Category Archives: Biology/Ecology

Vintage Nature Illustration Wednesday

Turpin Pierre Chaumeton 1814

Turpin Pierre Chaumeton 1814

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[Video] What Does the Sloth Say?

You’re gonna wanna sit down for this.

 

Ole Worm and the History of Curio Cabinets

I am an avid collector of small things both natural and cultural: rocks, seedpods, carvings, fetishes, art, more rocks, curiosities, skins, and – wait – did I already mention rocks?

Many of my naturalist comrades share this tendency to hoard similar items, perhaps as a way to remember the places we’ve been or to bring the outdoors inside. Our fascination with these items is not a new trend; in fact, collecting “curios” (defined as a rare or unusual object, considered attractive or interesting) dates back to the ending of the Middle Ages and the opening of the Renaissance.

1592 collection of engravings by the Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel. University of Massachusetts Amherst. Photo credit: www-sicd.u-strasbg.fr

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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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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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[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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Mid-Atlantic Autumn Photos

This is my first real autumn in six whole years! After living in the shadows of mountains and being surrounded by striking sagebrush oceans, I’m back on the East Coast and remembering the autumns of my childhood. They come much more slowly here, giving you the chance to breathe in the colors and textures of changing leaves and landscapes. Have you noticed how different the angle of the light is during autumn and spring? After the blazing and endless sun of summer, it’s so spectacular to me how the light comes in more steeply, sifting through branches and brightening things with a cool fire.

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Enormous Stick Insect, Thought Extinct, is Rediscovered

This story is both amazing and inspiring – an enormous stick-insect, considered extinct since the 1960s, has a fascinating story of re-discovery and hope for the future.

Read the story by NPR writer Robert Krulwich HERE or click on the image of the INSANELY GIGANTOR insects to read!!

patrick

Image via Rod Morris/www.rodmorris.co.nz

Very Merry Berry Go Round (#47)

I’m quite ecstatic to be hosting my very first blog carnival, so merry berry to ME! Thanks to the team at BGR!

It’s unseasonably warm for December here in Central Oregon, and this is one naturalist that is not complaining. (Though I have to keep my mouth shut around the skiiers, they’re a testy bunch.) To celebrate the sunshine, we’re going to look at some decidedly warm-timey articles that focus on pollination. Because, dammit, I need flowers in the winter.

Thanks for reading. Away we go!

The Old Drone (love the name!) wants you to know just how fascinating it is that tomatoes are self-pollenizing. Which is different than self-pollinating!

Bug Girl kindly gives a review of the new app for selecting plants for your region, developed with pollinators in mind.

Zen at the NeuroDojo reviews a paper that looks deeper into the idea of flower color as a necessity for pollinator attraction.

Slugyard helps us understand lupine pollination and even gives us a video to watch! Wah hoo!

The Carnivorous Plant Blog shows us a beautiful image of Darlingtonia‘s bits and a brief, simple method of pollinating the little darling. (Har!)

And finally, this post over at the Field Notebook just made me completely lose touch with reality and drift off into a daydream of spring, blooms, and the buzzing of bees and hummingbirds.. zzz.. bzzzz…

[blink] Anyway! To contribute something of my own, here’s a pic of a happy little bee getting a face full of lavender that I took two summers ago. Mmmm, summer.. flowers.. bees.. sunshine..

IS IT SPRING YET?!

Be sure to visit Berry Go Round’s main page, and, just for fun, I’ve added a few extras to get your springtime spirit bouncing around. Enjoy and happy blogging!

Web Exhibits explores the relationship between butterflies and color.

Longwood Gardens offers a fun, interactive site for you (or your children) to build their own flowers and learn about pollination.

The US Forest Service has a lot of great info, pics, and ideas on their Celebrating Wildflowers site! Check it out!