From homebase in Ohio, Kimberly Writes: The Destination Nature team of Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer are celebrating the release of their new Falcon Guides book, The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things To Do In Nature Before You Grow Up.
|The cover alone makes this book worth owning!|
Since a lot of our time and energy is devoted to getting young people interested in spending more time outside, Kenn and I are SUPER excited about this fabulous book, and we're honored to be a part of its official launch!
To let people know about the book, we invited our friend Ken Keffer to do a guest post. He is writing about Mothing, which is summer activity #21 in the book. We hope you enjoy the post, and if you want to win your own copy of the book, visit Stacy and Ken’s website.
MOTHING! by Ken Keffer
Moths are the new birds. All of the reasons people love birds apply to moths, too. Plus you get bonus fun with moths, including fermented bananas and black lights! Mothing can be an especially appealing activity to do as a family, which is why we put it in our book as one of the essential checklist items. Here are some tips for getting started.
MOTHS ARE EVERYWHERE
People enjoy birding because birds are widespread. During the warm summer months, moths are everywhere, too. Don’t believe me? Leave you porch light one night. It won’t take long before you’ve got more flying action than your bird feeders have seen all month.
While some moths will have certain habitat requirements, many species are abundant in neighborhoods and backyards across the country. A few are downright striking, and many have a subtle beauty, similar to sparrows. My personal favorites are the underwing moths. A mix of gray and brown above, they flash brilliant pinks, yellows, and oranges when they spread their wings.
|Kimberly likes to call them "Underwear" moths|
MOTH BAITING & BLACK LIGHTING
You might casually encounter a few months from time to time, but using attractants is far more satisfying. I’ve hung a small window feeder filled with fruit in the summer to attract moths as well as butterflies. Then a few times each summer I’ll bust out the moth bait and the black light for a full-fledged night of mothing.
All the moth baiters have their own secret recipe. The basic ingredients usually include mixing smashed bananas (the browner the better), canned beer (the cheaper the better, although microbrews can be used to bait additional moth watchers in), and sugar (I like brown, others use white, I’ve even heard of people using molasses). Once you have the recipe mixed, just paint the bait on bark in the early evening and you’ll be set for the night.
You can also use black lights projected on a light colored sheet to bring in the moths from near and far. Here’s a little trick—if you use a paisley patterned sheet, you’ll have a built in scale for your photos, plus it’ll be easier to ID. And remember it’s not just moths you’ll attract. You can see tons of cool night life.
|Backlighting with Kenn and Kimberly and friends!|
Remember, mothing is a leisurely activity. The kids can run around and frolic outside as the sun goes down. Then they can pop in and out as their interest desires.
CHECK IT OFF YOUR LIST
Despite the vastness of moth diversity, there are a few all-stars. The Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North American has a solid selection of moths represented. Pick out a your favorites. It might take you years, but someday you could be rewarded with seeing the moth of your dreams. One of my favorite Biggest Week in American Birding memories was when a Cecropia Moth showed up. This thing created as much buzz as any of the warblers that year. After laying binoculars on it, numerous people exclaimed it was a lifer moth for them.
So set a goal of spotting a few moths this year, and then check them off your list. By the way, it’s okay if it takes you a little while to ID moths and have success attracting them. I hear Kenn Kaufman has a certain month that eludes even him. (Psst—it’s the Harris’s Three-spot.) Good luck mothing this summer, and to you too, Kenn!.
For 447 other great things to do in nature before you grow up, pick up a copy of The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book.