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

Author’s Note

Welcome to the winter edition of the HabiChat, our quarterly backyard wildlife habitat newsletter from the Wild Acres program. Winter is usually a time of dormancy for many species. However, quite a few critters are active during this time of year! This issue includes information on one of our winter visitors—the yellow-bellied sapsucker—as well as tips on taking kids out for a winter wildlife safari. It also contains information on winter nest box maintenance tips.

In addition, the University of Maryland Extension’s Woodland Stewardship Education has several upcoming events that may be of interest to backyard enthusiasts. Registration for the spring session of The Woods in Your Backyard online course is now open. This self-paced, non-credit course runs 10 weeks from March 7-May 21, 2018. The course will help landowners convert lawn to natural areas and enhance stewardship of existing natural areas.

On Feb. 20, a one-day Farm and Forestry Succession Workshop will occur in Boonsboro. The workshop focuses on assisting landowners how to communicate objectives to their families, and plan for a smooth and secure transition of the farm or forestry lands to future generations.

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

Eastern gray squirrel tracks in the snow.

Eastern gray squirrel tracks in the snow. The larger tracks are made by its hind feet; photo by Kerry Wixted

In This Issue:

Winter Nest Box Maintenance

Now that nesting season is over, it’s time to take care of your nest boxes.

This is a great time of year to inspect any nest structures that you have and replace any potentially rotted material. Read the rest...

Winter Wildlife Safari

In winter, the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. Animals deal with these changes in different ways.

Some animals—like Baltimore orioles—migrate, or travel to other locations. Others—like little brown bats—hibernate, or go through a deep sleep. Others still—like gray squirrels—adapt to the cold by changing their daily activity patterns and layering on fat to insulate their bodies. Read the rest...

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers

Have you ever noticed an almost straight line of holes gracing the trees in your yard or neighborhood? Most people generally identify these holes as belonging to a woodpecker, but only one species in our region feeds in a horizontal line: the yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius). Read the rest…

Want more? Check out some past winter articles as well:

Dead Trees are the Bees Knees
Habitat Tips for Winter Wildlife
Make Your Own Suet
Pruning in Winter
Water in Winter
Winter Berries for Wildlife

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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.​