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Posts tagged ‘wildlife’

From Amphibians to Avains, Welcome to Wild Wisconsin

2012.04.24   |   by   |   , ,

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear field trip is a large yellow bus full of noisy kids on the way to a museum. However, when I received the April issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine I came across an article titled Get Outdoors and Explore Wisconsin’s Wild Places that painted a different picture from what first came to my mind when I thought of field trips. Instead of noisy kids on a yellow bus, there were noisy birders on a yellow train heading into the heart of the Tiffany Bottoms State Natural Area off to check out some of the best birding in Wisconsin. When I saw this I couldn’t help but grin.


While I always enjoy reading through Wisconsin Natural Resources this months issue was especially interesting due to their article on cool field trips in Wisconsin. The article highlighted 34 of 118 field trips available through the Natural Resources Foundation. The focuses of the field trips ranged from amphibians to avians, and catered to all activity levels. A couple of the trips that I found particularly interesting were bat night at Maiden Rock and  the trumpeter swan cygnet roundup and banding. While bat night is offered every year, this is the last year that the Trumpeter Swan trip will be available, if you are interested you had better sign up soon.

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Feed and watch!

2012.04.15   |   by   |   , ,

Birds, birds, birds! Hiking in the woods on a cold chilly day and holding a pair of binoculars ready to look at the bird that flies by – sound too extreme and intense? Allow me to introduce you Project FeederWatch, organized by Cornell Lab of Ornithology for everyone to participate! It is a backyard bird survey project that starts from every November to early April where participants should put up their bird feeders and count the birds that visit! Not too difficult at all. Grab your snacks, and maybe beers; sit down, relax and count!

Photo by Alice Kahn(Project FeederWatch), taken from Cornell Lab of Ornithology website

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Murmur what?

2012.03.18   |   by   |   , ,

I wake up in the morning to feel the touch of the humid air on my face. The chilly breeze tickles my exposed arms, and I can hear the familiar chirping song  from the gray blue sky. I say to myself: I’m glad that I am alive.

One of the items on my bucket list is to witness the full magnificence of a murmuration in nature. Watching in great awe, being in total speechlessness, and the world seems to have slowed down – no word is sufficient to describe any of those witnessing-nature’s-wonder moments. I can hardly imagine how it would be to be right out there kayaking and watching a massive flock of European Starlings performing their flight feat. Can you live in a world without being connected to the nature? I simply can’t. It is the appreciation of the wilderness that sometimes reminds I that I am still alive. This video is just a great reminder of how many wonderful natural phenomena you and I have not seen.

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Smokey Bear’s Red Hot Message

2012.02.19   |   by   |   , , ,

Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention is the longest running public service advertising campaign in the United States.

“Smokey Says—Care Will Prevent 9 Out of 10 Forest Fires.” Catchy? Pretty good for a 1944 advertising campaign, and undeniably effective. In 1944, Smokey Bear made his first appearance, campaigning for Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention with this catch phrase. A huge success, the campaign has since helped educate the American public on safe practices to help prevent wildfires and the destruction of America’s favorite wildernesses. But over the years, Smokey Bear’s image and message has changed. While in the 40s Smokey existed as a cuddly cartoon, he’s been animated in the 21st century, updated, and more endearing than ever. read more…

Meet The Victorian Gentleman – Sirocco!

2012.02.10   |   by   |   , ,

Sadly, however, it seems that not only has the kakapo forgotten how to fly, but it has also forgotten that it has forgotten how to fly.

~Douglas Adam in the book Last Chance to See

The Kakapo, the largest flightless parrot that can be found exclusively in New Zealand, is one of the most critically endangered species in the 21st century. One funny fact about them is that they will sometimes hurl themselves off the trees, and instead of ascending into the air, they will fly like a brick, or rather fall like a brick. However, evolution has not completely forsaken them; their large wings help them to break the free fall, and assist the birds to land.

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Save the Cute

2012.01.23   |   by   |   , ,

You can’t beat a cute animal video.

