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HABITAT - the arrangement of food, water, cover, and space - IS THE KEY.

Author’s Note

Welcome to the fall edition of the HabiChat, our quarterly backyard wildlife habitat newsletter from the Wild Acres program. Fall is my favorite time of year. This issue is dedicated to a native fruit tree known as the persimmon, explains why opossums are awesome and lists recommended plants for fall pollinators. In addition, there is a small piece on sowing fall seeds and two new citizen-science projects you may want to check out.

If there is a particular topic that you would like to see included in a future edition, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Happy Habitats!

Kerry Wixted

Persimmon flower, right: Persimmon fruit; photos by Steven J. Baskauf

In This Issue:

Backyard Wildlife: Tracks

Tracking wildlife is a fun activity that everyone can enjoy. One of the most important items for tracking wildlife is a field journal. By keeping a field journal, you can record observations you have made and can preserve your finds. You also can write down crucial information that may be helpful for identifying animal tracks. Read the Rest…

Citizen Science: Bats, Butterflies and Moths—Oh My!

Need help identifying butterflies or moths? There’s an app for that! New as of July 2017, LepSnap is a free, community field guide that uses photos submitted by users. When you upload a butterfly or moth photo, LepSnap analyzes the image and suggests possible identifications that can be later verified by experts. The app further  Read the Rest…

Fall Seed Sowing

Did you know? Fall is the perfect time to sow many wildflower seeds! Why sow seed in the fall? Here’s a list of advantages: Clay soils are easier to work Earlier blooms High moisture conditions More time to plant Natural cold stratification In Maryland, the best times to sow seeds range from mid-September through the Read the Rest…

Fueling Fall Pollinators

While many flowers are finished blooming by the fall, pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths, wasps and flower flies are still out foraging for food. This late group of pollinators also includes the monarch butterfly, which needs nectar to fuel its southward migration. Feed fall pollinators by providing late-blooming nectar resources. Read the Rest...

Native Plant Profile: Persimmon

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is a high wildlife value tree in the persimmon family (Ebenaceae). The genus name, Diospyros, literally translates to “Fruit of the Gods,” but when unripe, the fruit can be quite distasteful! This large fruit tree can grow up to 80 feet in height and prefers partial to full shade environments. It grows best in Read the Rest…

Native Wildlife: Opossum

Lurking in backyards around Maryland is an unsung hero: the Virginia opossum. With its rat-like tail and 50-tooth grin, the Virginia opossum isn’t always revered. However, recent research from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies has indicated the Virginia opossum as an important tick predator, grooming off and consuming almost 4,000 ticks per week!   Read the Rest…

Fall Habitat Tip: Leave the leaves!

Leaf litter provides habitat for all sorts of beneficial invertebrates, as well as shelter for eggs, larvae, pupae and even adult butterflies. Leaf litter also helps replenish soil nutrients.

We want to hear from you!

Letters, e-mail, photos, drawings. Let us know how successful you are as you create wildlife habitat on your property.

Write to Me!

Kerry Wixted
Natural Resources Biologist II
Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service
MD Dept of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401

phone: 410-260-8566
fax: 410-260-8596
e-mail: kerry.wixted@maryland.gov

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Habichat, the newsletter for Maryland's Stewards of Backyard Wildlife, is published by the Wildlife and Heritage Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The facilities and services of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are available to all without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, physical or mental disability. This document is available in alternative format upon request from a qualified individual with a disability.​