February 2015 Newsletter & Community Update

Table of Contents 
Intro 
  Updates 
From our Customers 
What's New in the Store? 
Classes & Events 
  Second Annual Silent Auction 
  Come in to Win a Feeder Contest 
Happenings 
  Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings 
  Community Events and Spirit 
  Other Backyard Nature Events 
Gardening 
  Opportunities in the Garden for February 
  Seed Starting
Birding 
  Featured Bird Feeder of the Month: Droll Yankee Flipper 
  Great Backyard Bird Count 
  Bird of the Month: Brown-headed Nuthatch 
  Audubon Field Trips 

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers, 

We may be in the midst of winter but you know spring is around the corner when you see the plant sales and garden tours in our ‘Happenings’ section! Put them on your calendars. More to come… 

Early Spring!
 General Beauregard Lee (who has a 93% accuracy rate) of the Yellow River Game Ranch did not see his shadow on February 2nd (Groundhog Day) which means spring will come early this year. 

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." -- Helen Keller 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Stop in the shop to check out our HUGE selection of unique and useful gifts! The year, give your loved one the gift that keeps on giving - The Gift of Nature!! 


Georgia’s Arbor Day is Friday, February 20th. Trees help to reduce warming by taking carbon dioxide out of the air. They also help to clean the air we breathe. Think about planting a tree or two this year! Are you curious about the value of the trees in your yard and how they might help to save you money? Click here to get started!  

From Our Customers 

This newsletter is fantastic, full of useful info. Sandra B 

As always a great newsletter! Thank you! Pat S 

What’s New in the Store? 
 

Birding: Tucker Tiger Birdhouse by Jim Jackson; George Burkett's Brown-headed nuthatch, bluebird, and hanging wren houses, window feeder and bluebird feeders (see article under Birding section); bird feeders, owl house, bird bath deicers, bird baths 

Garden Art:
 Rain Gauges 

Gardening: 
Organic, GMO free vegetable herb and flower seeds 

Children
: Children’s watering cans 

Miniatures
: A whole new line of miniatures should be in by the weekend   

Classes & Events 

Can’t Wait, Can’t Wait - it’s Auction Time! Our silent auction begins on Saturday, February 7th at 10AM and will run until Saturday, February 21st at 6PM. Proceeds above minimum bid benefit the Tucker Butterfly Garden’s (a certified pollinator garden) native plant garden expansion. 
On February 7th, we are delighted to have Atlanta artist, Cynthia Perryman of Cynthia Perryman Fine Art join us to demonstrate her painting techniques and skills. The painting she produces on the 7th will be featured in the silent auction. Cindy is well known in Atlanta’s art community. She was the long-time owner of the very popular Vista Gallery in Decatur which she sold a few years ago so she could concentrate on her landscape and still life paintings. She holds painting classes in her studio in Suwanee, GA and offers yearly “workshops abroad” to Burgundy and Provence, France. She’s fun, exciting and passionate about her love of painting and travels to France to teach, paint and search for antiques! Checkout her website: cynthiaperrymanart.com/ 
Stop by to watch her paint – en plein air, weather permitting – 10AM – noon and 1PM – 2 PM on Saturday, February 7th. And, don’t forget to put a bid in for the painting! Wine will be provided each Saturday afternoon during the auction by Growler Time. Some of the auction items besides the painting will include a weather vane, Felco loppers, a Big Leaf Magnolia donated by Woodlands Garden in Decatur, a necklace by Ann O’Rourke – and much more… 
Don’t miss out – come early to get your bid in and come back to make sure you’ve got the high bid. There are some great items and it helps to support a local community resource open to all. 

Come in to Win a Free Feeder Contest 
Again this year Brome will be giving away 150 Squirrel Buster Standards, 18 Squirrel Buster Finch and 12 Squirrel Buster Plus between February 25th and April 5th. Customers who visit The Garden Enthusiast – Backyard Nature Station and spend $25 will receive our unique store code starting February 10th. Once you have received our store code, enter the code via Brome’s Facebook, Web page or by simply calling Brome Bird Care’s toll free number. By entering one time, you qualify for all the draws. Brome will contact us with the customer’s contact information and then we get in touch with the winners. Brome Bird Care will follow up with the winner to make sure everything went well. The feeder is shipped to our store for you and we arrange with you to pick it up. Brome will not share your information nor solicit you. 

