Category Archives: Our Bird Sanctuary

New Mexico Bird Lover Raising $10,500 to provide for Migratory and Displaced Birds

It’s amazing to me what people can raise money for today and I think I’ve seen it all, including home repairs, college education, braces, even child adoption fees. What a fantastic world we live in that monies can be so easily raised, thanks to the Internet and various fund-raising web sites.

So, I’m taking the plunge! Yep, I started my own fund-raising campaign. Crazy? Maybe, but I’m committed to the cause. I believe the environment matters.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM: We’ve had an influx of birds recently due to normal migration paths and also displaced birds from Dog Head Fire. Nearly 18,000 acres of beautiful forest and wildlife in East Mountain were consumed by the fire, raising the need for more food, more water, and more protection for the birds. In fact, after the flames of the fire died down, birds arrived to nearby areas in droves. We are also experiencing an influx of birds at our place.

We are located in the Manzano mountain range in the central part of New Mexico, known as the Land of Enchantment and home to the western branch of the Salt Missions Trail, formerly called Turquois Trail.  With a harmonious blend of over 270 bird species reported in the area, many are unique to mountainous habitats, including aspen ponderosa pine, high elevation willow, spruce, fir and alpine tundra.  Yes, East Mountain is a tribute to quiet excitement and adventure, and caters to a specific set of birds.

HERE’S MY SOLUTION: As a lover of all things beautiful – especially birds – I am sensitive to the balance of nature and my heart’s desire is to certify our 2.5 acres as a wildlife habitat and provide the special care and feeding of birds.  This the result of a definite surge in both population and species.   But also because national forests don’t provide adequate food or water for birds, especially during critical winter months or droughts when food and water are scarce.  Also, every certified habitat is a step toward replenishing resources for wildlife, both locally and along migratory corridors.

WHY BIRDS?  We admire birds for their beauty and songs, and the grace of their ability to fly.  We also admire their importance to the ecosystem. Yes! Birds provide many direct and indirect contributions to the environment.  For example:

  • Many ecologically important plants require pollination by birds
  • Many species of conifers are spread largely by birds
  • Fruit-eating birds aid the germination and spread of hundreds of plants and trees
  • Hawks and owls are great consumers of pests such as rodents
  • Flycatchers and their allies consume tons of insects each year

Birds are also excellent indicators of environmental health as changes in bird populations can tell us a great deal about the impacts of climate, drought, weather, and habitat change on the environment.

This explains why, according to a recent Census Report, over 65 million Americans enjoy feeding birds in their own backyard as a convenient way to appreciate and study nature.  AND… watching birds, like watching fish or other animals, seems to make people feel good – emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

HERE’S MY PLAN: Raise $10,500 to invest in the following:

  • Wildlife Certification Application
  • 12 Bird Houses
  • 10 Shepherd’s Hooks
  • 10 Hanging Bird Feeders (Various Kinds)
  • 5 Platform Feeders
  • 5 Solar Bird Baths
  • Bird Food (Seed, Suet, Thistle, Peanuts)
  • 1 Observation Tower
  • Advertising Costs to Raise Money

Raising this kind of money is a significant undertaking, but I believe it’s doable. And while some may think my gesture nervy and self-seeking, I know others will see this as a courageous effort and jump on my bandwagon to help the birds.  I hope “others” includes you!

For more information about this effort, including my tokens of appreciation for various donation levels, PLEASE CLICK HERE. You’ll be redirected to my donation page.

My goal is to protect the magic and beauty of our fine feathered friends in the hope that someday others, perhaps you, will have the chance to visit our mountain personally, experience the breathtaking views this enchanted landscape has to offer, and discover the magic of our treasured birds. My uncompromising commitment is to help protect and secure the environment for future generations. I hope you will join me in this critical effort!  This is one way we can be kind and give back to Nature.

Kristen –

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Where’d All These Birds Come From?!

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I’m visiting our little slice of heaven in the mountains in New Mexico, keeping a watchful eye out for the threatened Gray Vireo, and amazed by the number of different bird species dining at our house this week. We usually get a varied collection this time of year, as a result of normal migration paths, but I think the influx is also largely due to misplaced birds from Dog Head Fire, the recent forest fire that consumed some 18,000 acres of natural forest.

And, while I’ve not seen any threatened Gray Vireos (as I’d hoped), I have seen plenty of other beauties.  Check out this video, comprised of my photographs over just two days.

Yes we have an influx of chickadees (which I had expected from the fire), and more towhees than we’ve had in past years. The grosbeak has returned this year. And, the Lesser Goldfinch has shown up. Additionally, the meadow down the walk seems to have attracted a number of new and equally gorgeous birds. In fact, I’m eager to set up camp for a few hours there to observe and photograph those birds – just need my camera and a thermos of hot coffee. But, that adventure may have to wait until tomorrow, as the sky is dark and ominous, and an indication of more rain to come.

Either way, I’m intrigued to see who swings by for a bite tomorrow. Good thing we stocked up on food.

 

Bird Journal

 

But What About the Birds?

A week ago Saturday, my husband called from our mountain in New Mexico to tell me he had to evacuate.  I was still in Houston.

“The mountain is on fire,” he said.

Dog Head Fire was ablaze and had consumed nearly 18,000 acres. There were  1,000 firefighters working around the clock to contain it.  It was only 10 miles from our little slice of heaven in New Mexico, and my husband had packed a few items and headed down the mountain to safety.

“I don’t know what will happen to our place or our things,” he said.

“It’s okay. It’s just stuff.  You’re all that matters,” I said back.

Later that evening I thought about the devastation. Most of the land that had been consumed was forest and I wondered… what about the birds?

Some experts predict it will take 100 years or more before the forest will return to normal conditions. And yes, there will be casualties – both human and wild life.  But there will also be some who benefit from the fire.

If treetops burn to a crisp completely, the canopy dwellers like mountain chickadees (which we have plenty of on our mountain) will be forced to seek out new habitat. It’s the woodpeckers that win big as they head toward the large areas of scorched trees in search of bark and wood-boring beetles.

After the flames die down, scientists and forest managers expect birds will arrive in droves. That’s because some bird species depend on freshly burned forests, particularly in areas that are dry and riddled with lightning.  (That’s our mountain top! Especially in the summer.)

As I write this, it’s been one week since my husband evacuated. The fire is now 90% contained and I have mixed emotions. My heart aches for the resulting loss: 12 single residences and 44 other minor structures, 300 people temporarily displaced, and 18,000 acres of beautiful forest and wildlife.

But I’m also grateful. Our property and belongings were spared. My husband and our friends have been able to return to their homes.  And, we have the opportunity to provide food, water, and habitat to any displaced and stressed birds.

Geez, we need to load up on supplies!

 

Photographing birds ad

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