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We value native habitat for the resident birds, mammals, pollinators and beneficial insects.  It’s these wild edges that are an essential resource for our friends and neighbors the migrating birds, butterflies, insects, and rodents who navigate their own world in and around our human ecology.

Re-imaging a farm design to mirror wild ecosystems and provide food, shelter and habitat for dense and diverse life forms has always been the priority. When we came here the ground was hot and hard-packed but after a few shorts years of adding organic matter (compost) into the native soil, mulching heavily, watering sparingly, and planting a dense landscape of native, edible and medicinal plants — the farm now hums with wildlife activity year-round and we find this has quite a calming effect when we pause to observe this natural world going about their day’s work.

Hundreds of birds flit throughout the farm in a day, foraging in the mulch for insects, bathing and drinking in one of several water fountains, and perching on the towering stalks of sunflower, native hedges, and bunchgrasses with tasty and nutritious seeds. As fall turns to winter, many migrating birds appear at the fountains as well. The bright colors of their breeding plumage are just beginning to show as they fly cross-continent to winter their breeding grounds further south.

We’ve planted a large mix of native species along our borders to function as hedgerows. These “living fences” serve a multitude of functions: habitat, forage (the berries of native plants are an important food source for many birds and mammals), wind breaks, privacy, and also hide unsightly views. But most important to us, we like to think of the hedgerows as the place where the cultivated meets the wild, the “edges of the forest” so to speak because it is on these edges where one often finds the most diversity.

It is with all this purpose in mind that we have chosen to leave many areas untouched or let them go to an unkept wilder side as this allows space for biodiversity to flourish. Many types of pollinators overwinter in the dead stalks of perennial plants, piles of leaf litter and wood chips. Often, when possible, downed trees, and branches, are left to return to the earth, still providing life and shelter for those that recycle it back to the earth. And, we choose to preserve wildlife corridors for the deer, coyotes, turkeys, and bobcats that are regularly observed passing thru.

Bobcat
Alligator LizardFish
BatWestern Pond TurtleSalamander
CoyoteFrogGopher Snake
Mountain LionGround SquirrelRabbit
GopherMoleSkunk
OpossumGarter SnakeBlack-Tailed Deer

and all the birds…

  • Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
  • Hooded Oriole
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Barn Owl
  • Turkey Vulture
  • California Quail
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Wild Turkey
  • Duck
  • Barn Swallow
  • California Towhee
  • Red Tailed Hawk
  • Red Shouldered Hawk
  • Oak Titmouse
  • White Tailed Kite
  • Phoebe
  • Coopers Hawk
  • Golden Crowned Sparrow
  • Acorn Woodpecker
  • Western Meadow Lark
  • Mourning Dove
  • House Finch
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • Stellerโ€™s Jay
  • Hummingbird
  • Olive Sided Flycatcher
  • Wren
  • Osprey
  • Snowy Egret
  • Pygmy Nuthatch
  • Bushtit
  • Hooded Oriole
  • Northern Flicker
  • American Robin
  • Brewers Blackbird
  • Yellow Rumped Warbler
  • California Thrasher
  • Peregrine Falcon

If we step out a couple miles from our home we could add all the sea birds and sea life nearby…humpback whales, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, pelicans, and more!