Old Town Tucker Update/Happenings

This month at Growler Time we will be featuring a couple of things that I can't wait to share with you. On February 9th we will be featuring a brewery out of Chicago named Finch's. We will be carrying 4 completely different styles of their beer: an Imperial IPA, a Belgian Strong ale, a red ale, and a Stout. And, as a special for Valentines we will be featuring some delicious little bite sized pies from Shove your Pie Hole (small Atlanta up and coming business). Hope to see you here and receive 10% off for mentioning this article. 

The seeds are sown for an exciting spring at the Old Tucker Fountain. The updates to the kitchen and coffee service are complete and continental breakfast service during the week and a full breakfast on the weekends starts this month. Also, they will be open in the evenings for dinner and coffee with dessert. Chef Eddie Santiago hails from New York City and has experience as both a breakfast cook and authentic soda fountain jerk. Go by and try a Danish and some delicious coffee from Community Coffee. 

Saturday March 14th Chili Cook-off on Main Street 1- 6PM
 
Yes, it’s time for the 4th Annual Tucker Chili Cook-off sponsored by the Old Town Tucker Merchant’s Association. This event will benefit the Day League (formerly the Dekalb Rape Crisis Center). Your $5 entry fee gets you access to taste all the chili prepared by event contestants and gives you one vote to help award the coveted People’s Choice prize. For more information on becoming a chili cook-off contestant visit www.tuckerchilicookoff.com

Massage Associates of Atlanta, LLC 
Valentine’s Special Treat your sweetheart to a Valentine's Day One Hour Massage Gift Certificate just $55 (reg. $70) Offer expires 2/28/15/Not valid on any specialty therapy 
5165 Lavista Rd., Tucker’ 770.493.8181, www.massageassociates.net 

Eric’s Fit Lab had its Grand Opening (new location) on January 31st 4985 Lavista Road. 


Community Events and Spirit 


Monday February 9th Mountain Shadow Garden Club presents “Pruning to Retain the Natural Form of Shrubs” 7:30PM 
 Pruning always seems to generate interest and lively discussion among gardeners and homeowners. Barbara Dorfman will present our upcoming program on pruning. A Stone Mountain resident, Barbara studied horticulture at Gwinnett Technical College and has worked at retail and wholesale nurseries. She is now a landscape consultant assisting homeowners with pruning, low maintenance strategies, and replacing exotic invasive plants with natives. Teaching proper pruning is her passion. Barbara will discuss tools needed, timing and when to ignore the rules, renewing overgrown shrubs, and how plants respond to various pruning cuts. MSGC meets in Founders Hall at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 5801 Hugh Howell Road. MSGC is open to men and women of all ages who enjoy learning more about a range of garden topics. Refreshments and socializing follow. Free. For more information, call club president Jeff Raines at 404-641-8633. 

Saturday February 21st Tucker Civic Association “Give An Hour” 9AM – Noon 
For the February "Give an Hour" event, Tucker Civic Association will be joining forces with the Tucker Historical Society to clean up the historic Dabney-Shumate Cemetery. Volunteers will be clearing brush and vines, raking, and sprucing up this neglected cemetery. If you can, please bring rakes, loppers, and shovels. Snacks, coffee and water will be provided. The cemetery is located at 1722 Cooledge Rd. Street parking is available along Mary Anna Dr., across from the cemetery. For more information about Tucker's historic cemeteries, including Dabney-Shumate,click here.  

