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SkylarknTexas, South Plains, TX

Featured Site Created By Skylark19944

Tucked in the semi-arid cotton-growing lands of northwestern Texas, there is a one-acre patch between a hedgerow and a highway that welcomes wildlife. A playa lake (a shallow lake which seasonally fills with rainfall) lies less than half a mile away and attracts thousands of geese (when it isn’t dried up due to a drought). Skylark19944 is a generous hostess– she harvests half of her grape crop from her food garden, leaving the other half to the birds (who eat them greedily). Here is what she says makes her place special:

What work has been done to improve this site for birds and other wildlife? How long did it take?

I have owned this acre 3 years and have been working to improve it for 2 1/2 (she moved there in midwinter, she explains).

I have put in an insert pond, a fountain which is used as a birdbath, perennial plants that seed out or berry, grapevines, and a veggie garden (they love my yellow cherry tomatoes!). I have a bird feeder, but I rarely use it. I like to throw my cockatiel’s seed on the edges of my veggie garden, and I grow my own bird seed. My dogs are fenced in the back yard area.

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?")

Pyrrhuloxia in the Snow

Photo © Skylark19944
While many consider American Robins a problem bird [they can be numerous, and they love fruit] I have over 50 which show up in Spring and Fall to drink from my pond. They prefer my little insert pond to a nice playa lake less than half mile away where thousands of geese hang out. I made a video of the robins on YouTube (she laughs)- even caught a waxwing at the very end (watch it here). They are tough buggers to catch. They seem on the skittish side.

I have my pond right outside my front door/ living room window and can shoot pictures of species without disturbing their comings and goings. When it snows, the shy species make appearances, which is especially fun because I get off work on heavy snow days!

If I’m lucky, a pretty little fox will show up around 4 am. I suppose they may pose a threat to the birds, but the birds don’t seem to be bothered because they still show up… in fact, more each year.

Are there any tough decisions that had to be made regarding its management? How were they handled?

Since I started working on my map and exploring YardMap, I made the decision to limit my indoor/ outdoor cat’s meanders outside. When the birds are migrating, she stays in. I limit her playtime also so the birds can eat and drink freely.