Ask the Expert

Wisconsin State Farmer
Orioles may not be the only one enjoying jelly at feeders this time of year. They may also be joined by catbirds.


Q: I have a bird I can't identify eating grape jelly from my feeder. It is about the same size as an oriole, but all gray and has black on its head. Do you have any ideas?

A: This sounds like a gray catbird. These secretive birds return about the same time as orioles and will feed upon fruits and grape jelly. If you listen carefully, you may be able to hear the telltale "meow" call of these fun birds.

Q: Can I prune my lilacs now?

A: The best time to prune lilacs is a few weeks after bloom is completed. This will allow plenty of time for next year's buds to form.

Q: What are some good annual flowers that will attract hummingbirds?

A: Hummingbirds are attracted to a number of excellent annual plants. Whether grown in containers or in the ground, you can attract hummingbirds with a number of colorful beauties.

Any of the salvias and sages work well, along with petunias, firecracker plant, lantana, verbena, many vines such as cardinal climber, Black-eyed Susan vine, morning glories, fan flower, purple hyacinth bean, lobelia, gaura, snapdragons and more.

Q: My cannas did not come back this year. Do you have any suggestions for me?

A: Cannas are not hardy in our area and must be dug up and stored in a cool, dry location over the winter season.