One mystery solved!

The other day when I transplanted some coreopsis seedlings, I saw that they all had heavy leaf damage:


Something has been eating the leaves -- every seedling in this pot is essentially leafless. I've been keeping an eye on this for a few days, but never saw any signs of the culprit.


***
Was it slugs? A caterpillar of some sort? Something else? Was it a single creature, or is there a whole swarm of them eating these tender little plants? Yesterday I found the answer:


A caterpillar. I have no idea what the species is, as there are probably dozens or hundreds of possibilities. So I grabbed it and put it on the deck railing, where it will surely be found by the wrens that are nesting under the deck. There is a noisy wren on the deck probably every 3 minutes right now.

When I went back outside to check a couple of minutes later, the caterpillar was gone (feeding some hungry wren chicks I hope), but I also saw this:


Another one! Up on the deck railing it goes. I did a careful search of the pots this time (it's actually two pots side-by-side), even moved the mulch around a little, and didn't see any more of them.

I don't understand why the wrens didn't find them on their own.

If you have a garden, you're going to be feeding caterpillars to some extent. The broccoli and kale will be prime caterpillar dining later this season, and I'll do my best (along with the wrens) to get rid of them without pesticides -- I don't use pesticides in my yard at all. If you want butterflies and moths in your garden, you're going to have to put up with some caterpillars.

At least the caterpillars can't hurt my bamboo...


Hey, what happened here?! Don't worry, those aren't holes left by some giant caterpillar. That's woodpecker damage. Those holes go all the way up the culm. I'm not sure why they like to peck on the young culms that haven't hardened yet, but at least they only do this to one or two culms on a plant. Maybe they're still learning about bamboo.

I hope they learn to leave it alone soon.

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