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A Cozy Winter Reading List for 2023

Read any good books lately? The holiday season can sometimes feel like chaos, with our senses assaulted by crowds of people, electronic devices, and a roller coaster of changing weather conditions. Many of us may forget to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading in a quiet, cozy room, curled up under a blanket with our  Read the Rest…


Native Animal Profile: Stealthy (and Cute!) Owls

Out of the 18 species of owls found throughout North America, there are eight species of owls seen in Maryland.  Some are very common, such as the eastern screech owl or barred owl, yet some can only be seen occasionally in the winter or during migration, like the majestic snowy owl and the short-eared owl.



Native Plant Profile: Evergreens

Winter is here, and for many animals that means either migrating or finding ways to hibernate and become less active in the winter months. For our plants and trees, the options are more limited. When temperatures start to dip and the days begin to shorten, deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves. What about plants  Read the Rest…


In Praise of Dormancy

It is winter in Maryland. The days are short. The weather is wacky; it could be snow, rain, wintry mix, 60 degrees and sunny. Just spin the wheel! In our former agrarian days, winter was a time to pause and take stock, to prepare for the coming spring. For Mother Nature and her wildlife, it’s  Read the Rest…


Get Outside at Night: Experimenting with Light

During the autumn months the days begin to get shorter. Take advantage of our extra hours of darkness with these light-generating experiments. An outside place like your own backyard provides the perfect laboratory to learn about flammability, the piezoelectric effect, and triboluminescence.



Habitat Tip: Glow-In-The-Dark Backyards

As winter approaches, many of us dread the shortening hours of daylight and increasing darkness. In this spookiest of seasons, I like to focus on ways to appreciate the nighttime and the bits of unexpected light hidden in the natural world. Plenty of living things have unique ways to glow in the dark!


Native Animal Profile: Our BFFs, Bats

When people think of Halloween a few things may come to mind: pumpkins, ghosts, skeletons, candy, monsters, and of course, bats! As the only true flying mammals in existence, bats face a lot of misconceptions. You may have heard folks saying things like “blind as a bat” and mentioning that they could fly and get  Read the Rest…


Macro Mini Maryland

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer Have you ever looked at someone you’ve known your entire life and realized you never noticed something about their appearance? For many of us who have lived in Maryland a long time, it’s easy to leave our  Read the Rest…


Chlorophyll Leaf Prints in 5 Easy Steps

The art of leaf printing has been around for hundreds of years, with the first example discovered in the year 1,228 CE. From the 13th to the 19th century, botanists, herbalists, and doctors all over the world used herbal prints for medical research and identification. In this country, Benjamin Franklin began printing a leaf on  Read the Rest…



Native Plant Profile: Yours Frondly, Ferns

Who needs flowers when you have fiddleheads? Ferns not only provide foraging space for ground-feeding birds, but they create vital shelter for numerous species of Maryland wildlife. Let’s explore a bit about why ferns are fascinating and look at some of the benefits of planting them in your home habitat.








Habitat Tips: Owl-Friendly Backyards

Owls are captivating creatures, and it is no surprise that many people would love to have them visit their backyard landscapes! As predators, owls depend on having healthy food webs, so it is important to think about the big picture to properly support owls in your home habitats. 


Backyard Books for 2021

Did you know? Maryland is home to over 1,200 species of wasps! Not all of those species are aggressive like yellowjackets and hornets, and even the aggressive species have their place in our landscapes.


Backyard Blurbs

As spring continues, young wildlife are going to venture out from their dens and nests. It’s important to remember that wildlife don’t have the same parenting procedures as we do, and they often ‘free range’ their young. Check out our page on Think Twice Before Rescuing Young Wildlife to learn about normal behaviors of young  Read the Rest…



Warm Season Grasses for Wildlife

Warm season grasses are grasses that grow best during the summer (June-August) and often form large clumps. These grasses provide excellent wildlife habitat, in addition to erosion control. Warm season grasses typically are tall plants with large root systems that help keep soil in place.




