A Wild 12 Days of Christmas
Feeling festive this season? You’re not the only one! Get ready to give that English carol a run for its money with 12 Days of North American Wildlife!
A California Quail in a tree
Partridges are in short supply on this side of the Atlantic, but we have plenty of their photogenic cousins: the quail. The California quail is just one of the many native members of the New World Quail family. Learn about the work the National Wildlife Federation does in California to protect quail and other wildlife native to the Golden State.
Two Mourning Doves
Did you know that a mourning dove’s wings and tail make a whistling sound while they are in flight? Or that they are native to all of the lower 48 states? Learn more about who shares your backyard by identifying the birds you see every day!
Three Greater Sage-Grouse Hens (and one male)
“What’s good for the bird is good for the herd” is the distinctive rallying cry that echoed across 11 western states from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains. The sage-grouse was once a common sight in the western sagebrush-steppe, but invasive species, habitat fragmentation, and natural disasters pushed their population down to an estimated half million birds.
That all began to change in 2010 when a massive conservation effort was launched to save the “sagebrush sea” and all its inhabitants. The effort was a success! Learn more about the part NWF played in this massive conservation victory and support further recovery efforts by asking your representatives to act!
Four Calling Birds
Four cedar waxwings, to be exact. These small songbirds cut quite a dramatic figure as they fly through the trees. You can use these tips to make them, and other birds, feel at home in your garden. In fact, if you use sustainable practices to provide food, water, cover, and places for wildlife to raise their young then you’re ready to certify your garden as an official Certified Wildlife Habitat! Find out how certifying can help your garden, and its inhabitants, grow.
Five Golden Poppies
California gold poppies are a cheerful part of the spring. Though you may be tempted to plant them in your own garden, it’s important that you never collect native plants from the wild — doing so could damage a fragile ecosystem. Instead, learn about plants native to your area and find organizations or nurseries that can help you track down the best seeds or seedlings for your own garden.
Six Geese a-Landing
With a range that extends from northern Canada to Mexico, the Canada goose is a common sight in North America. Their annual migration is as much a part of the fall season as shorter days and colder temperatures. But did you know that climate change presents special challenges to migratory species? Take action and help protect the habitats on which migratory birds and other wildlife depend.
Seven Trumpeter Swans a-Swimming
North America’s largest native waterfowl, the trumpeter swan is one of conservation’s great success stories. From near extinction in the 1930s to three thriving populations across North America today (broadly, the Great Lakes, the Interior, and the Pacific Northwest – from Oregon up to Alaska). With perhaps one notable exception, trumpeter swans are highly sensitive to human disturbance, which makes conserving their habitat crucial to the survival of the species. Read up on the National Wildlife Federation’s work to conserve their stomping grounds in the Great Lakes, the Arctic, and Puget Sound.
Eight Bison Calves a-Milking
The reddish-brown coats on these bison calves tell us they are less than 4 months old, which means they still have a lot of roaming to do! Once nearly extinct, the American bison has a long history of conservation success that continues to this day. Since 1997, the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Lands program and Northern Rockies Regional Center have worked with indigenous communities across the plains to restore bison to their native range.
The last few years have brought several unqualified successes, with bison returning to the Fort Bleknap (2013), Fort Peck (2012 and 2014), and Wind River (2016) reservations. Show your support for bison restoration by symbolically adopting today.
Nine Water Birds Dancing
From the graceful curve of a swan’s neck to an egret’s decadent plumage, it’s not hard to imagine these birds would put the ladies of the original carol to shame. Though tundra swans, great egrets, and snowy egrets have very little overlap in range, there’s one thing they all need to survive: wetlands. The National Wildlife Federation works tirelessly to protect wetlands and watersheds. Do your part by urging politicians to protect clean water everywhere.
Ten Dolphins a-Leaping
Though the long-beaked common dolphin has a small presence in North America (basically the length of the California coast), the charismatic bottlenose has a wide native range that includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 7 years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Gulf is still in recovery, but landmark settlements have breathed new life into restoration efforts. NWF’s South Central Regional Center continues to lead the charge for responsible habitat restoration. Read up to find out how you can help us Restore the Gulf of Mexico.
Eleven Sandpipers Piping
Coastal residents might be surprised to learn that western sandpipers, a common sight in the winter, are actually visitors from the Alaskan coast. Like all shorebirds, sandpipers rely on healthy coastal ecosystems, which makes NWF’s work on Mid-Atlantic impoundments and dune restoration in the Northeast so important. Efforts are ongoing, so you can reach out to a nearby NWF regional office or affiliate to see if there are any upcoming events where you can lend a hand!
Twelve Woodpeckers Drumming
Though their ranges may vary by species, one thing is for sure: where there’s a tree, there’s likely to be a woodpecker. These birds can be found in remote forests, or in the middle of a busy metropolis. In fact, studies indicate that cities support a staggering abundance of biodiversity. Protect urban wildlife by registering your entire community as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
The abundance of flora and fauna native to North America is truly breathtaking.