Bird Families

Red-crested Short-tailed Sunbird / Deleornis fraseri

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In the warm season, garden plots delight the eye with a riot of colors and a variety of forms, but as soon as cold weather comes to our region, everything around immediately loses its charm. And even though the inexorable succession of the seasons cannot be stopped, it is quite possible to make your garden decorative even in the off-season! Cold-growing cereals can be the first assistants in this matter. They do an excellent job of decorating the site in the cold season and are now at the peak of popularity. So with them your garden will become not only beautiful, but also fashionable!

What does "cold growing" mean?

Even if you have not seen the division of cereals into cold and warm growing before, it is easy to guess that the key sign of such a classification is the period of decorativeness and the time of growth. Thus, the category of cold-growing cereals includes those cereals that begin growing at low temperatures in early spring.

The cold-growing category includes those cereals that begin growing at low temperatures in early spring.

These plants are among the first to bring green colors to the grayness of cold days. And it should be noted that as long as the weather is humid and the sun is not hot, such cereals grow very quickly. So, by the beginning of summer, they reach the state of the greatest decorativeness, but when the temperature exceeds + 25 ° C, and the amount of precipitation is insignificant, they stop developing. Under especially unfavorable conditions, the leaves of some types of cold-growing cereals wilt and become withered, but this does not mean at all that the plants die off, this is their usual reaction to a hot period. With the arrival of autumn, they, like a phoenix, will certainly come to life and continue their active growth until frosts come close.

The "family" of cold-growing cereals includes: reed grass, sesleria, pike, fescue, sedge, feather grass, spreading pine forest, soft bukharnik, bulbous ryegrass, pearl barley, hedgehog, common rush, fragrant bison, foxtail, mannik, etc.

The choice of cold-growing cereals is large, so you can choose to your taste both large species and varieties of these plants, and small enough to emphasize individual elements. And the variety of shades of cereals will help you realize your wildest expectations!

Thus, the “family” of cold-growing cereals includes the following plants: reed grass, sesleria, pike, fescue, sedge, feather grass, broad-leaved pine forest, soft bukharnik, bulbous ryegrass, pearl-barley, hedgehog, broad-leaved rush, sweet bison, foxtail, mannik and others. I'll tell you more about some of them.

Meadow foxtail

This plant unites many species, but in decorative use the meadow foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis), the form of Aureovariegatus, has gained the greatest popularity. It is a small variegated plant native to northern European meadows. Loves partial shade and moist, humus-rich soil.

A small rhizome is characteristic of foxtails. Narrow long leaves of golden yellow color are collected in a basal rosette 30–40 cm high. For the flowering period, somewhere in June, the plant produces oblong silky cylindrical spikelets on a long thin peduncle, then the total height reaches 90 cm. After flowering, they are better. cut off, then with a decrease in temperature, the plant will develop more actively. But in the fall, pruning is not worth it - its leaves will rot and serve as fertilizer.

Alpine foxtail (A. alpinus) and reed foxtail (A. arundinaceus) are also occasionally found in compositions.

Pike, or sod meadow

Meadow is a common genus of cereals in temperate latitudes. It is a perennial herb with a height of about 1 m.Deschampsia cespitosa), in our area this species even came up with special names - pike and "hair piece". The last nickname probably went to him for the fact that the spreading inflorescences resemble disheveled hair.

Growing up, the pike forms a turf, or, in a simple way, a hummock. The roots penetrate deep into the soil, holding the plant securely, so be prepared that it will not be easy to get rid of. Thin long leaf blades are rolled inward, forming a rough surface. The color of the leaves is grayish-green, but, depending on the variety, it differs in shade. Inflorescences in the form of large panicles (10-25 cm), grows at the level of 80-100 cm. Usually the flowering period occurs in June, but often the pike does not lose its attractiveness until next spring.

