Happy Vernal Equinox!

*Note: Although BirdNation is a site all about our avian friends, today’s post will discuss another kind of animal. Birds are my favorite, but I love all wildlife, so I wanted to share with my readers a cool experience I had with a different species. I believe all wildlife is important to learn about. Enjoy!*

We did it everyone! We survived another winter, and finally made it to Spring! Hooray! I am always relieved on the first day of spring. Sometimes it feels like the winter will never end.

Except…as I type this it is snowing here in Southern New Jersey. It’s barely sticking, but it’s happening. Oh Mother Nature, you love to mess with our heads don’t you? Oh well, it is technically spring, so I’ll just pretend this snow didn’t happen.

So what did I do on the final weekend of winter? Besides a brief walk at Boundary Creek with Dave on Friday night, I did not go on any birding trips this weekend. Shocking, right? Although I didn’t go bird watching, I did go wolf watching!

On Saturday I went with my friends Casey and Cathe to the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia, New Jersey. Columbia is in what we call the “Skylands Region” of Northwestern New Jersey. Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New York border this region and it is mountainous there. The “Skylands” also feature the Delaware Water Gap. It’s a far trek for us (about 2 hours away), but the change of scenery was certainly welcome.

The mission of the Lakota Wolf Preserve is to provide a good and safe place to live for wolves, foxes, and bobcats who were raised in captivity and to educate the public about these animals. It is owned by a couple, Jim and Becky, who give education tours. There are 4 packs of wolves. Wolf breeds represented are Timber, Arctic, and British Columbian. There are also 2 bobcats and 2 foxes that they care for. It was great to learn about these fascinating animals and see them up close.

Wolves are misunderstood. They are also endangered in many states. Many people fear them, but in reality they are fearful of us. Wolves are very shy and elusive, so when they catch a scent of a human they leave to try to avoid contact. Attacks by wolves are extremely rare. You’re more likely to get struck by lightning, get in a car accident with a deer, or be killed by a dog than you are of getting attacked by a wolf. So I think it’s great that organizations like the Lakota Wolf Preserve are trying to teach the public and clear up misconceptions. If you are visiting Northwestern New Jersey I suggesting checking out the preserve. Here are some photos I took from the tour. There are chain link fences separating us from the wolves, so getting them in the shot was unavoidable (although I got a few with the illusion that the fences weren’t there).

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A Timber Wolf relaxing (Image by BirdNation)
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Howling (Image by BirdNation)
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A British Columbia Wolf (Image by BirdNation)
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A sleepy Arctic Wolf (Image by BirdNation)

I did have one unexpected bird encounter this weekend. I’m not going to tell you who it was yet though, because it will be the species featured on our first Migration Monday. Check back tomorrow to learn who it was!

 

 

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Author: BirdNation

I am an avid birder, teacher, and nature lover. I primarily birdwatch throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.

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