Turn up the volume of this video – can you hear that noise? – it is the joy of BUZZING BEES in the Backyard Habitat.

As pollinators, Bees are such an essential part of our ecosystem. Bees help plants grow into a food source for us an many other organisms. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bees - along with butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, moths, and other pollinators – help pollinate over 75% of our flowering plants and crops.

Without Bees and other pollinators, there would be no almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries, squash, chocolate, coffee, and so many other fruits and vegetables.

Albert Einstein once said:

We need Bees – our lives depend on their continued livelihood. It is being continuously reported that our Bees are in trouble. Their decline is primarily due to pesticides and habitat loss, a topic addressed on my Nature Calls Fur Action page.

Watching the backyard birds having fun and being happy - such a simple pleasure.

A pair of Lovebirds visited the habitat today. They are pretty birds - look like mini parrots. They are also very noisy.

Lovebirds are not native to Arizona - they actually live in Africa. As the story goes, two lovebirds that were pets escaped from their owners whom resided in Pinal County, which adjoins Maricopa County where Phoenix is located. These two birds supposedly populated the area with their offspring and thus the birds that visited the habitat today are descendants of the escapees.

LOVE. . .BIRDS know no boundaries.

Like me, Coyotes are related to the gray wolf, which makes them my cousin. Coyotes are the nomads of wild places - they love to wander and roam in their packs. Through their diet of rabbits, rodents, deer, and birds, they are natural ecosystem balancers.

Sadly, like most other wildlife, humans have encroached upon their habitats so they have been forced to adapt to urban living. It is not uncommon to see Coyotes roam city streets.

We see many Coyotes because my backyard habitat adjoins the desert and is close to a mountain preserve. For this reason, my parents keep a close watch on me and Lambchop when we are outside. In Arizona, it is imperative to watch pets outside because they may become prey for Coyotes and many other wild animals. It is always sad to hear about missing pets or those snatched by a wild animal. However, it is important to understand that when pets become prey, it is not the fault of the wild animal. Coyotes and other wild animals are guided by their survival instinct just like dogs, cats, and humans.

Unfortunately, to stop predatory behavior, the disturbing solution implemented by our government is to cull the population of Coyotes and other wildlife using barbaric methods including traps and cyanide explosives. Since 1996, over 27 million animals have been killed by the US Department of Agriculture. Equally horrifying are the wildlife killing contests allowed by various states in which Coyotes are always a target.

Fortunately, many wonderful environmental organizations are advocating for our wildlife and working hare to prevent their unnecessary deaths and species extinction. Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Biological Diversity work on behalf of Coyotes and all wildlife. If you are on Twitter, please follow the Eastern Coyote Association (@coywolfassoc) which advocates for Coyotes.

Many Coyotes frequent our habitat - although we have seen only one in the backyard. The one that my Mom saw in our backyard squeezed between the iron posts in our wall - my Mom was amazed that he did not get stuck. Most of the Coyotes stay on the other side of our wall where our camera captures them as they stroll by the gate.

Coyotes are very curious especially with our cameras. One time a Coyote decided to steal our camera which continued to record as he took it mobile.

Some people say I look like a Coyote. What an honor for me to be compared to my cousin who is a beautiful, playful, and very wily canine.

When we created our backyard habitat, our goal was to help wildlife flourish. Some of the visitors that we knew we could easily attract were the birds, including: Cardinals, Sparrows, Quail, Roadrunners, Verdins, Hummingbirds, Thrashers, Woodpeckers, Towhees, and many more.

I, along with Tabby and my Mom, have enjoyed countless hours watching the birds feed, hydrate, and play. We have observed them grow from chick to adult. We have witnessed their interactions as mates and as families. They have brought us so much joy and amusement as they flutter about the yard. The birds have truly filled our lives with their songs.

Today, my Mom informed about me some sad bird news. The Journal of Science recently published a study citing that birds have declined by 29% since 1970, that is equivalent of over 3 billion birds lost.

As stewards of the earth, it is our responsibility to nurture nature. One way we can take care of the birds is to offer them a welcoming habitat. No matter where you live, you can support birds and wildlife in many ways.

One of the simplest ways to welcome feathered friends is with a hummingbird feeder. Birdbaths are another easy attractant. In Arizona, like everyone, birds need a water source. In our yard, we have several birdbaths for our feathery friends to hydrate and bathe.

We are in the process of developing a page called Tips, Tidbits, and Tails where we will share more information on how to create a backyard habitat as well as many ways to nurture nature.

Until then, I hope you continue to love nature as much as me because IT IS for the birds as well as all other wildlife, and even us.

Can you find the rattlesnake in the picture below?

rattlesnake hiding by rock

Rattlesnakes are excellent at camouflage and they blend in so well with the desert scenery. This picture was taken by Mom in our front yard this morning. It was originally nestled under a birdbath and my Mom did not spot it right away.

Usually, my Mom is pretty good at spotting snakes. However, today she let her guard down because it is September and now cooler (99 degrees, considered cool for Arizona). My Mom figured the snakes would be preparing for hibernation and less active. Today reminded all of us that when it comes to rattlesnakes you must always watch your step in the front and backyard habitat.

Here is another picture of the rattlesnake. This is the spot where my Mom initially found him. Fortunately, knock on wood, I have not had any encounters with rattlesnakes in our yard. During the Spring and Summer months, my parents always check the yard first and then let us out - escorted with a flashlight at night.

rattlesnake near rock

On the other hand, my Mom has had too many close encounters with rattlesnakes. I will be writing more about her encounters in a special blog post coming soon - which will also contain some interesting video footage that we captured of the rattlesnakes. We look forward to sharing our observation of rattlesnakes with you.