For decorative purposes, the following varieties are grown:

● Bronzeschleier: during flowering, the inflorescences change from green to bronze,
● Goldschleier: distinguished by golden inflorescences and dark red tips of leaves,
● Tardiflora: interesting in that flowering occurs somewhat later than in other varieties of pike,
● Fairy's Joke: unlike other varieties, instead of seeds, young plants immediately grow,
● Ladywood Gold: golden color is characteristic,
● Northern Lights: one of the non-flowering cereals, decorative thanks to its unusual creamy white leaves.

The natural habitat is damp rare forests, the banks of reservoirs and swampy meadows, therefore the pike is unpretentious to the soil and can grow well even with strong soil compaction. It blooms very weakly in shaded areas. Therefore, in order for the plant to show itself in the best possible way, it should recreate natural conditions in the garden - that is, provide high soil moisture and good lighting.

You can also pay attention to other decorative species of meadows, such as winding meadow (D. flexuosa).

Lovebird parrots: description

This type of domestic bird includes nine main subspecies, the main differences of which are related to their appearance. These parrots are called lovebirds, because even in ancient times it was believed that if one of the birds dies, then the other will soon die from longing and sadness.

Appearance

Lovebird parrots are small decorative birds with a body length of 10 to 17 centimeters. The length of the wing of these birds is only 4 cm, and the length of the tail is about 6 cm. Adults weigh about 50 grams on average. These parrots have a relatively large head.

An interesting moment! The main color of lovebirds is green or greenish, although parts of the body such as the upper tail, chest, head, neck and throat may have a very different color, depending on the subspecies of birds.

The beak of this species of parrots is quite thick and powerful, while it has a noticeable curvature. In a state of aggression, a pet is able to cause serious injury to both people and pets. In this case, the color of the beak, depending on the subspecies, can be either red or straw yellow, including other shades. The tail of the bird is relatively short, with a characteristic rounding at the end. The legs of the parrots are also short, although this does not prevent them from moving nimbly on any surfaces, including trees.

Behavior and lifestyle

Forests of the tropics and subtropics are considered the homeland of these domestic birds, while mountain and steppe subspecies are found. As a rule, being in natural conditions, lovebird parrots form numerous flocks and behave quite actively, while feeling great in the air, having excellent flight characteristics. The main activity falls on the daytime, and at night these birds rest in the trees, reliably clinging to branches and twigs. Misunderstandings can arise between flocks in the struggle for living space.

Need to know! Teaching the spoken language of these parrots begins at an early age (one month), since adults are practically not amenable to training. In addition, lovebirds take much longer to memorize individual words than budgies, so few people manage to teach pets to pronounce at least some words.

Lovers of pet parrots should be aware that talkative lovebirds are very rare, as they memorize words with great difficulty. If the house contains several birds, then all the training work will be in vain, so you should not even train them.

Despite this fact, some birds, subject to the perseverance and patience of the owner, still manage to learn up to one and a half dozen words. Tamed lovebirds are very active, communicating with all family members, and with each other. They are loyal to their masters and are very bored when left alone.

How long do parrots lovebirds live

Being at home, when comfortable living conditions are provided for the bird, lovebirds can live up to a maximum of fifteen years. Naturally, in the natural environment, their life expectancy is noticeably shorter.

Types of parrots lovebirds with a photo

If we take lovebirds of all subspecies, then they have both some differences and some similarities.

The subspecies include:

Collared lovebirds (Agapornis swindernianus)

They differ in small size within 13 cm with a tail, up to 3 cm long. The main color of the subspecies is green, while the neck is black with an orange “necklace” on it. The chest area is yellow and the upper tail area is ultramarine or blue. The bird's beak is dark, almost black.

Liliana's lovebirds (Agapornis lilianae)

Have almost the same body size or slightly larger. The main color is similar to rosy-cheeked lovebirds, but the head and throat area are distinguished by a brighter color. Basically, the upper body is greener and the lower body is colored in lighter shades. The bird's beak is red. It is almost impossible to distinguish a female from a male.

