How to Attract White-Crowned Sparrows

White-crowned sparrow

Intro: White-crowned sparrows look similar to house sparrows, but they have a prominent white and black stripe on the head. The rest of their bodies are gray or light brown, and they have an orange-yellow beak. These wild birds are much less common at bird feeders than house sparrows, but they may visit your balcony garden when hungry in the winter. They eat insects, including caterpillars and beetles, in the summer, and mainly eat birdseed during the winter. White-crowned sparrows from different regions have slightly different colors, and because their songs are learned, there are also regional song dialects. There are several white-crowned sparrow subspecies.


How to Attract Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Intro: The ruby-throated hummingbird is the most common hummingbird in eastern North America. It is the only North American hummingbird that nests east of the Mississippi. This 3.5-inch wild bird weighs an eighth of an ounce; its heart beats 250 times per minute, and it can beat its wings about 50 times per second. Male ruby-throated hummingbirds have a shiny green back and ruby red throat (that may look black in certain lighting). The female birds are larger, have green backs with a white breast and throat. Females also have rounded tails with white tips, while the males have a forked tail with no white.


Ants: A Garden Pest

Pest garden antsAnts can spark a debate with gardeners. Some will say that they’re harmless and that they’ll actually help pollinate your flowers. But other gardeners have had definite problems with these little insects.


How to Attract Ladybugs

ladybug lady bird beetle

Intro: The ladybug, also called ladybird and lady beetle, is great for container gardens because they keep out those annoying aphid pests that eat your container plants. Don’t destroy any yellow eggs laid underneath plant leaves, as these will hatch into ladybug larvae. They have a very different-looking larvae, so don’t kill any insects that look like the one in the photo below. Ladybug larvae actually eat more pests than adults. Ladybugs can live to three years old and can grow to about 0.3 inches.


Identifying and Treating Rust Fungus

Rust fungus sunflowerRust fungus appears as a brown rusty coating or spotting on plant leaves and stems, and the spores will be orange-brown raised bumps on the undersides of the plant leaves. If you check your container plants often, you will be able to spot rust early on and treat it before it becomes too serious in your balcony garden.


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