Enchanted Valley Ranch, Kerr, Texas
Featured Site Created By AnneSchreck
These gardeners and entrepreneurs purchased their home/office on twenty acres with the goal of running their business while improving the capacity of the property to support wildlife. By adding bird feeders, encouraging natural vegetation, and eradicating invasive species, they are encouraging native diversity. We were struck by the beauty of their map, make sure to check it out.
What work has been done to improve this site for birds and other wildlife? How long did it take?
The property was very wildlife friendly when we purchased it and we have a Wildlife Exemption on our property taxes. The property is heavily treed and features many wood piles and a lot of natural vegetation. We’ve added feeders for birds (including for hummingbirds), wild turkeys, and deer. We have also added several water sources.
These steps took place over about six months and were relatively easy to implement. Finding the time to do them has been the biggest issue. We moved here at the end of 2016 and we’ve been focused on adding the barn-office. This was vital because we run an internet business selling high quality garden tools. We had to use our loft, the front porch, and a portable garage for tool storage prior to completion. We stored boxes in the living room where our desks were located and there was a small room off the bedroom that functioned as our shipping area. We hope to turn our attention to more wildlife features as we settle in.
What are some successes that you've seen since the improvements were made? (alternatively, "What are you most proud of, or excited to share about this site?")
We see a great diversity of birds at the feeders. We also see and feed many whitetail and axis deer. While we see wild turkeys, they haven’t really taken to the feeder. All of the animals are happy to have the water troughs and natural vegetation to explore.
Are there any tough decisions that had to be made regarding its management? How were they handled?
There haven’t really been any tough decisions in terms of managing our land. Our goal is to create a haven for wildlife, keeping things natural, providing more habitat features over time, and building new gardens will be our focus.
We see you have used the Planning Tool to set some goals for your site. How has this tool informed or inspired your efforts and actions?
The Planning Tool is great and some of the goals in the process have been implemented. As newbies to this home, one thing we really need to do at this point is to learn more about the birds, how to identify them and the resources they require. We know there are doves, cardinals, roadrunners, sparrows, buzzards, and wild turkey by sight. There are many more that we could pinpoint by sight or sound once we know more about the species in this region.
We also have plans to add some nesting boxes, now that we have more time. We will add a garden or two after the areas can be fenced in due to a large number of deer on the property. We don’t just sell garden tools, we love gardening. We’ve added a couple of planters, but we haven’t had much opportunity to add more gardens, yet. We would also like to be able to quit using weed killer if we can get control of the thistle that was allowed to get out of hand on the property when nobody lived here full-time.
What is your favorite bird or wildlife spotting?
We really like the turkey and deer the best since we don’t really know how to identify all the birds. We keep a census of the deer and turkey to maintain and support our wildlife exemption.
HN STAFF NOTE:
Thanks for this story about how you are working on your new-to-you home to garden for wildlife. As a thank-you, we did a little research about the birds you are likely to see at your feeders in central Texas:
Explore more here.
Also, we invite you check out eBird, which has an illustrated list of all the birds spotted in that region. Spoiler: It is REALLY COOL.