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Archive for June 2016
The Bald Facts— How Much Do You Know About Our National Bird?
Patriotism is back in fashion, and one of America’s most potent icons is the Bald Eagle. But how much do you know about our national bird? Find out now by taking the eNature “Bald Eagles by the Numbers” quiz. Q. How many species of Bald Eagles are there in the…

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July Is The Perfect Time For Summer Stargazing!
The heavens are busy these days!  The jewels of summer, Deneb, Altair and Vega, which mark the three corners of the Summer Triangle, are the first stars visible as evening falls in July. August Constellations The skies hold plenty of other interesting sights this month as well. Ursa Major, the…

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How Many Teeth Are In A Sharks Mouth?
Sharks have been in the news the past week, with a number of attacks on bathers in the waters worldwide.  And the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week was this week as well. Whenever sharks are in the news, we tend to get lots of questions about them, especially their teeth..…

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Can You Tell The Difference Between Wasps And Yellow Jackets?
It’s summer, and the yellow jackets are back in force. Should we be alarmed? Well, it helps to know a little about these creatures. Yellow jackets are a type of paper wasp—that is, they build structures out of a special paper made by adding saliva to chewed-up plant fibers. In…

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Today’s Solstice Marks The Start Of Summer—And Of Summer Stargazing
The heavens are busy these days!  Today (June 20) is the summer solstice, and the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s also the longest day of the year. In 2016, a full Moon, also commonly known as Strawberry Moon, will coincide with the June Solstice. The two events…

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Here’s Why Goldfinches Wait Until July To Begin Nesting
By July, most songbirds are in the final stages of raising their young, but not the American Goldfinches. These appealing, colorful birds are just getting started.  Notoriously late nesters, goldfinches have been waiting for the thistles to bloom. When this happens in July, it signals the goldfinches that they can…

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Why Do Fireflies Flash At Night?
While walking along the Potomac River one evening this week we saw a large number of fireflies in the foliage along the river bank.  It had been a great walk with lots of ospreys fishing, barn swallows enjoying insects overhead, leaping bass making huge splashes, and even an encounter with…

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Purple Teeth And Two Foot Incisors?  Animal’s Teeth Contain All Sort Of Stories
There’s remarkable variety in the shape, size and number of teeth found in animals—  and in the uses their owners put them to. Who’s Teeth Are Biggest? Walruses are famous for their teeth; specifically, the enormous tusks that project from their upper jaws. Both sexes have these tusks. In fact,…

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Just Say No To Releasing Butterflies At Weddings
Now that it’s high season for weddings, it seems a good time to remind folks that releasing butterflies at weddings is generally a bad idea.  Below is a reprint of one of our more popular blog entries from a few years back, right about the time of the Royal wedding.…

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Do Armadillos Swim—Or Does All That Armor Keep Them From Floating?
Armadillos have been in the news recently.  Unfortunately the coverage has focused on the very small number of these remarkable creatures the may be disease vectors.  It’s a real story, but risks painting the armadillo in negative way when in fact they are an appealing and harmless part of the…

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How Do Woodpeckers Avoid Brain Damage—Or Worse?
There’s a reason construction workers don’t operate jackhammers with their foreheads. Well, there are several reasons, but one is to avoid concussions. But what protects the woodpecker from similar injuries? For starters, the woodpecker maintains a perfectly straight strike as it bores into a tree — like a machine almost…

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Do You Know What To Do When Birds Collide With Your Windows?
As spring continues and bird activity is peaking, you’ve probably noticed birds colliding with your windows, especially if you live in a wooded area. This is a common but huge problem that takes the lives of millions of birds annually. What can you do to keep birds from your windows?…

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