Masked lovebirds (Agapornis personatus)

They grow in length up to 15 cm, and the length of their tail is 4 cm.Parrots of this subspecies have a rather bright and beautiful plumage color, while the back, tail, belly and wings are green in color, and the head is black, interspersed with brown tones. The main color of the plumage is orange-yellow. The beak color is red, as well as the complete absence of sexual dimorphism.

Red-faced lovebirds (Agapornis pullarius)

They also have a body length within 15 cm and a tail length of 5 cm.The main color of the plumage is grassy green, while the region of the throat, cheeks, nape and forehead is painted in a bright orange color. Females can be distinguished from males by their orange-colored head and general colors, made in yellowish-green tones.

Pink-faced lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis)

They are characterized by a slightly longer body (almost 17 cm) and a wingspan within 20 cm. Adults weigh up to 60 grams. This subspecies has a rather attractive body color, which has intense green shades with a bluish tint. The throat and cheeks are pink and the forehead is bright red. The beak has a straw-yellow color. Males are somewhat smaller, but their coloring is brighter and more attractive.

Gray-headed lovebirds (Agapornis canus)

The average adult size is about 14 cm, and their main color is green, while the upper chest, head and neck area are colored light gray. The bird's eyes are dark brown, and the beak is light gray. The female's head is colored either green or gray-green.

Fisher's lovebirds (Agapornis fischeri)

They represent birds measuring no more than 15 cm and an average weight of no more than 55 grams.The main color of the plumage is considered green, although the bird's upper part of the tail is blue and the head is yellow-orange. The beak of these birds is red. Distinguishing a female from a male is rather difficult.

Black-winged lovebirds (Agapornis taranta)

This subspecies of lovebirds is considered the largest, since the size of adults is at least 17 cm.The main color of the plumage is considered to be grassy green, while the beak itself, the forehead and the border around the eyes are bright red. The female's head is green.

Black-cheeked lovebirds (Agapornis nigrigenis)

They are characterized by an average body size, within 14 cm. In appearance they are similar to masked lovebirds, with some differences expressed in the color of the plumage on the head (gray), as well as the upper part of the chest, painted in a red-orange shade.

All subspecies of lovebirds differ not only in appearance, but also in natural habitats.

Natural habitats

The territories of countries such as Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Tanzania, as well as the territory of the island of Sao Tome are the natural habitat of red-faced lovebirds. Here they can be found in small groups within the forest clearings, as well as on the edges of the forest. Pink-cheeked lovebirds are found in countries such as Angola, South Africa and Namibia. For gray-headed lovebirds, the natural habitat is the forest stands, palm groves and date plantations of the islands of Madagascar and Seychelles, as well as Zanzibar and Mauritius.

Fisher's lovebirds prefer to settle in Northern Tanzania, choosing the limits of the savannah, as well as within Lake Victoria. Black-winged lovebirds prefer to settle in the mountainous tropical forests of Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Black-cheeked lovebirds are found in northern Tanzania, while West and Central Africa is home to collared lovebirds. In the acacia savannah of eastern Zambia, the subspecies of the lovebird Liliana lives. They are also not a problem to meet in the north of Mozambique and in the south of Tanzania. A subspecies such as masked lovebirds represent numerous populations in Kenya and Tanzania.

Keeping a lovebird parrot at home

These pets are not difficult to keep, so this process is available for all beginner bird lovers. The most important thing is to choose the right cage, equip it and organize proper nutrition for the birds, as well as regularly carry out preventive measures.

Buying Tips

It is not so easy to choose a healthy lovebird for yourself, because when a person approaches, even a sick bird is able to revive, as it were, giving the impression of a very healthy bird. If a person has no experience, then it is better to put this procedure on the shoulders of a specialist. The bird should be active and cheerful, while the plumage should be even and shiny. In addition, you should pay attention to the following points:

  • Feathers should fit snugly against the body.
  • Feathers near the cloaca should not be stuck together.
  • In the area of ​​the abdomen, there should be a thin, but noticeable layer of subcutaneous fat.
  • The voice is clear without the characteristic hoarseness.
  • The beak is strongly curved, strong and symmetrical.
  • The color of the feet should be uniform.
  • There should be no growths, spots or peeling on the feet.
  • Claws are uniform and glossy.
  • The eye color is clear and sparkling.

