Monitoring gardens and spreading the message

If you replace the wood fences with cinder blocks, it might as well be my backyard. We can only try … so this year we are giving away sunflower seeds in Albuquerque (you can buy a pound for $20-25 with tens of thousands of seeds for wild-type Helianthus) in partnership with World Migratory Bird Day celebrations next month.


1,400 insect species with nearly 400 moths (Leps minus butterflies) in my yard & home. And, sunflower seed give away is this weekend!


It looks as though Environment for the Americas is sponsoring a local event. The WMBD map indicates that there are three events for Colorado (if I’m reading it right), but this is the only one I could find. I’m kind of surprised that none of the national refuges in the state are hosting celebrations.

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My neighbour over the road is ‘tidying’ the house they’ve recently bought. He’s now hacking down a couple of conifer trees using a blunt electric chainsaw. I don’t know how the world is going to get past this idea that nature is untidy. There have been numerous people buying or renting houses around here, chopping down trees that have taken two decades to grow and then selling up and moving on. The conifers are no great loss but they were better than nothing.


To monitor arthropods in my yard, I put down a wooden board in my grass and wait for arthropods to crawl, jump, or fly on the board. This has proven to be very effective.


I do monitor my suburban yard, although not as intensely as you seem to do. But I have been surprised at the number of species I’ve seen. For example, I have seen about 110 species of birds in or from my lot. Sometimes surprises show up, e.g., coyotes and eagles. Then again, I am surprised at what I don’t see now that I used to see (long before iNaturalist): Raccoons, woodchucks, skunks, and possums used to be “regulars,” but except for a DOR in the neighborhood, I haven’t seen any of these for a number of years.


Surprisingly, no rabbits or raccoons (or their scat) at my home. I’m sure bobcats used to roam my neighborhood when it was less populated.