Saturday April 25th The Tucker Plant Swap 8AM – 1PM 
Come to the Tucker Historical Society’s annual plant swap in the First Baptist Church of Tucker parking lot. Bring a plant – take a plant! If you’d like to help contact Kathy Powell at [email protected] 

Saturday, May 9th Tucker Day 

Saturday, May 16th Tucker Historical Society Garden Tour 9AM – 5PM
 

Other Backyard Nature Events 

The Friends of Frazier-Rowe Park are happy to announce that Frazier-Rowe Park is the recipient of a $10,000 Community Building Grant from Park Pride for 2015. When matching funds are added in, the Park will receive approximately $20,000, which will be used to create a pedestrian entrance on LaVista Road and add signage, playground equipment, picnic tables, benches, bike racks and other items. 

Saturday, February 14th Georgia Iris Society meeting 2PM
 
Mickey Gazaway from Pike’s Nursery will present a program on “How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard”. The meeting will be held at the Northlake-Barbara Loar Library. Meetings are free to the public. Call Kathy Blackwell for more info: 678-583-8603. 

Monday February 23rd Dekalb Master Gardener’s Association Meeting 6PM 
Speaker: to be announced; Free to the public; Northlake Barbara Loar Branch - DeKalb Public Library 

Saturday February 25th The Inspired Gardener- A Symposium and Silent Auction 8AM – 3:30PM 
Looking for inspiration and ideas to get ready for spring? 
Attend this informative one-day symposium presented by the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Georgia Perennial Plant Association at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. 
The speakers: Roy Diblik, Hayes Jackson, Elizabeth Dean, Jenks Farmer and Becky Heath offer a wealth of knowledge and include authors, growers and keen gardeners. 
Topics covered include – garden maintenance, unusual plants for dry shade, bulbs, tropicals and perennials that perform well into fall, life lessons from a seasoned gardener and grower and more. A silent auction with plants and garden related products promises to please. 
Cost is $79.00 for Garden members and GPPA members; $89.00 for non-members, parking and lunch are extra. For registration and more information visit georgiaperennial.org 

Saturday March 7th 20th Native Plant Symposium 8AM – 4PM
 
The 20th Annual Georgia Native Plant Society Symposium will be held at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston Campus. Keynote speaker is Dr. Alan Weakley, Director, UNC Herbarium, North Carolina Botanical Garden and author of Flora of the Southern & Mid Atlantic States. The symposium will also include an optional tour of the Georgia Perimeter Native Plant Botanical Garden. http://www.gnps.org/ 

Saturday March 14th Georgia Iris Society Meeting 2PM 
Do you love irises? Would you like to know how to grow them? Come bring your spouse, neighbor or coworker and meet members of the Georgia Iris Society at St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church, 1790 Lavista Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30309. 
We would like to get acquainted and teach you how to grow this lovely “Queen of the Garden.” Join us for education, beautification and recreation and enjoy fellowship and food. Meetings are free to the public and all are welcome. 
For more information contact Kathy Blackwell, 678 583 8603. 

Saturday & Sunday March 28th – 29th Atlanta Urban Coop Tour 2015 Noon – 5PM
 
Join the 8th annual Urban Coop Tour to find out why people are getting so excited about backyard chickens. 
Urban coops are a fast growing trend in metro Atlanta neighborhoods, with families, community gardens and neighborhood co-ops all getting in on the action. Benefits include farm fresh eggs, kitchen waste disposal, bug patrol and just plain fun! The Tour features 14 coops across Decatur, East Atlanta, Edgewood, Grant Park and the Old Fourth Ward. Coop owners will be available to introduce their ladies, answer questions and discuss coop design. Many coops feature artwork, edible landscaping, or other livestock (including rabbits, goats and a pot-bellied pig!). Tickets: $20 early bird, $25 on Tour weekend. Free for children age 12 and under (Good for both days of the Tour, plus the Friday night launch party/silent auction fundraiser) Rain or shine! For more information email [email protected] 

Saturday April 11th Azalea Chapter Annual Plant Sale and Flower Display 8AM 
This is the annual plant sale of the Azalea Chapter. An outstanding collection of over 1,200 native azaleas, evergreen azaleas, other rhododendrons, mountain laurel, camellias, and other hard to find varieties of plants will be offered. Joining the Azalea Chapter will give you a significant discount on already great prices. Open rain or shine until plants are gone. We always sell out. Come early. Oak Grove United Methodist Church, 1722 Oak Grove Rd, Decatur, GA 30033. Contact Terry Robinson at [email protected] for more information. 

