Out and About

Top Photo: Green heron perches on willow branch near water’s edge. Green herons are a fairly common sight in the wetlands during summer. They’ve nested at the museum more than a few times. I’ve previously mentioned in this blog the benefits for the naturalist who follows the eye of the bird. If you see a bird stare skyward it’s often worth your while to look up and see what the bird’s looking at. It may be a predator worthy ofRead more

No Time to Spare

Top Photo: A male slaty skimmer waits for flying insects to pass by. If you spend any time out in nature, you’ll no doubt see animals sitting around seemingly doing nothing. Perching, waiting, and sitting still is just part of life for many wild creatures. There’s usually a very good reason for the apparent idleness. While some dragonflies spend a good portion of their day hunting on the wing, slaty skimmers, like the one pictured above, do their hunting fromRead more

A Trip Outdoors

Top Photo: Rudbeckia as part of the new “Prairie” in Catch the Wind. Life goes on along the outdoor loop through Catch the Wind, Explore the Wild, and the Dinosaur Trail. Here’s some of what’s happening out there. The tiny fruit of autumn olive is ripening. Though a non-native plant, the fruit is edible and has a sweet-tart taste. You should hold off on picking and eating until it ripens. When the fruit turns red with whitish speckles, that’s theRead more

What’s Happening on the Outdoor Loop

Top Photo: The Wetlands in summer. If you’re familiar with the museum’s outdoor loop through Catch the Wind and Explore the Wild, you may be happy to know that life goes on as it always has in the past. There are, though, a few changes around the bend. Here, a few familiar sights and a few behind the scenes sneak previews. Shrubby St. John’s wort is in bloom, as it is each year at this time. The 4 foot tallRead more

Sharing

Our two sibling red wolves, Eno and Ellerbe, share the same enclosure. As you might expect, each wolf has its own personality. Eno often seems to desire, what appears to be, playful interaction between himself and his brother. From my observations, Ellerbe prefers to be left alone and does not share his brother’s enthusiasm for “playfulness.” It’s part of the captive animal experience to be offered enrichment. Environmental Enrichment, in the case here, is the placement of objects inside theRead more

Gray Squirrel Update

In my last post I mentioned an eastern gray squirrel who had been feasting on wax myrtle fruit. We all know that squirrels are sedulous chowhounds. They’ll try most any food and go to great lengths to do it. Put up a bird feeder and you’ll see to what lengths they’ll go to eat the seed in that feeder. Still, even with their reputation for gluttony driven acrobatics, and their sheer ubiquity, it’s fun to watch our squirrels here atRead more

The Howling

Top: Father and three of his sons from this year’s liter enjoy a group howl. Our ten red wolves howl regularly. We don’t howl at them, but their howling has become a nearly daily routine. The museum happens to be located within a quarter mile of a hospital. We hear a lot of sirens. Most are off in the distance, but our wolves hear them just the same, and they react to the sirens by howling. It’s quite an experienceRead more

The Local Squirrels

The common tree squirrel in our area is the eastern gray squirrel. And yes, there is a western gray squirrel. It occupies parts of the western states of Washington, Oregon, and California. The eastern gray lives in the central and eastern states, wherever there are trees. Besides the two already mentioned, there are tassel-eared squirrels of the southwest and various forms of fox squirrels, mainly in the east but also in some of the western states. And there are theRead more

Run Wolf Run

We have here at the museum, one adult breeding pair of red wolves, two yearling male red wolves, and six three-month old pup red wolves. Every now and then, the year-old wolves get frisky and chase each other around their enclosure. It’s often a vigorous jaunt with more than just a few circuits around the yard. The parents sometimes join in but usually don’t make it past the first lap. After all, the male is 9 years old and theRead more

What’s Happening in the Wild

Above, during a downpour, northern rough-winged swallows take a break from swirling, diving and capturing airborne insects over the wetlands. If, while visiting the museum you park at the parking deck, stop and have a look at the flowers blooming along the path leading to the deck, you may see some interesting insects, including several species of butterfly. Over the past week I’ve been seeing dogbane beetles on their namesake plant along the path of the outdoor loop through ExploreRead more