Watch the Winter Wildlife

Watch the Winter Wildlife

While we hurry indoors to the warmth of a fire in a seemingly dormant world, Mother Nature still grows, blooms and scurries about the earth regardless of the weather.

Beneath the fallen leaves, perched on cold, bare branches and deep within the soil exists the kind of life we don’t normally sense in the chill of wintry weather.

While we hurry indoors to the warmth of a crackling fire or furnace, in a seemingly dormant world, Mother Nature still grows and blooms and scurries about the earth with little regard for the weather.

  • Toiling out of sight and out of mind, microscopic organisms just beneath the frozen plant litter and debris remain alive and well, breaking down organic matter into beneficial nutrients that plants need for strong and vigorous growth. From this we gain opportunities to help by nurturing our soil with natural nutrients like compost and mulch.
  • Meanwhile, more above-ground busyness is exemplified in the hive of honey bees who continue to thrive, labor and feed on stores of honey to sustain their body temperatures. Mammals like the squirrel and raccoon venture out when weather conditions permit scouting out a tasty nut or fruit.
  • Bluebirds, mockingbirds, goldfinches and cardinals create a visual treat and testament to the liveliness of the season. Blues, reds, gold and variations on a gray theme can be seen flitting from their perches to the ground and back in search of seeds from native grasses and forbs – also known by many as weeds – and berries from cold hardy plants like deciduous holly (Ilex decidua) and yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), bluewood condalia (Condalia hookeri), beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) and native cedar (Juniperus ashei)– yes, mountain cedar is very beneficial for birds.

Keep a watchful eye on the world around you this winter. Under dormant limbs, on sunny rocks, beneath the soil and across the sky, life in many forms continues to grow and fulfill their needs.

This holiday season get outside. Make memories. Plant a legacy.

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Mark Peterson

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Mark Peterson

Mark A. Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you’re likely to find him hiking San Antonio’s wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.