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Habitat at Home: A New Awakening

By Carol Heiser, DWR Wildlife Habitat Education Coordinator

Photos by Carol Heiser

The other morning as I waited for my coffee to brew, I went outside for my usual wake-up walk around the yard. My yard is my sanctuary, the place where I relax, reflex, wonder and smile. I woke up restless that morning, my mind troubled and scattered by the craziness of news about the coronavirus, needing to be reassured that somehow all will still be well with the world. As usual, it only took a few steps out the back door to see a bit of nature to confirm that she is indeed very alive and well, thank you.

I kind of feel like Dorothy opening up the door in the land of Oz, because as soon as I walk out, I see hundreds of little spider webs outlined by the rising mist from last night’s rain.

Some webs are on the ground, nestled among the dried leaves that I had very intentionally not raked up last fall, because fallen leaves are hugely important habitat for so many wildlife species. The leaves provide structure for the webs of funnel weaving spiders. You can see each web has a small hole where the spider hides in wait, ever ready for the slightest vibration of an insect that might happen along and become this morning’s breakfast. Spiders gotta eat too, you know.

Other webs are suspended from the upper branches of shrubs, made by sheetweb spiders in the shape of Grandma’s old bowl and doily tea set; hence the creature is aptly named the bowl-and-doily spider. The geometry of their architecture is stunning.

Meanwhile, the Carolina wren that lives in the shrubs next to my porch is singing her morning rounds, heartily proclaiming another new day. “Yes,” she seems to say, “we are still here, we’ve always been here, and we’re going to get through this.”

Being outside helps me feel refreshed and ready to face another day. Despite our difficulties and the daily warnings on the news, nature is always here to inspire and uplift.

This is my invitation to you, to find a bit of time today to go outside and see the life all around you, just waiting to be discovered.

What’s in your Habitat at Home?

Yours in conservation,


  • March 25, 2020