Blog Archives

The Magical Banded Piglet Squid

So yeah, this is a real thing.

From SeaThos.org

From SeaThos.org

It lives about 300 feet below sea level and is full of awesome. Read more about it at the Sea Thos Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting education and awareness of the human impact on the world’s oceans.

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Name that weird newborn!

I just can’t even believe these are real things. Can you guess what it is before following the link? I couldn’t.

But I’ll give you a hint – YAAAY for endangered species having babies!

Photograph from Zoo Atlanta via Reuters

Photograph from Zoo Atlanta via Reuters

 

There’s even a babycam for these guys! Thanks Atlanta Zoo!

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

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{Book Review} Animal Dialogues by Craig Childs

Let me start off by saying that this is one of my favorite books of all time.

Feel free to cross the jump if you need more of a review than that.  Read the rest of this entry

Dancing Mallards

Today I went for a walk to the riverside park to watch ducks dabble, wiggling their butts in the air. Today’s air was remarkably warm: it was almost 60 degrees here and sunny, the perfect day for a dog walk.

The ducks were feeling feisty in the sun. One male mallard and his lady were being tailed (ha!) by a bachelor. Mr. Mallard was not having it. He’d wait until the bachelor got daringly close – then turn on him, lower his head, stretch out his body, and give chase. Well, by “give chase” I mean he swam at the bachelor at a mildly faster clip then he’d been perusing for food. It’s not as though duck chases are like the kind you see on the Serengeti. After the bachelor got away, the two performed a comical mirroring of each other’s manly display: one duck shook his head; the other did too. One duck waggled his tail feathers; the other did so too. One duck stood up tall and flapped his wings; the other did too. The dance was followed by a few more head shakes and butt waggles before they went back to ignoring each other. Bachelor stayed close.

Off in the distance, a whole flock of ducks were performing the same antics, although there was a great deal more tussling since the crowd was large. The girls looked non-plussed; perhaps even approving of all the attention and momentary chaos. As I watched the ducks chasing each other, heads down like  bikers trying to win a race, I realized that displays like these, like those of most other animals, are harmless shows of bravado. No animal truly wants to come to blows. But what if they did? Ducks have blunt bills and entirely silly feet. They certainly can’t grab at anything with their wings, and although they have pointy little teeth, they also have a nice thick coating of oiled feathers. I do know from working with raptors that the wrist joint (in human terms) of the wing is pretty powerful; maybe they’d swing at each other with those. I think I’ve seen them trying to stand on each other awkwardly while afloat when the dancing doesn’t work.

I love the ducks. There’s a bench that I sit on to watch them and even in small moments you can see a great deal of the “wild kingdom” in their interactions with each other. Sunka sits on the bench next to me, but facing backwards; he knows that in the towering pines of the park there are many tiny tree monkeys just waiting to antagonize him. I watch the ducks, he watches for squirrels. People give me big toothy grins as they walk by, seeing him seated so politely next to me on the bench, ears up.

After the ducks, we walk to a small grocer and I give in to the months-long craving I’ve had for fried chicken. And potato wedges. Those, and the latte I’ve already had are counteracted entirely by my outing to the gym this morning. No, for real.

Sunka gets a potato wedge and one tiny hunk of fried chicken, and his day is made ten times over.

Self control.

I have nothing useful to say today. So, I leave you with this. Which made me laugh so hard I almost choked on my sandwich.

[Video] Starling Murmuration

Wow. Wildlife synchronization at its finest.

 

[Video] Ostrich Eggs and African Predators

Holy cow. Here are some of the things I love about this clip: the jackal’s frustration (I’ve seen my dog do this with a soccer ball), the ridiculous face of the first vulture, and the way the FOUR FOOT TALL VULTURE at the end dwarfs the EAGLE.

When I lived in South Africa, I was delighted to discover that you can purchase ostrich eggs in the grocery store. There are tons of ostrich farms around, and the eggs, which weigh 3 or 4 pounds, are quite good. While on holiday, we bought one to have for breakfast. You can’t just crack them (unless you have a rock and you don’t mind half a gallon of egg everywhere), so you actually have to drill a small hole in the top of the egg and then drain it into your pan.

Our one ostrich egg, scrambled, served more than eight people.

 

Scrub Jay Nostalgia.

Came across some photos this evening that I don’t think I posted of the Brothers Jay back in spring before their release. These images depict some of my favorite things about birds: the tenacity they have in wanting to fly and shit wherever they please, how they must – if they are forced to be in the presence of a two-legged – sit on that two-legged’s head, and how, regardless of their lack of human-esque forms of affection, the site of two birds huddling together as they slept can warm the cockles of my little heart. Thanks for sharing this with me folks. :)