As a rule, up to six months, the color of individuals is not so intense and bright. After the first molt, after 6 months, the birds acquire an attractive, bright plumage color. It is not recommended to buy lovebirds in the markets or in questionable pet stores, as you can buy weak, sick or old individuals.

Experts advise purchasing parrots only from well-known breeders who have extensive experience in breeding exotic domestic birds.

Cell device, filling

The bird cage should be large enough to allow the birds to spread their wings or even fly from perch to perch. When choosing, you should give preference to a cage with a nickel-plated coating, as well as additional elements made of organic glass and plastic. It is undesirable to purchase galvanized or copper cages, with additional elements of lead, bamboo and wood. These metals can be toxic to birds, and bamboo and wood are not durable or hygienic.

In addition, it is better to choose rectangular models with a flat lid and a retractable bottom, which will make it easy to maintain the cage. The distance between the rods of the cage should not be more than 1.5 centimeters. To keep one parrot, it is enough to acquire a cage measuring 80x30x40 cm, and for keeping two parrots, its dimensions should be no less than 100x40x50 cm.The cage should be installed in a well-lit place, but without access to direct sunlight, and also without the presence of drafts. The height of the cage from the floor level is about 165 cm.

An important point! It is advisable that the cage door is always open, which will allow the parrot to feel free and comfortable. The bird will be able to fly into its rest house at any time. The only problem is the presence of a cat in the house who will not miss the opportunity to catch a bird.

There should be a layer of sawdust at the bottom of the cage. Before using them for their intended purpose, the sawdust is washed, sieved and processed by high temperature, placing it in the oven. In addition to sawdust, it is permissible to use sifted clean river sand that has undergone the same treatment.

In the cage, you need to install a couple of feeders, an autodrinker and a small bath for the birds to take water procedures, since they love it very much. At some height from the bottom, a pair of wooden perches should be fixed, which are updated from time to time. As additional elements, you can fix something like rings, ladders, ropes or swings, if possible and if the size of the cage allows.

What to feed

The optimal diet for lovebirds should consist of ready-made feed mixtures from foreign manufacturers, since domestic feed does not meet the basic requirements. It is very important that parrots are provided with greenery without restriction. Dandelions, carrot tops, clover, etc. are suitable for this.

In addition, a balanced diet should include fruits, berries, and various vegetables. At the same time, it is not recommended to feed these birds with mango, papaya, persimmon and avocado, as they can harm the health of lovebirds. Parrots can be given young twigs of various fruit trees so that the birds can grind their beak.

Care features

The rules of care are not complicated, but a number of recommendations still have to be adhered to. The tips are as follows:

  • The amount of feed should be such that the birds have enough food for a day. It is advisable to fill the feeders with them in the evening.
  • If the food is wet, then it is given in the morning, but it is removed from the cage at night.
  • Feeders are washed and wiped with a dry cloth every day, and before filling them with a new portion of feed.
  • Fresh and clean water is only poured into a clean drinking bowl, which is washed twice a week.

Once a week, the parrot dwelling is washed with hot water and soap, after which it is wiped dry and dried. The litter is also changed once a week when the cage is cleaned.

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Veinik

Veinik (lat.Calamagrostis) is a perennial herb that has a colossal number of species and subspecies, many of which are worthy of being a decoration of a garden plot.We also know it under the following names: steppe reed, kunishnik, chapolot, chapuga, etc. The height of the plant ranges from 20 cm to 1.8 m, depending on the species, but the "identification marks" for all are: shiny rich green leaves , large fluffy inflorescences-panicles of a cylindrical shape, serving as the end of the shoot. By the way, these inflorescences can change color during their development. In general, this plant often looks like an elegant sheaf.

