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Posts Tagged ‘Animals’

The Great Snowy Owl Irruption

10626824625_5a69c27fb3_bPhoto Credit: FannyBanny1 via Compfight cc

Snowy owls are popping up all over the eastern United States and Canada. One even made it to Bermuda.

Biologists aren’t sure why. Perhaps a summer lemming boom fed many more snowy owlets than usual?

Whatever the reason, remarkable numbers of Hedwig’s kin have come south. If you’d like to see one in the wild, now is the time. Keep an eye out at airports, the beach, fields, and other open areas that remind owls of the tundra. But they could show up anywhere, like this one at a Maryland McDonald’s.

For more info, check out this e-Bird summary and a zoomable map of reported sightings.

P.S. I took a little break from blogging for an exciting personal project. Hope to do more in the new year.

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b95-moonbird

(c) Phillip Hoose

B95, aka Moonbird, has again touched down in Delaware. After refueling on the eggs of spawning horseshoe crabs, he will head north to the Canadian arctic for at least his 21st breeding season. Remarkable for a four-ounce red knot whose normal lifespan is just four or five years and whose annual migration begins and ends way down in Tierra del Fuego.

B95 has logged at least 340,000 miles over the years, probably more. That’s enough to go to the moon and halfway back, hence his nickname.

He’s even got a biography by Phillip Hoose, who took the lovely portrait above.

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Shortfin Mako

I probably ought to be blogging about the latest GDP data or how Twitter taught McDonald’s about the Congressional Budget Office (here and here; Mickey D’s is promoting its Cheddar Bacon Onion). But the heck with that. Instead, let’s celebrate Friday with this stunning photo of a shortfin mako by Sam Cahir as published in the Mail Online (ht: Rick MacPherson):

What a beautiful creature (click to enlarge).

At this point, I usually would encourage you to read the accompanying article. In this case, though, caveat lector – parts are incredibly overwrought. But the other photos are lovely, including one of the mako with a great white.

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Saving Bear Cubs

For my animal-loving readers, here are Shirley and Tom Schenk executing a perfect rescue of three bear cubs trapped in a dumpster in New Mexico (h/t: the Awl).

For more bear action, check out the live cam at Brooks Falls in Alaska.

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The World’s Most Traveled Bird?

B95, aka Moonbird, has again touched down in New Jersey. After refueling, he will head north to the Canadian arctic for at least his 20th breeding season. Remarkable for a four-ounce red knot whose normal lifespan is just four or five years and whose annual migration begins and ends way down in Tierra del Fuego.

B95 has logged at least 320,000 miles over the years, probably more. That’s enough to go to the moon and halfway back, hence his nickname.

He’s even got a biography coming out this summer.

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In Washington’s economic circles, the only animals we usually have to worry about are hawks and doves. (And the occasional raccoon or vole.)

If you’re doing development research in Ghana, however, things are more complicated.  Zipping from village to village on her motorcycle, my friend Liz has become intimately familiar with the behavior — often stochastic — of different animals when confronted with a moto rider:

Goats are the ideal animal to encounter on the road in Northern Ghana. Street smart and properly aware of their place in the road hierarchy, they will run away and off the road at the approach of a vehicle. …

While goats are the ideal animal to encounter on the road, sheep are bane of Ghanaian drivers. Dismally stupid, they will invariably run directly into traffic. … The difference in behavior between sheep and goats makes distinguishing the two a key survival skill in Tamale. Remember: tail up, goat; tail down, sheep.
If only it were that easy to distinguish the real budget hawks and doves.
 
 

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