The Cooper’s Hawk

Top Photo: Cooper’s hawk in courtship display flight over museum. While spying on hooded mergansers in our wetland here at the Museum of Life + Science, I noticed one of the ducks tilt its head to the side and glance skyward. Reasoning the merganser was eyeing something potentially hazardous to itself, I too craned upward, thinking it perhaps an eagle or other worthy raptor. There, way up high against a severe clear sky was a Cooper’s hawk. It’s stiff postureRead more

Red-shouldered Hawk

A common sight here on the museum’s campus is the red-shouldered hawk. This one is fluffed up against the cold as it perches on a branch while surveying the swamp below for movement. Birds often fluff themselves up in cold weather, trapping air between the feathers effectively raising their R-value. Our resident red-shoulders are fairly tame, that is, they’re quite used to people. I’ve walked past them at a distance of less than ten feet without causing alarm. You couldRead more

Green Heron Retrospection

On June 24, I noticed a pair of green herons carrying twigs to a small black willow tree forty feet or so from the Main Wetlands Overlook in Explore the Wild. Four days later there was an egg in the nest. A second egg could be seen in the nest two days after the first. By July 2, there were three eggs. Two eggs hatched on 19 July. A third hatchling’s fuzzy head appeared above the rim of the nest twoRead more

What’s all the ruckus?

    As the red wolves relaxed, two male yellow-bellied sapsuckers, one of them a young bird, began to scuffle over who the trees inside the wolf enclosure actually belong to. The woodpeckers chased each other around the trees, flying back and forth, shuffling around and around the tree trunks. The female wolf carefully watched the fracas.         At one point, the sapsuckers took off in aerial combat, fluttering to the ground. The wolf was up andRead more

Photo Ops

There are many opportunities to capture interesting photogrpaphic images while on a walk around Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind. Timing and luck play their parts, and of course the amount of time one spends on the outdoor loop here at the Museum helps expose one to more opportunities, but one thing is for sure, you have to be there in person to photographic whatever it is that’s happening. Here’s some of the images I captured last week. TheRead more

Be careful out there little titmouse

I was sitting at the bird feeders at Bird Viewing in Catch the Wind. I was watching the titmice, chickadees, and other birds busily feeding in front of me when suddenly, they scattered. A whoosh of wings came at me, then abruptly turned and landed in a tree about 30 feet to my left, hidden in the shadows. In the midst of all this I heard a high pitched, shrill whistle come from somewhere over by the feeders. There, onRead more

The Rana Dilemma

Back in 2009, I noticed a large concentration of bullfrog tadpoles in the northwest corner of the Wetlands. The tadpoles were congregated around a pipe which drains the higher ground above, particularly the Red Wolf Enclosure. I didn’t know why the tadpoles were gathered in this location but speculated that it was due to either the concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the water, higher temperature, algal growth (their main source of food), or a combination of those things. Something hadRead more