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Nature at Home: Making a home for a beautiful little bird!

Nature at Home: Making a home for a beautiful little bird!

Bluebirds, seven inches in length fully grown, have a blue back and head and yellow-brown and white chest and belly. They live in meadows, open woods, parklands, and even in neighborhoods with tall trees and some lawns with borders of large shrubs. They build nests in cavities such as holes in trees, fence posts or well-designed nest boxes where the female lays four to six pale blue eggs. When nesting, they become very territorial and are known to dive bomb cats to drive them away from the nest. Bluebirds thrive on a diet of caterpillars and insects and will also eat berries if available.
Creature Feature: Snakes Alive!

Creature Feature: Snakes Alive!

All of the below snakes are often vibrantly colored, and you should consider yourself lucky to find any one of them in your backyard or out on a trail. If you’re unsure of the identity of a snake, the best course of action is to leave it alone! Each snake plays an important role in our ecosystems here in Florida, so we must always refrain from killing native snakes, even if we think they might be venomous.
Nature at Home: Florida’s Native Habitats and Species

Nature at Home: Florida’s Native Habitats and Species

Wetlands provide many important functions. They store and filter our water, provide wildlife habitat and, in more urban places, provide needed greenspace. Whether you explore our wetlands from their edges or a boardwalk, during the humid summer or on dry, cool winter days, you will find that they host their own special community of plants and animals. Stan Rosenthal, Forest Advocate for the Florida Wildlife Federation, takes you on a tour to see some interesting plants that you might see in a forested wetland.
Little Fish of Big Importance

Little Fish of Big Importance

The forage fish species on our coasts and seas, although small in size, are critical to the well-being of the entire saltwater food chain. Examples of forage fish are pinfish, mullet, menhaden and anchovies. Due to the importance of aquatic forage species, Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF) remains an active member of the Forage Fish Coalition, an effort to bring needed attention and resources to the research and conservation of these often underappreciated and overlooked saltwater fish.
Creature Feature: American alligator

Creature Feature: American alligator

One of our state’s most iconic creatures is the alligator. This ancient species is estimated to have existed on the planet for 150-230 million years! That means they lived with the dinosaurs.
Nature at Home: Small Space Gardening

Nature at Home: Small Space Gardening

Growing in containers or very small garden plots is a good way to try out gardening with just a little commitment, or to nourish an existing love of growing things if you only have a small space available. Place containers with your favorite veggies and herbs right outside the door or on the patio and you are gardening!
Creature Feature: Florida scrub jay

Creature Feature: Florida scrub jay

Florida has some wildlife species that only live here, and one of them is the Florida scrub jay.
Nature at Home: Creeper vs. Ivy

Nature at Home: Creeper vs. Ivy

Taking a walk in the woods, around the neighborhood, or even in your yard, you might see two very similar vines: Virginia creeper and poison ivy. They look alike, often grow together and are often confused. Knowing how to positively identify these two vines can come in very handy.
Creature Feature: Burrowing Owl

Creature Feature: Burrowing Owl

Florida is blessed with five types of owls: the barred or swamp owl, the great-horned owl, the white-faced barn owl, the tiny screech owl and the distinctive burrowing owl. While each is special in its own way, the burrowing owl is distinctive in that it is a bird that lives underground! In Florida, they may be found in the central and southern parts of the peninsula and grow to a little under 10 inches in height. With long legs adapted to life on the ground, they eat mice, moles and insects such as termites and grasshoppers, and prefer prairies or pastures in which to live
Nature at Home: Marvelous Moth

Nature at Home: Marvelous Moth

Wonderful pictures of a newly emerged giant silk moth called Polyphemus, Antheraea polyphemus, were recently shared with me. Hanging with its wings folded, the moth’s size and antennae are noticeable features. Its wingspan is 4-6 inches and the comb-like antennae are sensitive to smell, useful for finding food or mates, and possibly navigation. Polyphemus has eye spots on all 4 wings, with two distinctive spots said to mimic the eyes of a larger animal – maybe even a Great Horned Owl. That should be enough to scare off a host of predators!