Tag Archives: Wildlife Habitat

10 Things I Learned During the 2nd Year of our Wildlife Habitat and Bird Sanctuary

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This month marks the two year anniversary of our Wildlife Habitat and Bird Sanctuary, and as I reminisce over the last twelve months, I marvel at all my husband and I have experienced with our new adventure.  And as I reviewed the list of things I learned during the first year, I felt compelled to write a list of the ten things I learned during year two.  After comparing the two lists, I believe that every year will bring new and insightful lessons, and I can’t wait to see what this next year has to offer!

Here’s what I learned in year TWO of our wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary:

  1. Keeping a video camera close at hand along with my digital SLR camera is really helpful, especially when a photo just won’t do the trick.
  2. When I’m crunched for time, providing fresh water is STILL always more important than providing food – for the birds and the wildlife.
  3. Baby birds will absolutely drown when the water in the birdbath is too deep, making rocks and pebbles a must in deep baths.
  4. The only way to respond to an outbreak of Avian Pox is to take and leave down all feeders and baths for 30 days, the length of time it takes for this deadly virus to run its course through a flock.
  5. Loss of life – birds and animals alike – is a natural requirement for sustaining the circle of life.
  6. When we offer a broad variety of wild bird food, we see a broad variety of birds at our feeders.
  7. Every wildlife visitation is special, because a particular visit may not happen again… for whatever reason.
  8. Keeping a Life List of the birds visiting our backyard helps us identify and record first time visitors more easily.
  9. Reading about and studying the birds in our backyard (their flight patterns, calls, and appearance) is helpful in identifying new species.
  10. Documenting the on-goings of our wildlife habitat for sharing with others is critical because there are people everywhere interested in what we are doing.

If you’re interested in seeing pictures and videos of our wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary, follow us on Facebook.  This is where we document the on-goings of our wildlife habitat for sharing with others.  And feel free to share about your own exciting adventures with the birds and wildlife!

Happy birding!

The Savage Reality of Survival – One Deer’s Legacy

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Always on the lookout for new and exciting discoveries on our wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary, my husband and I recently took a stroll around the property.  Our neighbor had invited his artist friend to collect a dead dear off his property just a few days earlier, (a gorgeous 8 point buck that had died behind an abandoned trailer), and this news inspired us to also take a look around.

We were awe-struck with what we found, not to mention humbled, as our WILD life reminded us that LOSS of life is often required to sustain the CIRCLE of life.

We quietly and reverently observed the bones we found scattered inside and just beyond the outskirts of our property line: first we saw a leg, then a second leg, then the rib cage and head to what appeared to be a second deer – all picked perfectly clean.

 

As I took photographs, I celebrated the legacy this deer left behind and the sacrifice of it’s life for the prosperity of other wildlife.  And I became deeply aware of all our habitat signifies – not only the grace of Creation but also the savage reality of survival, and I marveled at the beauty of both.

   

 

 

10 Things I Learned During the First Year of our Wildlife Habitat and Bird Sanctuary

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This month marks the one year anniversary of our Wildlife Habitat and Bird Sanctuary, and as I reminisce over the last twelve months, I’m reminded of how blessed we have been.  Common visitors to our bird sanctuary include chickadees, Steller’s jays, juncos, pine siskin, and house finches, while special appearances were made by a black-throated gray warbler and Williamson’s sapsucker.  We have several birdbaths and over a dozen bird feeders, AND we go through about 80 pounds of bird seed a month.

Getting to experience the birds and wildlife every day is a special treat but the real gift lies in the wisdom I’ve acquired in such a short time.  Nature has its music for those who will listen and I’ve done my share of listening.  Here’s what I’ve learned in the process:

  1. The date and time stamp on the trail cam matters in keeping good records.
  2. Birds will not set a limit on how much food I should provide them, so I have to.
  3. Indoor window clings are critical in avoiding aviary window strikes.
  4. When time or resources are limited, water is more important than food.
  5. Having a contact at the local US Fish and Wildlife Service is really helpful.
  6. Photographs are required to support a claim of wildlife or bird species.
  7. There will be injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife and knowing in advance what to do when I find them will reduce stress – for me and for the wildlife.
  8. Volunteering at a local wildlife rescue organization is an ideal hands-on learning experience.
  9. The traffic patterns in my habitat may not match the information in various field guides, and that’s okay.
  10. Knowing the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 will help keep me out of jail.

I should probably write a book about everything I’ve learned this past year, but for now this is my short list.  And if you’re interested in hearing the details around each of these ten learnings, check back here over the next several weeks. My goal is to elaborate on each and every one of these in greater detail.  In the meantime… happy birding!Special care ad

Celebrating the One Year Anniversary of our Wildlife Habitat!

