Five foot snow drift December 2021 – Courtesy Caron Tayloe

Caron Tayloe is a lifelong Washoe County resident who has been a wildlife watcher since childhood. Here she inspires us to make the most of this magical season.

Hello, Nevada Wildlife Watchers! Happy New Year to all and thank you for all you have done for wildlife in the past year. Here is to the next year of continuing old battles and the beginnings new battles at local and State levels.

One way we can get ready for these upcoming (and current) battles is by getting out to appreciate nature no matter what the weather. Sometimes being reminded what you are fighting for is quite the motivator. Wherever you are this Nevada winter it is a classic time to watch the comings and goings of wildlife. In the North many species of birds have migrated south or west but several species stay every year and show up at backyard bird feeders and roam the forests and valley landscapes for food. In addition, birds that spend summers at higher elevations have come down to the valleys for a little less weather drama. There are bird watching outings with several conservation groups and you may have to strap on those snowshoes! Deer and coyotes are prevalent in neighborhoods bordering public lands.

Getting out of the towns makes watching for the tracks of mountain lions, bobcats, elk, and antelope a fun pastime. If you are lucky you may actually see one of those glorious beings.

In the Southern part of our State there are even more opportunities for wildlife watching through conservation group participation and through the outdoor opportunities available due to a milder winter. Many species of birds stay local and some come in from the North to spend their winters in Clark, Lincoln, and the southern part of Nye counties. In Las Vegas you do not have to go very far to see all kinds of wildlife since some come from afar to settle in at the parks. If you want an amazing experience check out the Clark County Wetlands Park. What an inspiration and an opportunity to refresh yourself in nature close to home.

We wildlife watchers distinguish ourselves from the wildlife killers because we know wildlife should come first and, for us, it does. We are ethical participants, being careful not to disturb the order of things when we are out and about. Unfortunately, when it comes to making wildlife watching easier and safer, Nevada is very far behind other states, so wildlife watchers must take care when out on public lands. Trapping of some furbearer mammals exists year ‘round but trapping is especially prevalent this time of the year since furbearer coats are thicker, and the State allows for other species like bobcats to be trapped. What to do if you come across a trap, or worse, an animal in a trap, is a subject for another article. In the meantime; be aware of your surroundings and the limitations of your vehicle, wear layers, and bring water.