Monthly Archives: February 2014

[Activity] Make a Nesting Materials Hub for Birds

I never forget to feed the birds. Every time I go outside, my muscle memory moves my eyeballs to the feeders to see if they need to be refilled.

But what I do forget is that, judging by how vocal they’re becoming, they’re getting into the mood for finding a mate and building a nest. The daylight clings a little longer, and all the trees – I just know it – are starting to stir. So this year I wanted to add another element to the backyard: a little depot for nesting supplies. Now most birds are going to use natural goodies, like twigs, moss, and (if you’re a hummingbird) even spider web silk, but birds are opportunists and if they decide yarn or dog hair would benefit the nest, they’ll certainly use it.

Cross the jump to see what I did this year!

nesting materials

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The Milkweed & Monarch Situation – Links & Resources

Butterflies feed on lots of different plants, but each species need a particular plant or group of plants on which to lay their eggs. Monarch butterflies need Milkweed (Asclepias species) for reproduction, and these lovely indigenous flowers are in decline – between agricultural practices, roadside chemical sprays, and everything else that puts native species in decline, milkweed species, like many other plants that support native wildlife, are in trouble.

I wanted to take just a quick minute to assemble some resources and links that will help you gather all the necessary info on this topic, and the exciting movement happening in backyard gardens to protect the gorgeous, famous butterfly we call the Monarch.

Female Monarch on clover, by Kenneth Harrelson on Wiki.

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February Tweets & Pins

Here’s the monthly roundup of our favorite tweets and pins for your perusing pleasure. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Pinterest if you like what you see!

tweet pin

The Dodo is a new, awesome site all about animals that you should definitely check out.
Do you know what your plants are doing when you’re not watching?
This huge bee hotel is not only eco-awesome, it’s gorgeous and I want it. Now.
Mother Earth News gives you 65 ways to save money through self-reliance.
The Clymene dolphin is a cross between two other dolphins.
Top carnivores are more important than we ever could have imagined, because obviously.
Ten of the rarest animals on earth are stunning and fascinating.
#BestBigBug hastag reveals incredible and occasionally horrifyingly huge insects.
Cow poop can tell us things.
Were you under the impression that birds sleep in their nests?
The rare and spectacular snow leopard was captured on film in Pakistan by camera traps.
Do you need a giant animal made? Talk to this guy.

Vintage Nature Illustration Wednesday – the Midland Naturalist

Volume V of the 1882 Midland Naturalist, printed in London.

Volume V of the 1882 Midland Naturalist, printed in London.

10 Neat & Random Things About Human Adaptation for Cold Climate Survival

Brrrr… are you guys ready for spring yet? We sure are! But since we still have a little longer in the cold, let’s celebrate more winter goodness.

As you may have read in our last post about animal winter survival methods, there are two basic types of tools for getting through extreme weather: physiological adaptations, and behavioral adaptations. For the human animal, our physiological adaptations may not seem readily apparent, and our behavioral adaptations look more like “culture.” Read on to learn ten awesome (and relatively random) facts about how we walking apes adapted to survive colder temps!

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Ultimate Quick Guide to How Animals Survive Winter

For life that must survive low temperatures and harsh weather in the Northern Hemisphere, there are three major routes to success. Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages; a balance must be found between calorie intake and calorie expenditure. All groups of living things seem to use a good mix of each survival tactic, bringing their own special adaptations to the table. Read on for a quick look at how the Northern Hemisphere survives winter!

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Vintage Nature Illustration Wednesday – Snake

1735 by Albertus Seba (1665–1736) volume 2, Sloane Collection

1735 Thesaurus by Albertus Seba (1665–1736) volume 2, Sloane Collection

[Activity] Count Birds for Science in February

The Great Backyard Bird Count is this month and you can participate! Sponsored by Audubon and Cornell, this is the GBBC’s 17th year. The event lasts four days, from Feb 14 to Feb 17, so mark your calendar now and sign up here, at birdsource.org. Counting birds is not only fun, but helps bird scientists know where the birds are and how many there may be.

From the site:

Everyone is welcome–from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

Participants tally the number of individual birds of each species they see during their count period. They enter these numbers on the GBBC website.

So go on, count you some birds. Click here or on the image to register!

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