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One year ago this month, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization, recognized me and my husband for having successfully certified our Wildlife Habitat through its Garden for Wildlife program.  This month, we are celebrating the habitat’s one year anniversary! Woo hoo!

Truth is, we certified our mountainous habitat in response to the “Dog Head” fire that consumed nearly 18,000 acres in June of last year.  We had experienced a sudden influx of both birds and wildlife immediately after the fire and we wanted to do our part to create a safe haven for them.  In fact, in just this past year alone, we’ve had 32 different bird species come through our habitat, many of which have nested and are now raising young.

Common visitors to our bird sanctuary include chickadees, Steller’s jays, juncos, pine siskin, and house finches, while special appearances were made by a black-throated gray warbler and Williamson’s sapsucker. We provide for the wild birds with several birdbaths and over a dozen bird feeders. And we go through about 80 pounds of bird seed a month! But providing water is the most critical aspect of what we do (as you’ve heard me say before) because a bird will die from dehydration before it will die from starvation, especially during critical winter months or droughts when water is scarce.

Even wild mammals need water, as evidenced by several photographs I took this summer of a mule deer drinking water from our birdbath out back.  (That was terribly exciting to watch!) Other mammals frequenting our wildlife habitat include Abert’s and rock squirrels, brush and cottontail bunnies, coyotes, and a pair of wolves.

In the midst of the worldly drama around us, we’re grateful to have nature as a form of distraction.  The beauty and grace of our wildlife and birds delight us daily, reminding us of the splendor of God’s creation.  Thank you for celebrating this milestone with us, for your encouragement along the way, and for your support of our efforts.

National Wildlife Federation Certifies New Wildlife Habitat in Tijeras, New Mexico

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555937_4398759251830_1009391537_nTijeras, New Mexico – September 12, 2016 – The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization, is pleased to recognize that Lawrence and Kristen Clark in Tijeras have successfully created a Certified Wildlife Habitat through its Garden for Wildlife program. NWF celebrates the efforts of Lawrence and Kristen to create a 2.5 acre garden that improves habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife by providing essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, cover, and places to raise young.

“We are so excite to have another passionate wildlife gardener join us and create a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Over the last 40 years, nearly 200,000 wildlife gardeners have joined NWF’s Garden for Wildlife movement and helped restore wildlife habitat right in their own yards and neighborhoods,” said David Mizejewski, naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation.  “Whether you garden in a suburban yard, an apartment balcony or a 10-acre farm, a schoolyard, or business, park, or anything in between, everyone can create a home for local wildlife.  Turning your space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat is fun, easy, and makes a big difference for neighborhood wildlife,” he added.

The Clarks certified their 2.5 acre mountainous habitat in response to the “Dog Head” fire in June. “My heart ached for the resulting loss, nearly 18,000 acres of beautiful forest and wildlife,” Kristen shared.  “But I was also grateful. Our home and belongings were spared and we now have ample opportunity to provide food, water, and habitat to many displaced and stressed birds.” She went on to explain, “And the birds need our help. Research indicates that it will take some 100 years, if not more, before a forest will return to normal conditions after a fire. Unfortunately, not all of the birds can wait that long.”

Kristen is raising $10,500 dollars to stock their certified wildlife habitat and provide the special care and feeding of the impacted birds. This the result of a definite surge in both population and species after the fire, but also because national forests aren’t staffed to provide adequate food or water for birds, especially during critical winter months or droughts when food and water are scarce.  Additionally, every certified habitat is a step toward replenishing resources for wildlife, both locally and along migratory corridors.

About National Wildlife Federation

The NWF’s Garden for Wildlife program encourages responsible gardening for people like the Clarks. It encourages planting with native species like milkweed and discouraging chemical pesticide use.  With nearly 200,000 locations and growing, NWF’s Certified Wildlife Habitats and Community Wildlife Habitats recognize individuals, schools, groups and whole communities committed to providing habitat for wildlife, including pollinators.  For more information on gardening for wildlife and details on how an entire community can become certified, visit www.nwf.org/habitat or call 1-800-822-9919.

Contact:

Lacey McCormick

National Wildlife Federation

512-610-7765

mccormick@nwf.org

 

About Backyard Birding Paradise

Kristen Clark is a fan of all things beautiful, with a special love for birds. The author of several bird books, including The Special Care & Feeding of Backyard Birds, she founded Backyard Birding Paradise to educate others on the benefits and value of bird-watching.

 

To LEARN MORE or to DONATE, please visit:

https://www.gofundme.com/bird-sanctuary

 

Contact:  Kristen Clark

Tijeras, NM

info@kristenclark.org

http://backyardbirdingparadise.com/