Backyard Birding Tips

There is no better time to connect with wildlife in your backyard than now. With spring underway, many bird species are increasing their activity. Winter birds like dark-eyed juncos are heading north while migrants like ruby-throated hummingbirds are returning to Maryland. 



Maryland Native Wildlife: Mining Bees

With spring underway, many species are emerging from their winter rest, including our local bees. By far, the most well known bee is the non-native European honey bee (Apis mellifera). However, Maryland is home to over 430 species of bees, many of which are native and all of which provide important roles in pollination.



Native Animal Profile: Cedar Waxwing

Often heard and not seen, the lovely Cedar Waxwing can be found year-round throughout Maryland. Cedar Waxwings sport a pale brown, crested head with a sleek black mask that runs from their bill and around their eyes. The mask has white outlines which help accentuate it. Waxwings have a brown chest that fades into a  Read the Rest…




Winter Greens for Wildlife

Woody plants are essential for wildlife. In the winter, evergreen plants can provide much-needed shelter and food for local animals. Consider adding one or more of these native plants to your backyard landscape to provide for local wildlife. 


Habitat Project: Eastern Screech-owl Boxes

Did you know? Maryland is home to eight species of owls, several of which are year-round residents while others visit during migration. The smallest resident owl in Maryland is the Eastern Screech-owl, which is often under 10 inches in length. Eastern Screech-owls are formidable hunters and are adapted to survive in both suburban and rural  Read the Rest…


The Cultivar Question

While searching for the best plants to include with a garden, you have likely come across cultivars for sale. The use of native cultivars (aka nativars) has been growing as the popularity of native plants surges. 




Seek and Destroy: the Spotted Lanternfly

Despite its name, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) isn’t a fly, rather it is a plant hopper, which is native to China, India and Vietnam. The first infestation in the United States was reported in Pennsylvania in 2014; this insect has now been detected in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York. The first Maryland  Read the Rest…



Lawn Alternatives

For many years, the American lawn has been viewed as a status symbol. Traditional lawns, described as a single warm season grass species like zoysia or bermuda, completely covering a yard space and maintained at three inches or shorter, are unfortunately often ecological wastelands that require excess water, nutrients, pesticides and maintenance. Traditional lawns also  Read the Rest…


Native Animal Profile: Baltimore Oriole

With striking orange and black plumage, it is no wonder why the Baltimore Oriole was selected as Maryland’s state bird. The male’s colors resemble the coat of arms for Sir George Calvert, First Lord of Baltimore. Baltimore Orioles are medium-sized birds. Male Baltimore Orioles are flame orange and black with a solid black head and  Read the Rest…



Books for Backyard Wildlife Habitat Gardeners

Here is a confession: I love books! I’ve always been a bookworm and I often bring books as reference materials to my presentations for fellow book lovers. So, if you are like me and are interested in adding to your backyard book collection, below are a few of my recommendations.


Rethinking Spring with Native Plants

This winter felt like it was almost endless. When the crocuses finally popped in my yard, I was ecstatic. For me, crocuses and daffodils have always been harbingers of spring, but these non-native plants in our landscapes offer little benefit for our native wildlife. There are many native plants, however, which co-evolved with our local  Read the Rest…



Native Animal Profile: Evening Grosbeak

Multiple species of finches make their home in Maryland. Some are year-round residents while others, like the evening grosbeak, are part-time visitors. Evening grosbeaks are chunky finches. Males have striking yellow and black plumage with prominent white and black wings. Females are mostly gray and also possess white and black wings. Both sexes have thick,  Read the Rest…


Native Birds Need Native Plants

Here at Wild Acres, we like to promote using native plants in backyards to attract local wildlife species. Over the years, Doug Tallamy’s research has shown a clear relationship between native plants and birds, linking the importance of native plants for supporting insects like caterpillars. Tallamy’s research has revealed that native oaks can support more  Read the Rest…


Native Plant Profile: Silky Dogwood

Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) is a medium-sized, native in the dogwood family (Cornaceae), and its blue berries are savored by many songbirds. More than 45 types of songbirds and game birds have been documented consuming the fatty berries in the fall.



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