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Archive for February 2012
A Frost Free Flower?  This May Be The First Plant You See Bud This Spring
Most cars come equipped with a defrost feature. Press a button, and the ice melts from the windows. A defroster is also standard equipment on one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring. The plant is called Skunk Cabbage—an apt name for something with cabbage-like leaves and a…

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Bird Thought Extinct Found Living On Pacific Islands
Several Bryan’s Shearwaters, thought by many to be extinct, have been found alive on remote islands near Japan. A New Species The pelagic (ocean dwelling) bird was first noted in 1963 and thought to be a Little Shearwater (Puffinus assimilis) at the time. DNA analysis conducted in 2011 on the…

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Sudden Color In The Desert—The Wildflowers Are Coming!
It’s almost March, and the desert is about to blossom with color.  Early spring is the time of year to catch the desert’s wildflowers during their spectacular bloom. The canyons, arroyos, flats, peaks, and washes of the Southwest depend on rainfall in the autumn and winter for their spring colors.…

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Marital Advice from the Sea
Some couples swear that separate vacations are the secret to marital success. Skeptical? Well, it works for Northern Elephant Seals. Home for these seals is the Pacific Coast of North America. That’s where the females come each winter to give birth to their pups and, a few weeks later, mate…

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The Smith’s Longspur Has One Busy Honeymoon!
Are you the type that has an insatiable appetite for lusty affairs?  Do you seek the same qualities in a partner? Then you’ll probably enjoy the story of the Smith’s Longspur. This bird’s 70’s swinging style is enough to make even Hugh Hefner blush. Small like a sparrow, the Smith’s…

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Whose Heart Is Bigger-  A Whale’s or A Hummingbird’s?
Think those heart-shaped boxes of Valentine’s chocolates are impressive? Compared to the size of a human heart perhaps. But a whale’s heart dwarfs even those samplers that require weightlifters to hoist them. Picture a heart the size of a car. That’s what a Blue Whale possesses—a heart that deserves its…

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Valentine’s Day Isn’t Just For Humans— There’s Lots Going On In The Wild Too
Some folks love it, others dread it. But no matter what your feelings about Valentine’s Day, there’s no avoiding it. And it’s not just humans— animals in the wild are succumbing to Cupid’s arrows as well.  Take a a walk through your backyard or a backcountry hike and you’ll likely…

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How Faithful Are Songbirds To Their Mates?
Unlike humans, who seize the opportunity at Valentine’s Day to proclaim their love for their mate and reinforce the bonds of love over a lifetime, most birds are of a different feather. It seems that they may not be as faithful to their mates as we’ve been led to think.…

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How Can A Groundhog Predict The End Of Winter?
It’s Groundhog Day and the furry, kind-of-cute groundhog is in the news. Groundhogs clearly aren’t related to pigs or hogs—so what exactly are they? The groundhog (also known as a woodchuck or Eastern Marmot) is actually a large, ground-dwelling rodent and is part of family of ground squirrels known as…

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Polar Bears In Hot Pursuit Of Love
Valentine’s Day is coming up and love is in the Arctic air. So what’s the best place for a male Polar Bear to meet a potential mate? The experts recommend going to a prime seal-hunting spot. But finding such a spot is only the beginning of the challenge. Nature Doesn’t…

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