Quote of the Week

Critter News

"I watched prairie dogs every day, rise before the sun, stand with their paws pressed together facing the rising sun in total stillness for up to 30 minutes," says Williams. And then I watched them at the end of the day take that same gesture 30 minutes before the sun goes down they would press their palms together in perfect stillness.

2009 100

What It Feels Like For a Ferret Watcher

10,000 Birds

If we get close enough we might see a pink maw and slivers of white teeth, ready to take a prairie dog by the throat and choke the life out but also rather perversely adorable. Ferret 492 — a black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes — raises her head from a black-tailed prairie dog’s burrow, sniffs the April night. We watch as she dashes across the short, sparse grass to the next prairie-dog burrow to the left.

What is the National Bird of Aruba?

10,000 Birds

These owls use the tunnels of other species as their nesting burrows, and so can be found associated with ground squirrels, tortoises, and prairie dogs. Many of us picture owls in the sky, silently soaring, or perched atop tree branches or light poles as they sleep or keep an eye out for prey. However, on my first trip to Aruba I scanned the ground for a very special type of small owl, known for its terrestrial antics.

2016 42

Introducing the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

10,000 Birds

Russell National Wildlife Refuge , more than a million acres of prairie, badlands, coulees, and the massive Fort Peck Reservoir on the Missouri River. Our small group spent a weekend at the Ferret Research Camp, a cluster of trailers tucked in the middle of a black-tailed prairie dog town and the site, as the name implies, of a black-footed ferret reintroduction program. Here I would see how spring comes to the American prairie.

2012 76

The Rusty Squirrel-Hawk AKA Ferruginous Hawk

10,000 Birds

I took a ride up to the Fall River Valley back in October and spotted both morphs in the large grasslands where we also usually see Rough-legged Hawks and Prairie Falcons. They are often seen on the ground since their prey consists mainly of rabbit, prairie dog and, you guessed it, ground squirrel. The Ferruginous Hawk ( Buteo regalis ) is truly a regal bird. Sporting a 56 inch wingspan, it is the largest of the Buteos.

Forgotten Prairies

10,000 Birds

Outside of hardcore twitchers looking for specialty birds and after speaking to thousands and thousands of birders, I have concluded that most people really do not put much emphasis on our prairies. Perhaps, this is because we, as Americans, have destroyed nearly every morsel of prairie we have left. Our North American Prairies hold 2/3 of their biomass beneath the soil. While we continue to decimate our short and tall grass prairies many species reach their inevitable peril.

2011 60

The “Birds” in the Brush

10,000 Birds

Ground squirrels, to those who are not used to them, are more curious beasts, caught in a taxonomic middle ground between the larger marmots and prairie dogs and their smaller chipmunk cousins. Ah, late spring. You hear a loud, unfamiliar chirp from near the ground.

2013 73

Cavity Nesting Birds of North America and Their Babies!

10,000 Birds

Even though they naturally nest in burrows mainly created by ground squirrels, badgers and prairie dogs, Burrowing Owls ( Athene cunicularia ) also use artificial burrows. Bufflehead ( Bucephala albeola ) Female at Cavity Entrance photos by Larry Jordan “Some 85 species of North American birds excavate nesting holes, use cavities resulting from decay (natural cavities), or use holes created by other species in dead or deteriorating trees.

Collaborative list – December 2018

10,000 Birds

So what do you want first? The numbers? The accolades? The lifers? December’s collaborative results also summarises the year’s efforts, so this is December 2018 and the rest of 2018 all rolled into one sentence.

2019 43