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Photo by Kellen McCluskey

Thursday, February 29

Place Your Plant Order Today!

The Arboretum's Native Plant Sale is back! Add beauty and beneficial habitat to your spring garden or landscape with our extensive offerings of landscape-ready native trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, ferns, and vines.

Highlights include nodding onion (Allium cernuum), a perennial wild onion with narrow, grasslike leaves and tiny bell-shaped pink to lilac flowers that appear in loose, nodding clusters above the foliage. Growing 12 to 18 inches tall, this summer bloomer attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and native bees.

Yellow wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria) adds interest that spans the seasons, with bright yellow to cream flowers in late spring and early summer giving way to small seed pods that turn black when ripe and persist into fall. Caterpillars like the leaves, but this shrubby perennial resists deer and rabbits.

Orders will be accepted today through March 28 and fulfilled via scheduled, timed pickup slots in late April. Please note that orders will be prepared accordingly and, thus, will be ready for pickup at their scheduled times.

As always, members receive a generous discount according to the membership level. Click here to join, renew, or give a membership! You can also email Kellen McCluskey for membership help or questions before you place your order.

Click here to view plants for sale or to place an order.

If you have any questions about plants, please email Leslie Cario. As always, thank you for your support.

Top photo by Kellen McCluskey

Bottom photo by Kathy Thornton

Pysanky on Saturday

Considered a sacred magical art, Pysanky is an ancient means to celebrate the cycles and events in nature and life. Join Coreen Weilminster for a class to learn this wonderful art this Saturday!

Created using motifs rooted in nature, designs are made with simple instruments called kistkas, the humble materials of beeswax and candlelight, and intensely vibrant dyes. Coreen has been making Pysanky for more than 30 years. Advance registration is required. All materials are included.

The class is 1–4 p.m. and is $45 for members and $60 for nonmembers. Click here to register.

Photo by Coreen Weilminster

Yarnstorming Reception

Join us for Sunday's Yarnstorming reception! The colorful, whimsical display in the Arboretum trees is on view through April 6.

The Arboretum's display is sponsored with the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore. The reception is free from 2-4 p.m., but advance registration is strongly encouraged. Click here to register.

A tree decorated by Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore.

Rooted Wisdom

The Rooted Wisdom documentary is part of the Docs in Progress Community Stories Film Festival. It will be featured on Saturday, March 16 in the 'Legacy Tales' group.

Produced by Lauren Giordano and George Burroughs of Schoolhouse Farmhouse, the documentary follows historian Anthony Cohen through the Arboretum landscape, revealing freedom seekers' methods for navigation, concealment, evasion, and nourishment.

To learn more about the festival, click here. For free tickets, click here.

Three Breeding Owls

The Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, and Eastern Screech Owl breed in Caroline County, but only the Barred Owl is reported on eBird to be at Adkins throughout the year. eBird Adkins' records of the other two are spotty, but this could be because they are less vocal than the Barred Owl, and birders do not search specifically for them. Adkins' habitat is certainly perfect for both.

None of these three owls build a nest—the Screech Owl nests exclusively in cavities. Great Horned and Barred Owls will also nest in cavities, but they will also occupy a ready-made nest of a hawk, crow, or even a squirrel dray. If you see a picture of these two owls in a nicely made nest, they stole it. The Screech and Barred Owls will readily use man-made nesting boxes, but not the Great Horned Owl.

Barred Owl in a nest. Photo courtesy of Rich Hoeg. 

A Great Horned Owl thief. Flickr photo courtesy of Jim Kennedy.

Eastern Screech Owl in a nesting box. Photo courtesy of Robert Strickland

Great Horned Owls may mate for life. They stay in the same territory all year but remain solitary until January when they begin courting. Watch their courting rituals here. The female typically lays two eggs starting in February in our area. Eggs hatch in about a month, and they fledge about 2 1/2 months later. The families stay together all summer, and the juveniles disperse in autumn, sometimes traveling up to 250 miles before settling down.

The 6 to 8 months that the Great Horned Owls spend raising their brood and teaching survival skills pay off in about a 50% survival rate the first year. Believe it or not, this is a fairly high survival rate for birds in their first year.

Barred Owls also mate for life and begin their courtship in February. Listen to their caterwauling mating calls here. Egg-laying is usually in March but can be as late as August. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs. Incubation and time to fledge is about 2 ½ months. The young disperse in the autumn and move only about 6 miles from their parents’ territory.

The Barred Owl range is expanding in the American northwest and has moved into the range of the Northern Spotted Owl. The Spotted Owl became famous in the 1980s and 1990s as the object of lawsuits by the Seattle Audubon Society against proposed logging in the owl’s forested habitat. A judge ruled that the owl must be protected. The Barred Owl threatens the Spotted Owl by being more aggressive in claiming territory and interbreeding with the Spotted Owl. Faced again with extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed killing 470,000 Barred Owls in the Spotted Owl territory over the next 30 years. Comments on this proposal ended on January 16.

Eastern Screech Owls mate for life and stay in their breeding area year-round. Their courting ritual is elaborate, with many exchanges of various whistles and whinnies. Watch here. Egg-laying begins in mid-April with an average of three to five eggs. It only takes about two months between egg-laying and fledging. In an unusual strategy, siblings disperse together and do not stray far from the parents’ territory. Because the Screech Owl is smaller, the young suffer greater predation, and their survival rate is only about 70% for the first year.

One of the best ways to find an owl during the day is to pay attention to the mobbing behavior of other birds. Mobbing occurs when birds find a predator, like an owl, and harass it by dive-bombing it and loudly screaming at it to chase it away or to call attention to it. Crows hate Great Horned Owls, so if you hear a gathering of crows protesting loudly, look up!

Please contact me if you have any questions at [email protected].

Jeobirdy Answer: The plumes of feathers sticking up on a Great Horned Owl have this name.

Jeobirdy Question: What are plumicorns? They have nothing to do with the owl’s ears, which are close to its eyes.

Jeobirdy Answer: The projections sticking up on a Giraffe are called this name.

Jeobirdy Question: What are Occicones? When you get to be on Jeopardy, you will get this Answer correctly!

Join Our Team

We're hiring a part-time educator to help with spring school group programs!

We would like to hear from you if you have a background in teaching and the environment and a love of the outdoors. Click here to learn more, and contact Jenny Houghton at [email protected] if interested.

We will also be a host site for a 2024-2025 Chesapeake Conservation and Climate Corps Member. This is a fantastic opportunity to join an excellent team of professionals.

Click here to learn more about the positions, and please share with interested friends and family.

Memberships are critical to our success. If you're not a member, please consider joining today. An Arboretum membership also makes a wonderful gift. Click here for more information. 


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