Saturday, April 18th DMGA Plant Sale 10AM – 1PM 
The Dekalb Master Gardener’s Association annual plant sale will again be held at the Oak Grove UMC parking lot: Corner of Oak Grove & Fairoaks (1722 Oak Grove Rd., Decatur) 

Saturday April 18th Georgia Native Plant Society Annual Spring Plant Sale 10AM – 2PM 
McFarlane Nature Park in Marietta Saturday 

May 9th Georgia Hosta Society Leaf Show & Plant Sale 

Tucker United Methodist Church, Wesley Center


Gardening, etc

 For our star gazers, February 6th is the best day to view Jupiter and its four largest moons.


Opportunities in the garden for February: 
• Prune your dormant trees, roses, ornamental grasses, deciduous shrubs. Wait until blooms have faded to prune your spring flowering shrubs. 
 If you haven’t prepared your garden, do it now. Get a soil sample test (available at The Garden Enthusiast), too, if you haven’t done that. 
 Start your indoor seeds. Tomatoes take 6 to 8 weeks to grow from seed to transplant size and peppers take 8 weeks. (See article below on seed starting.) 
 Toward the end of the month plant Irish potatoes (3” deep), asparagus, sweet peas, mustard, turnips, spinach, and collards. 
 The leaves should all be down so take time to clean up your flower beds and mulch them as necessary. Spring will be here before you know it – and you’ll be ahead of the game. 
 Cut back your butterfly bushes by two-thirds to one half to encourage new growth and bigger blossoms – and more butterflies! 
 Crowded perennials? You can divide and replant them as they come up. You can do this with your perennial herbs, also. 
 Fertilize your spring blooming bulbs. 
 Apply crabgrass preventer to your lawn this month. 

It’s the time of year when many start dreaming about garden grown fresh vegetables. Starting seeds indoors can help to chase those winter blues away. It takes about 6-8 weeks for many vegetable seeds to grow from the seed to transplant size. Why plant seed when you can just go purchase some plants? You have more varieties to choose from; once you have an established garden site it can be less expensive than buying plants – one pack of seeds is less than the price of one plant; and probably the most important reason is the feeling of satisfaction you get when you can walk out and pluck your fresh veggies from the vine. 
There are lots of varieties to choose from. Your biggest dilemma may be which ones to get. How many different types of tomatoes do you want this year? Do you want just a single pepper such as 
Early Jalapeno Chile Peppers or do you want to have some Jalafugo Jalapeno Peppers on hand to spice up some dishes? 

