House Wren Housekeeping Secrets!

House Wren hatchlings have prodigious poop output. That’s just one of the many visual discoveries I uncovered while spying on a nesting box for the past few weeks. A confession is in order: I do not consider myself a birder. And I do not keep “life lists” of bird species as so many birders do. But when any wildlife species sets up housekeeping near me, I take notice and observe. In the case of these House Wrens, they moved into an old nesting box I had installed three years ago against the interior wood frame of my arbor, a site I use as my outdoor office and an escape from city life. The nest box is less than ten feet from my arbor desk and that gave me a bird’s eye view of their life, including diaper duty. For like all newborns, things poop. Some more than others.


Continue reading

Yellow Goat’s Beard of Oakland County

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

In the sultry days of August, meadows, fields and un-mowed roadsides of rural sections of Oakland County present colorful potpourris of wildflowers of every size and shape. Many are native species, others are naturalized plants that crossed the oceans with early immigrants and now thrive in our midst. The flowers attract butterflies and insects of all sorts, as well as human admirers. Among the mix in Oakland County is Tragopogon dubius, a lesser known species with several common names including yellow goat’s beard and yellow salsify. It’s an attractive, but rather unremarkable yellow flower whose presence often goes unnoticed; however its three to four-inch globe-shaped seedhead is eye-catching and resembles a giant dandelion on steroids. And when the sunlight hits the seedhead just right, it’s stunning. Continue reading

Become a Master Gardener in Oakland County

Whether you’re a gardening pro or have newly grown a green thumb, this program is for anyone who is eager to participate and share gardening best practices!

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension is accepting applicants until August 11th to participate in the training classes for the Extension Master Gardener Program Waterford (Oakland County) that runs from August 17th to December 7th. Join a community of over 560 Oakland County volunteers all while expanding your knowledge in ways to care for your lawn, trees, flowers, and more!

Continue reading

I Am Not a Chipmunk!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

I was blissfully unaware of the existence of thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) living in Michigan, let alone in Oakland County, until a summer day ten years ago. On that day of discovery, I was wandering the Shiawassee Basin Nature Preserve in Springfield Township admiring wildflowers, dragonflies and butterflies in a small meadow. I was just a few hundred feet from the Springfield Township Civic Center when suddenly a small chipmunk-like creature popped up out of the ground in a field rich with clover, grasshoppers and bugs of all sorts. I managed one photo before its hyper-speed vanishing act commenced.

Continue reading

August Business Workshops

Diverse happy interns learning new computer software listening to mentor teacher coach teaching explaining online project application on laptop, smiling multi-ethnic coworkers work together in office

Are you prepared to kickstart a new business or expand your current one? Connect with Oakland County’s One Stop Shop Business Center experts and get advice on small business loans, start-ups, and more. Register today for one of our August workshops and learn from the One Stop Shop’s business advisors as they provide the help you’ll need to take your career and business to the next level.

Continue reading