Since the first years of the millennium, folks at Oakridge have conducted winter and summer bird censuses. In keeping with that tradition, we invite anyone interested in birds at the ranch to participate in this year’s winter census on the morning of Saturday February 4th from first chirp (around 7 am) to Noonish or whenever you think you’ve had enough! We will meet later that afternoon (between 3 and 5 pm) at our house to turn in checklists, have some snacks and refreshments and discuss the birds we saw.
You are welcome to census your own place or join a team and maybe learn a few new birds with your neighbors. We will try to cover as many habitats within the ranch as possible. If you are interested in participating, please let me know so I can send you a checklist and so we can plan for how many people are coming that afternoon.
Birds are an essential ingredient in any wildlife habitat and censuses may qualify as an activity in a wildlife plan. I hope you will participate and start down that path to becoming a bird nerd, if you’re not already! It’s fun and easy.
Chairman-ORWMA Bird special interest group email@example.com
Now is the time to plant your wildflower seeds for next spring. Any time is good during October or November before the cold weather gets settled in our area. This gives the seeds plenty of time for germination before the spring sprouts come forth. Be sure you keep the seeds moist by watering when it’s not raining. We’re having a dry fall this year, so you may need to rely on watering your seed to have a nice wildflower crop next spring. You can buy wildflower seeds most anywhere, but some packets on sale for our area do contain grass seed, too. So, if it’s only wildflower seeds you’re looking for, be sure to check the back of the package to see just how many seeds are included inside. Or you can buy from one of the wild seed sources listed on our website & below:
Wildseed Farms of Fredericksburg, TX, www.wildseedfarms.com;
Native American Seed of Junction, TX, www.seedsource.com.
Wildflowers not only add beauty to your landscape, but they bring in the pollinators necessary for our food crops. Additionally, most wildflowers are not eaten by the deer except in extreme drought conditions making these flowers a great choice to add to your home here at Oakridge Ranch.
And don’t forget to send pictures of your wildflowers to ORWMA firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a note received from Mark Lange, the Colorado County Wildlife Biologist and CCWMA to all members of Oakridge Ranch WMA.
“Good morning, CCWMA members,
Just a couple quick reminders this morning as the general season opener is fast approaching.
1) CCWMA leadership would like to remind you that If you haven’t already joined the whitetail contest, please try to do so before November 5th. Your $15 entry fee puts you in the running for the $9,100 in prizes. We are really urging you to get your kids involved (deadline October 29th for youth). A complete contest entry form can be found on www.ccwma.org on the home page. You can mail your entry to Mickey Mangum or drop it by my office and I will get it to him.
2) Like I discussed at the meetings and to everyone that has come to my office for tags, the CWD testing efforts are still on-going and will be for years to come. I would greatly appreciate your assistance in my efforts to collect samples. After you harvest any adult deer, simply save the head on ice and contact me at my office or via email (Mark.Lange@tpwd.texas.gov). I will be checking my phone at the office for at least the first two weekends of general season so just leave me a message and I will return your call ASAP.
Thank you for your assistance and continued support of CCWMA. Good luck this season.”
This is a class being offered to all in Colorado County. Since Oakridge Ranch has won the Lone Star Land Steward Award, this will be of particular interest to Oakridge Ranch landowners. Hope to see you there!
Well, here we are in April already – cool mornings, warm afternoons with plenty of sunshine and an adequate amount of rain. The grass is growing and the birds are nesting. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of a couple of things regarding our whitetail herd and turkey flock.
The early breeding does will begin fawning soon. Please be careful when you are mowing your tall grass. The does hide their newborns in it and the fawns are instinctively not going to move when danger approaches. This brings me to the next reminder. If you find a fawn and you do not see the doe around, don’t worry. Mom knows where she left her baby. Take a moment to admire nature’s creation then leave the fawn(s) undisturbed. Mom will take care of the rest.
Many of you have had the opportunity to observe the turkeys courting this spring. Our local flock has really grown over the years. They will be nesting soon in nests made on the ground, hiding their nests in tall grasses and scrub thickets. That’s something else to watch for.
My last comment would be for those who feed supplemental protein. You might consider continuing feeding for another couple of months. Right now, there is plenty of natural forage available for the deer but demands are high for a lactating doe. A doe will pass on any protein she takes in to her fawn(s). A little boost now could help them get thru the dry time of summer.
Enjoy your spring.
ORWMA Deer Group Committee Chairman
[click on any picture on this website to enlarge.]
Well, it’s that time of year again to dust off your hummingbird feeders and fill them with that delectable sugar nectar. I’m sure most of you know to use sugar and water, never use honey, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners or food coloring when making your homemade brew. I put my feeders up about a week ago and so far I have a whooping 2 Ruby-Throated hummingbirds, but I know they will soon be joined by many more. I normally put up at least 3 feeders in different locations so they can fly from one to the other, but all still in my line of vision so I can enjoy the show.
Here are some interesting facts about Hummingbirds:
Average weight 3 grams…a nickel weighs 4.5 grams.
They have 1000-1500 feathers, the fewest number of feathers of any bird.
The maximum speed they travel is 30 miles an hour, but can reach up to 60 miles an hour when they dive. Hummers can also fly backwards, and are the only group of birds able to do so.
When migrating, hummingbirds take very long flights – the Rufous makes the longest trip – more than 3000 miles from nesting grounds in Alaska & Canada to their winter habitat in Mexico.
The Ruby Throated hummingbird flies 500 miles non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico both in spring & fall migrations. Wow I find that to be amazing.
Their life span on average is 3-12 years.
These birds use their forked-shaped tongue to drink nectar and they can lick 1-15 times per second.
Hummingbirds need to consume about 1/2 of its body weight in sugar everyday. The average hummingbird will feed 5-8 times every hour.
Additionally, these birds need 8 times their body weight in water on a daily basis so they say a garden fountain with a small spray nozzle will help attract them. So far I haven’t seen mine drink from the fountain…..have any of you?
Despite their small size, hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive bird species and will regularly attack jays, crows & hawks that infringe on their territory and backyard birders often have one dominant hummingbird that guards all the feeders.
In closing, I have to say these precious flying jewels are one of my favorites and I never tire of watching them. So it’s off to the store to stock up on extra bags of sugar to make sure the feeders remain full until they head out leaving Oakridge on to their next journey.
[You’ll find a great recipe for homemade nectar for your feeders on the “Bird” tab of this website.]