Of the advantages of the reed grass, it is worth mentioning that it blooms intensively even in partial shade, it is picky about lighting and soil, but drought can be fatal for it.

For decorative purposes, you should pay attention to the following types:

● short-haired reed (C. brachytricha) - 1.5 m tall, very lush plant with silvery pink inflorescences,
● reed grass (C. x acutiflora) - one of the tallest hybrids,
● reed reed (C. arundinacea) - is distinguished by its special frost resistance,
● reed grass (C. anthoxanthoides (Munro) Regel) - 15-60 cm tall, characterized by golden-pink inflorescences,
● ground reed (C. epigeios Roth) - the most common species, grows up to 1.5 m in height, releasing pink panicles with large flowers during the flowering period,
● reed grass (C. acutiflora) - the earliest flowering cereal, growing up to 1.5 m.

Sesleria

Sesleria is a perennial flowering plant native to European meadows. It grows mainly on independently formed turf - hummock. Leaves are flat, not wide. Inflorescences on long peduncles rise above the total mass of leaves, resembling dense spikelets or small heads.

Sesleria prefers a sunny location, but also tolerates shading. Of the 27 species that exist in nature, only three are used to decorate the garden plot: blue sesleria (S. caerulea), autumn sesleria (S. autumnalis) and brilliant sesleria (S. nitida).

Sesleria blue has a beautiful gray-blue color of leaves: small - 20-30 cm tall, but very beautiful. This plant can be said to be early, even by the standards of cold-growing cereals: it begins to grow back immediately after the soil thaws and blooms from the end of May.

But autumn sesleria, on the contrary, is late among cold-growing ones. It has wider leaves, and itself is larger - about 50 cm tall. A very spectacular plant: the spikelets change their color from silvery white to brown, and the foliage is bright green for almost the entire season. The brilliant sesleria is the same in size as the autumn sesleria, and the same in terms of development as the blue sesleria. At the same time, the decorative effect of the plant is provided by the combination of the blue color of the upper side of the leaf and the silver back side. Leaves live 2-3 years, but every spring you should still clean the bush. Loves sunny, non-swampy places.

Agricultural advice on cold-growing cereals

These cereals' addiction to cold weather certainly affects their grooming requirements. I want to focus on the specific features of agricultural technology that are inherent in all cold-growing cereals.

1. They are frost-resistant, and you shouldn't worry about their shelter for the winter.

2. Cold-growing cereals show immunity to diseases, except that rust can occasionally appear on reed beds or meadows - the result of damage by the fungal culture Gymnosporangium sabinae.

Reproduction. The time for transplantation and reproduction of cold-growing cereals is early spring and autumn, when the plant is in a period of active growth. Cereals are propagated mainly by dividing rhizomes, although seeds are also possible.

I note that the seeds are sown in the fall, and many species require their preliminary preparation, that is, stratification, which makes this option more difficult. However, there are also types of cereals that actively reproduce by self-sowing, and here it is already worth making sure that ornamental plants do not turn into weeds - that is, eradicate unnecessary specimens in time.

Pruning. Controlling the spread is an important step in caring for such plants, since the excess freedom provided to them is fraught with the fact that the garden will turn into a weedy area.

Cold-growing cereals tolerate frost well, many even retain part of the leaves or panicle inflorescences throughout the winter, so you should not rush to cut them in the fall - they will perfectly decorate your garden from under the snow. But in the spring, on the eve of the new season, pruning will come in handy, because young leaves will begin to break through and last year's withered shoots will only interfere. Late autumn pruning is recommended only for those species that, due to their size and other features, at the end of the season already look sloppy - for example, canary grass or manna. Unattractive yellowed leaves can be cut off in summer when the plant hibernates.

Planting options for cold-growing cereals in the garden

When planting cold-growing herbs, you should remember about their period of activity and select as partners those plants that wake up in the very first spring. So, creating a mixborder, with cereals, you can plant early bulbous ones with the lower level, because they will add juicy colors to the greens of perennials.

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