Check the label on your seeds to get the best results. The back and inside of the Botanical Interest seed packet contains all the information you need to plan your garden and start your seeds. Good seeds to start early indoors are ones that need a long time to reach their harvesting stage such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, broccoli, kale, cabbage, onions, leeks, and parsley. Some seeds (i.e. beans, beets, peas, carrots, cucumbers, melons) don’t transplant well and need to be either sown directly into the garden or started in biodegradable pots so that their roots are not disturbed when planting. 
So let’s go over some basics. 
1. It helps to have a plan for your garden space. You’ll need to check out space and light requirements for the seeds you want to grow. Full direct sun (6-8 hours) is usually required for most crops. Some veggies such as carrots, turnip and beets will do fine with only 4-6 hours. For garden areas with only 3-4 hours of direct sun, try spinach, kale, Swiss chard and lettuce. 
2. Determine the last date of frost for your area. In Atlanta the average date of last frost is March 24th - 30th according to which source you use. 
3. Get your materials ready including clean containers (make sure they have holes in the bottom for drainage), plant labels and marking pens. Grow lights and heat mats are other items to consider. If you’re reusing containers, sanitize these by washing in warm, soapy water and thoroughly rinse. Then soak them in a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) for 10 minutes, rinse, and dry. 
4. Make a list of the seeds you want. Divide the list by the seeds you start inside versus those that will be sown directly into the garden. Organize your seeds according to start dates (how many weeks before last date of frost). Make tabs that tell you when to sow the seeds. Organization! 
5. Use a seed starting soil such as Rapid Rooters, Light Warrior or coconut coir for best results. These soils are fine textured and provide better drainage and moisture retention. Make sure the soil is moist prior to planting the seeds. 
6. Check out any special needs your seeds may have. Some need to be chilled or soaked or scarified (seed coat broken open) prior to planting. Some require light to germinate, some are left at the top of the soil while others are buried at different depths. Again, check the seed envelope for instructions and follow them for the best results. 
7. Usually normal household temperatures are enough to encourage germination. However, for some seeds such as tomato, watermelon, cucumber, pepper, and melons, a temperature of 70 degrees or more is ideal to germinate. Use a heat mat or place near a heat vent. 
8. Sufficient light is a major factor influencing the growth of the seedlings. According to how many you are growing, you could hang four fluorescent tubes with two cool and two warm spectrum bulbs about 3” above the top of the seedlings. Using a timer will help to make sure that get the light they need (14 hours or more). There are also grow lights available that mimic true sunlight conditions. 
9. Consistent moisture is extremely important to seeds as they come out of their dormancy and begin to grow. Seeds that are too wet will rot, those too dry won’t germinate. After planting the seeds, they should be watered thoroughly. The soil should remain moist but not soggy. Capillary mats that wick from the bottom of the container are a great way to provide consistent watering. Lids on containers help to moderate the moisture levels. The lids need to be clear to let the light in. As the seedlings reach the lid, it will need to be removed. To keep humidity at a good level you can also place the trays or containers on trays filled with pebbles and water or mist them. 
10. Make sure you have some circulation where you’re growing your plants. A small fan will help to circulate the air and reduce disease. It will also make the stems sturdier. 
11. When the seedlings form their third set of true leaves, transplant them into slightly larger individual containers. 
12. As the planting dates get closer you’ll need to harden the seedlings off by exposing them to the outdoors (cooler temps and higher light intensity) for increasing amounts of time and exposure over a 7 to 10 day period. Each day gradually move them from the shade to a sunnier spot. Bring in the plants if there is a chance of frost. 
13. Plant your new seedlings, watch them grow – and enjoy the harvest!


Type of
Seed
        
 # of weeks before
last spring frost date to start 
seeds indoors

 Earliest date to transplant
hardened off seedlings outside 
relative to last spring frost date 
 Earliest date to direct sow 
seeds relative to last
spring frost date 
 Basil 5 1 week after
 1 week after
 Broccoli 6-8 2 weeks before
 
 Beans   On last frost date 
 Beets   2-4 weeks before
 Cabbage 8-10 4 weeks before
 
 Carrots   2-3 weeks before
 Cauliflower 6-8 2 weeks before
 
 *Chives 6 weeks before
 On last frost date
 4-6 weeks before
 Cilantro   1-2 weeks before
 Corn 2-3  On last frost date
 *Cucumber  1-2 weeks after
 1-2 weeks after
 Dill 6-8  1-2 weeks before
 Eggplant
 8-10 2-3 weeks after
 
 Kale 7-8 4 weeks before
 
 *Lettuce 1-2 3-4 weeks before
 3-4 weeks before
 *Melon 10-12 2 weeks before 
 2 weeks after 
 Onion 6-8 weeks before
 2 weeks before
 
 *Oregano 10-12 1 week before
 2-4 weeks after 
 Parsley  2-3 weeks before
 
 Peas 6  6 weeks before
 Pepper 1-2 2 weeks after
 
 *Pumpkin  2 weeks after 
 2 weeks after
 Radish 10-12  4-6 weeks before
 *Rosemary
 1 week after
 1-2 weeks after 
 *Sage 4 weeks before
 1 week after
 1-2 weeks after 
 Spinach   4-6 weeks before 
 Squash 1-2 2 weeks after
 2 weeks after 
 *Swiss
Chard
 6-8 2 weeks before
 1-2 weeks before 
 *Thyme 8 weeks before
 1 week after
 1-2 weeks before 
 *Tomato 6-8 1 week after
 
*Can start indoors or directly seed outdoors 

Do you want to find out if the seeds you just found in the drawer are good? Spread out 5-10 seeds on a moistened paper towel and top with another moistened towel. Wrap this up and place in a sealed plastic bag. Mark each bag with the seed name and start date. Keep in a warm area (75 degrees or more). Note how long it should take them to germinate and begin checking the bag around that time to see if they have. If fewer than 50% sprout it’s probably better to get some fresh seed. If more than 60% germinate try using them and sowing them closer together than you normally would. 