Cloying music and all, we still love this bat after not very long — and most people would not say that a bat is a “charismatic” animal. Species conservation and rehabilitation is sustained by videos of cute photos and videos of baby sloths, pandas, penguins, etc. Conservation may be a rational, scientific undertaking, but the money is all in the cute.

Breaking Through the Fog

2011.11.06   |   by   |   , , , ,

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature is an international NGO that tackles issues such as conservation of biomes and restoration of the environment.They work in over 100 countries and support over 1,300 environmental projects. Their mission is to “halt and reverse the destruction of our environment”. They have the hope that they can build a future where humans can live in harmony with nature, a hope that I share. This group caught my eye when I came across one of their advertising campaigns. Most of their campaigns are centered around using the shock value of an image to get their message across, and an important message is is: acting fast for the world before it is too late. With the overload of media that each of us face daily, it takes something out of the ordinary to get our attention. That is exactly what these creative advertisements do, they break through the fog of the daily media overload to catch our eye. There are over a 100 of these advertisements which are used globally to raise awareness about:

There is a great variety of images with completely different themes allowing them to apply to a broad audience. A comprehensive list of over 100 such WWF advertisements can be found here. Most of these images are breathtaking and convey a message one would be hard pressed to put into words. Even more inspiring about these images is their wide appeal; they can be understood in any language and at any age. The only criticism I have to offer is that they aren’t more commonly displayed; such motivational images should be shared with everyone.

a HOME to all of us

2011.09.29   |   by   |   ,

Gran Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yann Arthus-Bertrand is one of my favorite photographers in the world. Through his pictures, he shows a world that a lot of people will have never seen before. His documentary ‘HOME’ was released on June 5th 2009, the World Environment Day, in cinemas across the globe, on DVD, Blu-ray, television, and on YouTube, opening in 181 countries and broadcasted in 18 languages. The length of the movie is about one and a half hours.  Most of the images are made out of an airplane and show the world from above.

The movie starts with the beginnings of the natural world and it continues with the species on earth and their link to ecosystems. Afterwards the story turns to the impact of human on our planet, including climate change. The movie also got criticized, because PPR, a French multinational holding company specializing in retail shops and luxury brands, was one of the big sponsors of the no-cost concept that made it possible to release the movie for free. Despite the critique, the epic pictures are breathtaking and full of beauty, even in places where nobody would expect it. Seeing the dimensions of some places from above gives you a whole new perspective on h much influence human activites have on our planet. I don’t think there is another movie that touched me like this one! Please watch it!
The full movie can be downloaded in HD quality from various sites or watched online.
People interested in the production of the movie can watch a making-of video.

The Midway Bird Diet

2011.09.22   |   by   |   , ,

Midway Island and Midway Islands ( the Midway) are located off the northwestern corner of the Hawaiian Island chain. Due to the currents of the Pacific Ocean and its location in relation to Hawaii, there is lots of trash that finds its way on to the Midway. In addition to the trash that finds its way there, lots of birds do as well. Midway is an atoll

This is one of many photos taken by Jordan. Do I see a lighter?!

island, which is a ring shaped island made up of marsh and beaches. This area is a perfect place for nearly three million species of birds to stop and nest while in flight over the Pacific. The big problem is that trash and birds to not mix.

Photographer Chris Jordan visited the Midway to find an appalling sight.  Birds are dying prematurely because they are eating so much of the trash since they cannot tell the difference. The trash, often times plastic items, are getting lodged in their throat or stomach and they cannot digest them resulting in death. Jordan’s images while blunt are a very real example of what pollution does do to our wildlife.

These images are powerful because the items that are seen in the birds decomposing stomachs are recognizable. To me, the message hits home more since these are objects of our everyday lives that are killing birds; it is our littering that is causing this suffering and premature death. In a CNN article, biologist estimate some of the birds to be not even 5 months old that are dying to do attempting to eat bottle caps and similar items. It is a great example of environmental media because it grabs the viewers attention and in return makes them pay attention to how they act as a global citizen.

Today on Midway, instead of being home to a U.S. Navy base, there is a U.S. Wildlife Refuge where they are studying and protecting birds, especially the albatrosses. There are efforts in process to get the birds back to their regular diet and prevent more of the pictures like Jordan’s from having to be taken.