SNEAK PREVIEW: Rattlesnakes are quite docile. Yes, they have a mean bite if you should be unlucky to step on or threaten them. However, they are creatures that deserve our respect because they do so much good for our ecosystem.

Here is a video of the rattlesnake in our habitat this morning.

Mabel wearing Vikings Football Gear!

"SKOL" is a word commonly used by Scandinavians to toast one's good health and happiness, similar to the use of the word "cheers". Some say it originated from the Vikings whom roamed Europe during the Middle Ages. The Vikings supposedly used it as part of their battle cry to encourage onward victory.

Currently, Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old from Sweden, is receiving a lot of well deserved attention globally for her efforts in creating a greater awareness about climate change and the effects of ecocide. She is empowering and compelling young people - all of us - to demand action by their governments to take critical action on saving our planet.

SKOL to Greta and all the young people whom are awakening others to protect, preserve, and save our environment.

We must also thank the countless people from around the world who have dedicated their lives to helping our planet and wildlife. SKOL to the all scientists, educators, lawyers, public servants, advocates, protesters, donors, and advocates - whom work on behalf of and support Mother Earth - you are nature's heroes and we are forever grateful.

Greta Quote

Today is Friday, September 13. Some people are superstitious and believe that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. A black cat crossing your path is another superstition that some believe may be unlucky.

As a German Shepherd dog, I am naturally cautious and for this reason many things cause me to be skittish. However, one thing I do not fear are silly superstitions, especially those involving black cats.

For this reason, I dedicate today's post to my black cat sibling, Kit-Kat for teaching me how to overcome my fear of those who may be different from me.

As I have mentioned, I have three siblings - Kit-Kat, Tabby, and Lambchop. I love my family. While they are all special, Kit-Kat is truly one of a kind.

I was a rescue when my Mom adopted me. My dog mother and father lived outside so I was born in a yard. As a puppy, I did not know cats existed until my adopted Mom brought me to my new home. When I met Kit-Kat, who is five years older than me, I did not know what to think. He was a different color than me, a different species, and he didn't talk like me - he meows.

I have since heard stories that dogs and cats do not always get along - something I do not understand. From day one, Kit-Kat did not see me as a German Shepherd and Golden Retriever mix of a dog, he saw me as his brother. Even though I was a dog, Kit-Kat never feared me and only embraced me with love.

At night, Kit-Kat does not sleep on my Mom's bed like Tabby; instead, he sleeps with the dogs and on top of my crate. In fact, Kit-Kat spends most of his waking hours with me and Lambchop.

I am so glad that I did not have some silly preconceived notions that black cats were bad because I may have missed out on a great and everlasting friendship.

If you should have a black cat cross your path, consider yourself like me, one lucky dog!

Black Cat Crossing in front of you

One simple way to invite more nature into your habitat is to install Hummingbird feeders. We have several outside my house. Hummingbirds are very territorial so to attract many of them it may be necessary to offer more than one feeder.

Nectar is what you add to the feeder and it is very easy to make. All you need is some granulated white sugar (NOT organic raw). The solution is 1/4 sugar per 1 cup of water. It is important to completely dissolve the sugar. We slightly warm (not boil) our nectar to help dissolve it. Also, it is important that you do not add red dye to the nectar because it is hazardous to the health of the birds.

Because Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, we use feeders that are decorated with this color. As you will see in the video, we also use test tube feeders. To prevent ants from invading our feeders, we use the ones with built-in moats (you may also buy decorative moats separately to hang feeders from). Inside the moat you add water.

Hummingbirds are not our only visitors. We also have some Finches and the Verdin bird, which we affectionately call the Verdie bird. They are a small yellow capped desert bird - they look like a Finch but are slightly smaller. They are very social birds.

Below we took some pics and video of the Verdie bird enjoying our feeders. Enjoy!

tabby lounging

bobcat caught on camera

Pic of Bobcat Visiting Our Backyard Habitat

The Hunting and Trapping of Wild Cats

Today’s issue involves my relatives, the wild cats, which include mountain lions, bobcats, lynx, ocelots, and jaguars.

As my sister Mabel has previously addressed, ecocide, or the destruction of our ecosystem and its organisms and habitats, is contributing to massive species die off. Many scientist are referring to this as the 6th Mass Extinction.

Per the World Wildlife fund, the earth has lost half its wildlife within the past 40 years. Human actions continue to threaten wildlife through destroying or encroaching upon their habitats AND exploiting (hunting, trapping, fishing, etc) them in unsustainable ways.

My wild cat cousins are targets of exploitation and habitat destruction/encroachment in Arizona and throughout the US. My other wildlife friends including foxes, bears, coyotes, and wolves, are in the same boat (and sadly, it is not a magical ark). In Arizona, the trophy hunting of mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, and bears is legal. The barbaric and cruel trapping of these animals is also legal.

I’m a domestic, indoor cat. My purpose in life is companionship. I provide love and happiness to my family members, especially my mom. My wildlife friends have a different purpose, they are predators. We need them to keep our ecosystem in balance so that together we may survive and thrive. They also deserve the peace of mind not to be viciously hunted or trapped!

On Wednesday it was announced that California has banned fur trapping to help protect bobcats, gray fox, beaver, coyotes, badger, and mink. On Thursday, Arizona announced its ban on contests involving the killing of wildlife - which is wonderful news but very sad that such a law is needed.

We are moving in the right direction to help and protect our wildlife. However, we must DO MORE to ensure the survival of wild cats and all wildlife. I encourage you to stand up and ROAR on behalf of nature and support the wonderful organizations below that are working to defend our wildlife. Thank you!


Click on Organizations Below to Visit Their Website

🐸 Center for Biological Diversity
🐗 Defenders of Wildlife
🐻 Western Watershed Project
🐺 Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center