Beet Chioggia (#3150) 

This Italian heirloom produces delicious green tops and tasty roots. When cut, beautiful red and white interior rings are revealed that look like peppermints! 

Atomic Red Carrot
 
When you steam, roast, or stir-fry these carrots, the contrast intensifies between the brilliant red outer layer and the bright orange inner core. Grow successive crops for continuous harvests of this nutritious and high-lycopene variety. 

Mantanghong Watermelon Radish 
Yes, it's a radish! This mild, winter radish looks like a miniature slice of watermelon when sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Artistic? Try carving flowers into this radish for a stunning display. Grown as a cool season annual. 

Brightest Brilliant Rainbow Quinoa – 
This nutty flavored seed has more protein than any commonly eaten grain. It’s also a striking ornamental. 

Dragon’s Tongue Arugula 
Perk up salads and sandwiches with beautiful color and bold, spicy flavor. Enjoy as a baby green. 

Micro Greens 
Tasty and nutritious micro greens can be grown any time of the year even indoors in the winter! 

Birding 

Hopefully you’ve seen the flocks of goldfinches. I know a few of you had stopped putting niger seed out. Now’s the time to make sure your niger feeder is clean, refill it, hang it, and enjoy the show. 

It's National Bird Feeding Month and we can celebrate by feeding all of our beautiful wild birds nutritious seed and feed! By now most of the natural resources have been depleted and it can be difficult for the birds to find food. Water sources may freeze over leaving them no access to water. Birds can use up to 15% of their body weight overnight just keeping warm. They spend most of their waking hours searching for food. Feeding your birds hi- energy foods (suet & seed logs, packed full of nuts and berries, and hearty meal worms; black oil sunflower; nut pieces) will provide more energy per ounce. Feeding suet in upside-down suet feeders can help to keep some of your larger birds off the feeder. Woodpeckers, Titmice, Nuthatches, Chickadees and other songbirds can easily use these feeders. If you haven’t done so, give your feeders a good cleaning with Bird Feeder Cleaner or a solution of weak Clorox (10 parts water to 1 part Clorox). This will help to keep your birds healthy! And don’t forget fresh water. Birds have to fluff out their feathers so they can capture a layer of air that helps to act as insulation to keep warm. 

18th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is February 13th - 16th. This is a really big deal and you can help!! Everyone is welcome--from beginning bird watchers to experts. And, it’s a great activity for kids! It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with nature and make a difference for birds. By doing this, we learn what kinds of birds are being seen in the winter and whether there are more or fewer of them than before. It's free and easy. To learn more about how to join the count visit www.birdcount.org

National Nestbox Week is February 14th - 21st. Nesting boxes are great for the cold weather and you may find multiple birds using one small box to keep warm. These should be cleaned out this month. That gets them ready for the bluebirds as they select their nesting territories. 

Check out the Cornel Lab New Owl Cam from Savannah. This cam was originally planned to broadcast activity from an established Bald Eagle nest but the Great Horned Owls moved in. It is 80 feet above the coastal Georgia salt marshes. 


Featured Bird Feeder of the Month: Droll Yankee Flipper 



Special $125.99            

Hanging bird feeder with microban antimicrobial technology
4 feeding ports can be easily accessed via the perch ring; internal baffle
•Squirrel-triggered motor spins the feeder to quickly remove squirrels
Clear UV-stabilized polycarbonate feeder; 5-pound capacity; heavy metal cap
Measures 8.5 x 8.5 x 28.5 inches; limited lifetime warranty; 1-year electronics warranty

Click LINK for video!  



