Backyard wildlife on a winter's morning in Ridgecrest

Monday, January 14, 2013

By Patty Hale

My yard has been registered as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat for the past 30 years. Birds and animals alike find food, water and shelter, and a place to raise their young all year round at the Hale house.

Thought readers might enjoy seeing my backyard wildlife and how they are coping during the current cold snap.

A squirrel does "apple-batics" to get one of the last apples
Photo by Patricia Hale

This picture, taken this week, is of a Squirrel doing "Apple-batics". When temperatures dip below the freezing mark, critters need additional calories to maintain body heat. 

This little guy is willing to take a risk to get to the last few crab apples left on my tree.

Squirrel on left, Cooper's Hawk on right.
They apparently did not meet up.
Photo by Patricia Hale

A second squirrel unwittingly found itself sharing a tree with a Cooper's Hawk that was out for an early morning breakfast. Predators are actually a sign of a healthy habitat.

Anna's Hummingbird at an ice-encrusted fountain
Photo by Patricia Hale

An Anna's Hummingbird risks having a brain freeze at the ice-encrusted fountain. Access to water is crucial during freezing weather. Moving water doesn't freeze - although it can get darn cold. Consider adding a water heater.

Thd squirrel didn't get all the crabapples
Photo by Patricia Hale

A Varied Thrush checks out the few crab apples left that the squirrels couldn't reach. Typically, this thrush is people shy, but limited food sources make them take uncharacteristic risks in cold weather.

Important Tip: If you didn't get around to cleaning up your yard and landscape beds earlier this fall, wait until spring. What seems messy to you, is actually highly desired by birds and wildlife during winter months. Those dead stalks, leaves, and seed heads provide food and protection.


Travis January 14, 2013 at 8:24 AM  

What variety of Crab apple tree did you plant?

Anonymous,  January 14, 2013 at 7:43 PM  

Lucky gal! Some people have to go to great lengths to enjoy outdoor wildlife habitats. She just has to step through the gate in her back yard?

Anonymous,  January 14, 2013 at 8:36 PM  

These are great pics.

Patty Hale,  January 15, 2013 at 8:53 AM  

The Crab Apple tree was already established when we bought the property. So, unfortunately I do not know what species it is - and there are many possibilities. I have sent Diane pictures of bloom and fruit, as she has promised me she would do a follow-up article. Perhaps with those photos, Sky Nursery would be able to help identify the tree or make a recommendation as to who might be able to.

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