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Archive for March 2012
Why Do People Find Prairie Dogs So Appealing?
Despite the name, a prairie dog is more squirrel than canine. The name stems from this rodent’s barking call, not its relation to wolves, coyotes or dogs.  In fact, coyotes tend to be one the principal predators of prairie dogs in the wild. Many folks find prairie dogs quite interesting,…

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How Do Birds Sing Without Pausing To Breathe?
The birds are singing now, and for good reason: breeding season is in full swing.  And it seems to have arrived earlier this year than most. It’s A Male Thing It’s the males, of course, providing the music (females make alarm calls and other vocalizations but almost never songs). And…

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The Spotted Skunk Is One Stinky Acrobat
. The skunk that most of us in the U.S. know best, the Striped skunk, is just an entry-level stinker. Its cousin, the Spotted skunk, possesses an even more potent musk.  And the Spotted skunk is also the better entertainer. A Seldom Seen Skunk The smallest skunks found in North…

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Bears, Unplugged
Most of our readers like bears and want to help protect them.  But almost no one would want anything to do with a bear plug. Not once you’ve heard where it’s been. The bear plug is a curious product of bear hygiene.  Bears do not use their bedrooms for bathrooms,…

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Mystery Of The Disappearing Swifts Solved After 150 Years
A 150 year old mystery has finally been solved. Since first identified as separate species in 1857, the Black Swift’s winter habitat has long been a mystery to ornithologists.  The birds simply seemed to vanish after spending the spring and summer in their breeding grounds in western North America.  In…

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It’s Mating Time For Florida’s Alligators.  And It’s Noisy!
At a time when its beaches and theme parks draw boisterous crowds, Florida’s alligators simply want a little peace and quiet — a comfortable log, say, or a sunlit bank on which to bask uninterrupted. But visitors shouldn’t take the aloof behavior personally. The fact is that alligators experience a…

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Why Bluebirds And Starlings Don’t Mix
You return from vacation to find a stranger living in your home, a stranger who refuses to leave. You go to a neighbor’s house for help, and strangers are living there, too. Sound like a scene from the Twilight Zone? Well, it’s what happens sometimes to native animals when new…

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The Wild Mating Dance of The Prairie Chicken
It’s a bizarre courtship performance of the sort nature documentaries love to feature.  But it lacks the exotic locale often required to attract finicky viewers, and the animals, well, they’re chickens, prairie chickens, and few people expect a bunch of chickens to elicit much excitement. The thrills, though, are real,…

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Why Are Badgers Such Poor Neighbors?
No one likes being roused from a deep sleep. Alarm clocks, noisy neighbors . . . the list of potential nuisances goes on. But at least we don’t have to worry about hungry badgers dragging us out of our beds when one drops by! And it’s not just the Honey…

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