More Ways to Attract Birds to your Bird-Friendly Garden (continued from last month’s newsletter) 
• Create a multilevel habitat including a canopy, understory and ground level plantings. The canopy of large, mature trees provides feeding and nesting opportunities for birds such as robins, doves, and blue jays. The understory level is made up of smaller trees and shrubs. This level also provides nesting and food as well as cover. Smaller shrubs, perennials, groundcovers and annuals are used for cover, food, and for nesting for some birds such as juncos. 
• Plant evergreens. They provide a wonderful place for birds to hide and those with berries provide an extra source of food. 
• Plant other shrubs and trees that provide fruit, nuts and acorns especially those that continue through the winter such as beautyberry, oak, viburnum and crabapple. 
• Plants native to our area provide the best all around food for the native birds and attract more birds. 
• Feed them their favorite food. For goldfinches try niger seed, woodpeckers and nuthatches like suet, put out millet for doves, juncos and towhees and almost all of your birds will enjoy sunflower meats. 
• Put up birdhouses to provide a place for birds to raise their young and provide shelter during inclement weather. 
• Use fewer pesticides. Insects are a major part of many birds’ diet. 

The Brown-headed Nuthatch is our bird of the month. Charles Seabrook wrote in his AJC January 3rd column (Wild Georgia) about the declining number of these nuthatches due to loss of their favored pine forest habitats. He also mentioned George Burkett who was building houses for these birds out of re-purposed wood. A customer came in and asked about these houses and Brittany got in touch with George. We now have George’s houses (nuthatch and bluebird) in the store. The National Audubon Society suggests that one of the ways you can help keep these birds in our backyards is to put up a nuthatch nest box. Nikki Belmonte of the Atlanta Audubon Society further suggests that once you install the nest box, register it on www.NestWatch.org and monitor the activity. This helps to see if the increasing number of nest boxes will help save the Brown-headed Nuthatch from further decline. 

Bird of the Month: Brown-headed Nuthatch 


• 
The Brown-headed Nuthatches are year-round residents in Georgia. They are also one of the few birds that are found almost solely in the US. 
• They are a small songbird - only about 4” tall with a wingspan of about 7”. They are smaller than the Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches. 
•They have a brown cap with a white chest and belly. The wings are bluish-gray and they have a sharp black beak. 
 Brown-headed Nuthatches eat seeds and insects. They’ll come to your feeders for sunflower meats, black oil sunflower seeds, suet, mealworms, and peanut hearts. They forage in pine trees and will use their beak to pry into the cracks in the bark and may hide seed in the bark crevices. They may use a chip of bark held in their beak as a tool to pry off more bark looking for insects. You’ll see them climb head first down the tree trunks as they look for food. 
 They nest in tree cavities usually abandoned by woodpeckers but will also use nest boxes. The nesting sites are usually less than 10’ off the ground. The nests are made of feathers, hair, grass, bark fibers, fur, pine seed wings, and other soft material. There are other ‘helpers’, usually young males, which help bring food to the female and to the young after they hatch. 
 They have one brood per year. The clutch is made up of 3-9 white or buff-colored eggs with reddish brown spots. Incubation time is 12-14 days and they fledge in 18-19 days. 
• Brown-headed Nuthatches often join other species such as Pine Warblers, chickadees and woodpeckers looking for food. 
 Their primary predators are squirrels, snakes, raccoons, and cats. 
 They make a high pitched, squeaking noise. 

 
Audubon Field Trips 


Check out the upcoming field trips from the Atlanta Audubon Society (get in touch with them for more information at (678-973-2437). Two this month are close by (*). 

Saturday February 7th Piedmont Park 8AM
 
Birding Focus: We'll be looking for wintering birds and permanent residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. 

Sunday February 8th Noonday Creek 8AM 
Birding Focus: Wintering and permanent residents in wetland and woodland habitats. Likely species include Great Blue heron, woodpeckers, thrushes, warblers and Blue-headed Vireo. Any level of skill is welcome. 

