“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
With spring making its slow creep into our area, I have been taking time to make more observations in my wildlife garden. Being newly retired with no plans at the moment, makes it easier for me to observe. Not to mention that, I have so much more wildlife frequenting the garden since we added more native plants.
The cute little house finch pictured above, was caught in a nasty storm in mid March. He spent some time in refuge on the front porch. He was among the earlier birds braving the winter that was still blowing snow drifts around in 20 degree temps. I have mentioned this before, but I observe birds in our yard that naturally feed from the native plants as we only have suet feeders out in winter and fall to supplement them. We also put out 2 hummingbird feeders once the cuties arrive.
My garden was not always a haven for wildlife. It was planted first with exotics and a few native wildflowers. But with my new-found interest and then passion for native plants, it has been changing yearly. And so have the wildlife who frequently visit or live here not to mention the gardener who tends this plot.
I have been a bit anxious to get out in the garden. But when I can’t garden, I can observe wildlife right from the warmth of our home, and right now that is what we are doing. So what gifts has our abundant nature been sharing with us:
One of our resident foxes has been spotted quite a bit. Isn’t he gorgeous. He frequents the area around a number of homes and lives in one of the wild areas that borders our development and our garden. I even spot him before the sun comes up with his easily discernible silhouette.
I am starting to track the small group of deer that live right behind us. There is a group of 5 that have been making an almost daily walk down our side garden along the fence as they cross the road, then walk down the road before they sprint to the woods across the street as they are doing here. Soon we will see them more frequently in the meadow feeding, and they will be jumping the fence to feed in my garden…the rascals. The other day a couple jumped our back gate which is framed by a pergola. It was quite a sight to see as they sprinted through the yard and over the gate on the other side.
This pair of bluebirds has been house hunting between this new house in the meadow and the luxury house inside the fence. They are guarding both as they make their decision. This is one of the pairs that has been in the garden most of the winter.
The robins are plentiful and searching for food. This one was turning over the leaves left in the garden, and finding tasty morsels underneath. We find it imperative to not rake the leaves out of the beds as they are a great natural mulch, and provide a habitat for insects that are needed in the garden and by the birds for food.
And our lone black squirrel is back. He rules the garden when he visits. The other squirrels “beat feet” and stay away until he is gone. He loves to explore and is quite curious. This day he was playing around the huge white ash that has been beheaded. He found the nooks and crannies of its branches a perfect perch, and loved sitting on top of the 70 foot platform created when we had to take the top off of the tree.
As you can see, this garden has become a haven for both wildlife and a sanctuary for their gardener. It has brought me back from the brink on so many occasions, been my salvation and given me back my life’s blood. I will be spending much of this garden season tending and observing it as I make future decisions as to what the next changes might be, and where it will need some work. I will let you know what may be in store in future posts, and of course I will highlight who stops by to visit. Their wildlife stories are abundant, charming and a source of happiness we love to share.
Who do we hope to see visiting us this year. Of course the hummers are a very welcome visitor we look forward to. Not to mention the peepers and other frogs and toads. It wouldn’t be the same without all the native pollinators, and I always love to record their first appearance. I am hoping to see more monarchs this year as they only made 1 appearance before their fall migrations South. And when will snakes appear and how many? Right now the goldfinches and Juncos are feeding on all the leftover seed from the native plants we leave up all year. See how the goldfinches are already changing back to their brighter color. A sure sign of spring.
What have you been discovering in your wildlife garden so far this spring?
© 2014, Donna Donabella. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.