Monday, August 26, 2013

A Little of This, A Little of That

I've been up at the family cabin outside of Nisswa, Minn., for the last few days trying to escape the sweltering temps and humidity.

While here I've been doing quite a bit of this:

which inevitably leads to this...

orange bluet (male)
and then more of this:

white-faced meadowhawk (male)

and even some of this:

preening black and white warbler (female)

Hope you're enjoying the last few weeks of summer as well!

Be sure to check out all the other fun posts for Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Know That Sound!

There are few birds (other than typical backyard birds) that I'm able to ID by sound. I'm not sure why, but I'm just horrid at remembering and recognizing bird calls. My bird friends are as stymied as I am as to why I simply cannot remember what redstarts sound like from year to year. Or Nashville Warblers, which sing like crazy here in the spring.

But this LBB is one that I can actually locate based on hearing its call as I drive by: The Clay-colored Sparrow.

It's sharp, buzzy call is, to me, highly distinctive and seems to carry quite far. Have a listen.

Clay-colored Sparrows are somewhat unique in that they're a mid-continent bird. Found on their breeding territory in open grasslands throughout the northern regions of central North America , they follow almost a due south migration path that funnels to Texas and Mexico. Here's a great distribution map.

Right now they're dotting the fence posts and clinging to barbed wire along a stretch of roadway I drive daily.

I have to admit that when I'm driving past the wild grassland fields by my house and hear their "bzzzzt" calls I gleefully think to myself "aha! I know that bird call." (simple pleasures, people... simple pleasures...)   ;-)

Be sure to check out all the other fun birding sights and stories courtesy of Wild Bird Wednesday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Been A Busy Summer!

I'm back from a summer hiatus  :-)

For those of you who don't know, I'm the communications director at one of our nation's leading wildlife hospitals. And, summer is our busiest time of year. Crazy busy. Like 80-120 new patients every day kind of busy.

So, linking up with Our World Tuesday, I thought I'd share what's been going on in my world lately.

I spend the summer working incredibly long hours but learning so much about more than 180 different species of wildlife. Furred, feathered and even scaled, we get everything at WRC (Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota).

Since I spend my days taking photos (all these are taken by me), blogging, updating our Facebook page and sending out emails to our distribution list, I'm kind of burnt out on the social media thing by the time I get home from work. Plus, I wanted time to unwind and enjoy the outdoors when I wasn't working - therefore I put my personal blog on hold. Thanks for coming back to see what's new - I appreciate it!

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of my favorite critters from this summer:

These are baby garter snakes. Aren't they beautiful? Did you know they give live birth? And the record for number of babies is 90? Wow! (thanks Chris Smith for that cool stat!) You can read more about them, and see add'l photos here.

One of our more beautiful patients at the Center are Grey Fox. They are the only fox to climb trees! It's pretty amazing to see. This poor little kit stuck his head into a discarded container and became stuck. He's fortunate someone saw him and brought him to us. There's a blog post about it here, including before/after photos.

I don't know if there's much cuter than a group of fluffy swallows. We have five swallows in Minnesota (Tree, Bank, Northern Rough-winged, Barn and Cliff). These are juvenile Barn Swallows, just about ready to fly.

This adorable guy is one of only two hares that we have in Minnesota. It's a young (maybe only 3 days old) White-tailed Jackrabbit. Both it, and our Snowshoe Hare, are considered precocial because they're born furred, eyes open and are up hopping around within hours of their birth!

Saw my first Fisher up close and personal this summer! This young one had been hit by a car and a kind-hearted person stopped to see if it was still alive. Fishers are pretty cool: They're basically pregnant all the time due to embryonic diapause. More here.

As a medical center, we see some pretty fascinating things come through our doors. Think that's one of the reasons I love my job so much: All the new things I learn each day. This was a pretty interesting case study that I wrote up a few weeks ago. A young Herring Gull traveled from Duluth for surgery to pin a fractured leg. But when we took x-rays we had quite the surprise! This links to the case study. Just click through the slides to learn all about it.

You can join me on my adventures at WRC via WRC's Facebook page or through The Pulse (WRC blog). And, if you're as fascinated by wildlife medicine as I am, take a look at the Case Studies I write up.

Thanks again for coming back to visit and a big thank you to Lady Fi for hosting Our World Tuesday. Be sure to check out all the other great bloggers who participate. Hope you all had a great summer!