Wednesday February 11th Reynolds Nature Preserve 8AM 
Birding Focus: We will look for winter woodland birds such as woodpeckers, including Pileated Woodpeckers, and Barred Owls. The trail passes through mature deciduous forest and along several ponds. 

Friday February 13th Ft. Yargo State Park 9:30AM
 
Birding Focus: Fort Yargo State Park has some real interesting habitat on a very easy walk, the Bird Berry Trail. It is handicapped accessible, too. There are some really nice marshland areas, 275 acre Lake Marbury, and nice mixed hardwood forest. We will look for a variety of woodpeckers, warblers, and wintering and permanent residents. 

Saturday February 14th Chicopee Lake 8AM 
Birding Focus: Come celebrate the Great Backyard Bird Count at the Elachee Nature Science Center's Chicopee Lake, a favorite site for birders. We expect to see waterfowl, including Mallards, American Black Ducks, Gadwall, Hooded Merganser, Wood Ducks; wading birds; wetland birds; winter visitors; and resident birds, including sparrows, woodpeckers, Hermit Thrushes, kinglets, and Yellow-rumped Warblers. This walk is open to birders of all abilities; families with children 10 and older are welcome. No dogs or strollers are allowed. 

Saturday February 14th Hard Labor Creek State Park 1:30PM
 
Birding Focus: Hard Labor Creek is the 2nd largest GA State Park. It boasts a variety of habitats and has a history of birds like Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, and a variety of waterfowl on Lake Rutledge. During this short walk, we'll look for winter residents, including woodland birds, waterfowl, and raptors. 

Saturday February 21st Morgan Falls Overlook Park 8:30AM
 
Birding Focus: Join us for a family-friendly guided bird walk along the trail at Overlook Park. The winter months will offer opportunities to see waterfowl and eagles. Binoculars will be available to borrow. Ages 6+ are welcome. Preregistration is required. To register, go to the Sandy Springs Recreation & Parks Department website. Or call 770-730-5600. 

*Wednesday February 25th Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve 8AM
 
Birding Focus: We will be looking for wintering and resident birds. This walk is suitable for adults and children over 14 years of age. Please do not bring your dog. 

Friday February 27th Panola Mountain State Park 9AM 

Birding Focus: Winter residents of wetlands & forest, including sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds. 

*Saturday February 28th Fernbank Forest 8:30AM 
Birding Focus: Come discover more about the wintering and resident birds of Fernbank Forest. This program is excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. All ages are welcome. We recommend participants bring binoculars, field guides and water with them. Once the walk begins, participants must remain with the group for the duration of the program. This program is free for Fernbank Museum members and Atlanta Audubon Society members. Advance reservations are required at 404.929.6400. Participants should check in at the Museum ticketing counter, then meet the walk leaders in the Museum lobby. The group will depart promptly at 8:00 a.m. Due to the nature of the program, latecomers will not be accepted. Participant capacity is 25 people. 

Friday February 28th Panola Mountain State Park 9AM 
Birding Focus: Winter residents of wetlands & forest, including sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds. 

Saturday March 7th Piedmont Park 8AM 
Birding Focus: We'll be looking for wintering birds and permanent residents. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. 

Sunday March 8th Noonday Creek 8AM 
Birding Focus: We will work along the 'sparrow field' in hopes of finding sparrows and other grass/weed-loving birds. Next it's on to the large, grassy 'water control bowl' and its dense riparian corridor for more sparrows, wrens, warblers, and more. Once the sun has warmed up the shadowy, brushy corridors and fields just north of the parking lot, we'll finish here in hopes of encountering some flocks with resident and early migrating birds. Any level of skill is
 welcome.


Hope to see you soon, 
Linda, Brittany, Jessica, Jeremy & Greyson 

The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station 
2316 D Main Street Tucker, GA 30084 

Hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6PM Sunday: Closed 
Contact us at 404-474-7072 or [email protected] – we love to get your feedback!



Like us on Facebook! 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Garden-Enthusiast-Backyard-Nature-Station/183052068407686