A Familiar Face and a New Face

What is becoming an increasingly familiar face here at the Museum is that of the local barred owl. I’ve encountered this owl seven times since October, each time alerted to its presence through the harassing calls of crows, blue jays and various dickey birds. This time, the owl was in the swamp across from the Main Wetlands Overlook in Explore the Wild. The owl seemed to be resting, but apparently at least one eye and both ears were acutely tunedRead more

Quick Quiz

Take a look at the photo below and see if you can identify the subject. If you said “the tail of an eastern gray squirrel,” you’d be correct. Now that you know what it is, did you know that eastern gray squirrels grow little tufts of white fur on their ears in winter? Eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) are everywhere in the east. From east Texas to Saskatchewan and east to the Atlantic Coast gray squirrels are a familiar sight.Read more

What Happened Here?

Near the Wetlands, and next to an American holly loaded with berries, stands a sapling elm tree. There are many such trees here at the Museum. But, as I walked past this particular pair of arboreal specimens I noticed several clusters of passerine contour feathers stuck to the thin branches of the small, bare elm. Most of the feathers were white, some had rufus colored centers. What happened here? When I see a group of feathers clumped together as on theRead more

Red Wolf Forecast

If you’ve been following events here at the Museum you no doubt already know that we have a new female red wolf. She came to us from Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center in Chattanooga, TN back in November with the hopes of breeding with our male red wolf. Whether or not these two wolves come together is entirely up to the individuals involved, the wolves themselves. With cautious optimism, I will say that they seem to be getting alongRead more

What’s Going On Outside

If you’re walking the paths on a regular basis here at the Museum, you’re likely to see all manner of creature, winter, spring, summer, or fall. All of the creatures pictured below were photographed within the last few weeks. Brown snakes are common in this area. They attain lengths of approximately 12 inches, although the record is just over 19 inches. The individual in the photos above and below is a young one and is 6 to 7 inches. It wasRead more

A Glimpse of the Past

I was walking down the path that leads from Catch the Wind to Explore the Wild on the far side of that half mile exhibit loop. I glanced to my right and noticed a small tan-colored object dangling from a twig on a hornbeam, or ironwood, tree on the right side of the path, chrysalis. The tree is very close to a patch of partridge pea, which is host to cloudless sulphur butterflies in late summer and fall. I sawRead more

Bufflehead

On December 15, I noticed a small gray duck swimming in proximity to the slightly larger hooded mergansers in our Wetlands. I immediately thought bufflehead. The last time I saw a bufflehead in the Wetlands was November of 2014 when two showed up. At least one of them stayed until 26, December. Sure enough, there was another this year. With the current freezing temps, all waterfowl had departed by the end of this week. Diving ducks, of which both mergansers andRead more

Handful of Herons

I’m sometimes asked how many species of bird I’ve seen here at the Museum. Currently, the list is over 130 species. Of those, five species have been herons, great blue heron, great egret, green heron, and black-crowned and yellow-crowned night-herons. A great blue heron, or two, can be seen in our wetlands year-round. Although some great blue herons migrate, they can be found in our area in any season. Great egrets are widespread in North Carolina but are essentially aRead more

Red Wolf Update 11.28.16

Since the introduction of our new female red wolf (1858), she and the male (1784) seem to be getting along well. I’ve noticed only one minor, and very brief, altercation and a few bared-teeth displays when food is present. This is normal behavior. If you’ve ever had more than one domestic pooch in your house at a time, you’ve probably seen the same or worse. The two wolves forage and even rest close to one another, a good sign. Breeding seasonRead more