There are many things I enjoy about our neighborhood, but one of my favorites is the abundance of nature and wildlife that surround us in this urban environment. "A river runs through it" is not only a famous novella and movie, but a simple fact of life in King William. The river is the habitat necessary to maintain the diversity of birds and wildlife around us, and SARA is doing a fabulous job at ecosystem restoration along the Mission Reach.

While we don’t have the deer population like north San Antonio, we certainly have our share of wildlife. I have encountered a bird, bat and possum inside my home and let’s just say evacuating them was quite exciting. A cormorant veered off the river once and decided to spend several days on the lawnmower handle under our carriage house. After four surgeons with brooms couldn’t figure out how to get him to leave gently, we called in the real professionals from a wildlife rescue team to return it to the river. My children have rescued injured doves and squirrels from the backyard, and we have taken them to the Roger and Phyllis Sherman Animal Care Complex, a property funded by two of our own neighbors for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation (WRR).

Probably the most exciting wildlife encounter we have had occurred when two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks roosted somewhere in a tree high above our pool, and one afternoon descended with their twelve newly-hatched ducklings for a swim. Two spaniels barking wildly, children screaming, and Grandma fretting gave new meaning to the classic children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings,” as my husband guided them across the street to the river.

This holiday season I encourage you to see our naturally decorated tree along the river. The custom of erecting decorated trees can be traced back to Renaissance-era Germany, so how fitting that our German-influenced neighborhood is home to a naturally decorated tree. Around sunset every evening, beautiful and majestic white egrets and cormorants return to roost in a set of trees at the bend in the river across from SARA close to the Alamo Street bridge. I am filled with a sense of wonder every time I see them. I hope you find time to enjoy the natural wonders that surround us this holiday season.