and we rarely seen any turtles when i was a kid. now we have some huge snappers around. seen one swim out from under a dock that had to be 3ft. long. never going swimming in that lake! took a few out of the road in the spring. they like to lay their eggs in the gravel on the sides of the roads here.


On the subject of birds and their calls, can anyone help me identify a bird that sounds like the beginning of L’amour est un oiseau rebelle from Carmen?

Here’s a subprime quality audio recording. The bird calls out twice, at the very beginning of the soundbite and again at the end:

Here’s the real thing:

We asked a birder friend, and she suggested Carolina wren, but to me it doesn’t quite match. Another possible explanation is a mockingbird that just happened to have heard Carmen…


That’s too bad the box turtle numbers are declining in your area. There are neat little guys. I usually have a couple that hang out in my garden every summer. They like to munch on tomatoes that hang low enough for them to reach. I don’t mind, there is plenty in my garden for them. It’ kind of strange but I have been seeing more around our yard this year than usual!


I like turtles for some reason. We used to put out what we call “jug lines” for catfish which is just a hook wwith meat and a weight, all tied to a floating jug or overhanging limb. The target was catfish but we would catch snapping turtles as big as the one you saw coming out from under that dock…like you said, no one wants to swim where those monsters were! haha.

@KSprairie Does my heart good to hear you are seeing more. Tennessee has put them on the “threatened Species list” here and says they have declined 32% in just 3 of their generations. Sad. Like you, I used to let them alone in my garden and just surrender the occasional tomato for the enjoyment of having them. They will always have a place in my heart because my dad would also stop during his workday and pick up ones he would see crossing the road and bring them home to me- something we all know now that shouldn’t be done but his heart was in the right place. OK…sorry for the box turtle dissertation! ha.


I found these gorgeous leafhoppers on one of my figs today.


Part of our mosquito eating squadron :slight_smile: Some sort of nice big dragonfly.


Mr. (or Msgr.?) Cardinal at maximum zoom. He wouldn’t let me get any closer.


Wow! I don’t think that guy is eating many mosquitos…small children maybe…


I have another of these caterpillars. Cecropia “giant silkworm” moth caterpillar and this one is even bigger.


Holy Crap that’s a big beast…


Had to run these knotheads off this morning. Lucky I saw them before they feasted again…


That is incredible, how will you let it turn in to MOTHRA?


I’ve found two of these on my apple trees. My daughter in law took the other one to San Antonio to let the kids watch the metamorphosis. And then I found this one which is much larger probably because it has been getting fresh leaves instead of some sent with the other caterpillar. So… my plan is to watch it until it cocoons and then get it to my kids house and let the two of them become moths together… I dunno if that will work. 1) I don’t know if my young apple trees will sustain this one all summer 2) I don’t know if the other one is going to get enough nutrition to do well. But if all goes well then the two can fly off together. I just can’t believe how big he is getting and how much he is eating.

You can order these things off the internet…


I cannot wait to see this moth and I thought our beautiful green luna moths in Maine were huge. Nope!


whens your hunting season Jeff? id gladly drive down with the freezer in my truck and clear out your ‘’ problem’’. :wink: