Male Red Bellied Woodpecker joins the Blue Jay Family in the fight for morning peanuts. Presented in real-time it takes about 50 seconds from the time I open the door until the peanuts are gone! Listen for the blue jays imitating a Red Shouldered Hawk call as intimidation to keep squirrels and other birds away while the Jay strike force hits the peanuts.
Critically endangered Red Wolves only exist in the wild in a small part of North Carolina. Perhaps less than 50 exist in the wild and they are on the brink of extinction.
BASIC FACTS ABOUT RED WOLVES
The red wolf is a smaller and a more slender cousin of the gray wolf. It is gray-black, with a reddish cast that gives it the color for which it is named.
The red wolf’s diet consists primarily of small mammals such as rabbits and rodents. Also known to eat insects, berries and occasionally deer.
Almost hunted to the brink of extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rounded up fewer than 20 pure red wolves to be bred in captivity in 1980. As of 2007, approximately 207 captive red wolves reside at 38 captive breeding facilities across the United States. Thanks to these programs, more than 50 red wolves currently live in the wild.
Historically, red wolves ranged throughout the southeastern U.S. from Pennsylvania to Florida and as far west as Texas. Today, wild populations roam more than 1.7 million acres throughout northeastern North Carolina, including Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
Red wolves are primarily nocturnal (active at night), and communicate by scent marking, vocalizations (including howling), facial expressions and body postures.
Shy and secretive, red wolves hunt alone or in small packs -- complex social structures that include the breeding adult pair (the alpha male and female) and their offspring. Red wolves tend to form pair-bonds for life.
Size of the pack varies with the size of available prey populations. A hierarchy of dominant and subordinate animals within the pack helps it to function as a unit. Dens are often located in hollow trees, stream banks and sand knolls.
Groundhog's Day February 2nd - a time to appreciate the giant member of the squirrel family also known as a Woodchuck. Here is an extreme closeup of these adept tree climbers with voracious appetites. Note the extremely large long claws for digging burrows and the large Beaver-like teeth. They spend a lot of time digging and eating and are quite cute in their own way.
Ten Blue Jays in a family or "attack squadron" in the Backyard are being trained to feed in formation each morning from the Oak Tree to a peanut landing deck. These videos taken over two days show their progress so far - not exactly military flight precision, but they are getting the hang of it. Typically the first four or five hit their marks with the precision of Navy pilots making carrier landings and then things tend to break into chaos a bit - and a few impressive interlopers even join in!
The "Ride of the Valkyries" (German: Walkürenritt or Ritt der Walküren) is the popular term for the beginning of act 3 of Die Walküre, the second of the four operas by Richard Wagner that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen that is perfect for this video. As a separate piece, the "Ride" is often heard in a purely instrumental version, which may be as short as three minutes. Together with the "Bridal Chorus" from Lohengrin, the Ride of the Valkyries is one of Wagner's best-known pieces. Courtesy of the YouTube audio library.
Large flock of hungry Robins arrive in Florida for Winter and eat Brazilian Pepper Berries as fast as they can. These robin flocks look for ripe fruit and berries and when its exhausted move on - they usually return north in March or April although a few sometimes linger into summer. A lone Cedar Waxwing is mixed in with the flock!
Purple Grackles and Blue Jays are not going to share the bird seed - period! The arrival of the iridescent Purple Grackles - a subspecies of common Grackle has seriously cramped the Blue Jay's style. A Purple Grackle announces he's the new songbird king of the Backyard - that's not going to go over to well with the resident Blue Jays! If you have never seen a Purple Grackle up close - they are quite beautiful and striking birds with their sharp yellow/black eyes and black, purple, green, brown, and blue iridescent feathers depending on how the light strikes them.
Large flock of White Pelicans spending the winter in Florida. Huge birds with greater than 10 foot wingspans - they are one of the largest birds in North America. Graceful gliding in formation in flight and swimming on water - they are amazing birds to spend time with. Watch for a special appearance by an endangered West Indian Manatee!
Painted Bunting mature males - the birds without equal - the most colorful songbirds in North America - have been arriving in Florida in larger numbers now that the weather has turned quite cold up north. These birds stay in very heavy brush cover and only venture out to feeders. You will notice that despite their bright garish coloration they are surprisingly hard to see in dense cover.
Celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day - January 21st !
Wednesday January 21st, 2016 is Squirrel Appreciation Day! Squirrels have a number of admirable qualities, not the least of which is obvious intelligence (have you ever tried to outsmart one, it's a humbling experience), dedication to family and raising their young, strength and agility, perseverance, a natural instinct to show off and entertain, plant trees, and a certain irresistible cuteness, especially young Red Squirrels. Squirrels are a great species to introduce children to wildlife and to learn to interact with and appreciate the natural world right in your own yard. Start observing the squirrels in your environment and you'll be amazed at the things they do. Just a sample of the many squirrel pictures and videos taken in the yard are found below. My personal favorites are the Red Squirrels - check out the Red Squirrel Playlist !
Celebrate Monday by buying a bag ofunsaltedroasted peanuts in the shell - take a break from the daily grind and go out in the backyard or the park and feed the squirrels. In colder climates this is the time of winter when they could use a little help as well as the birds.
A little motivation message from the animal kingdom. This little Red Squirrel is inspiring - the picture of determination. The task seems insurmountable, but it assesses the situation, takes a deep breath and gets on with it. Nothing like a "tough nut to crack" to challenge you! Its hard work will pay dividends down the road. The full version of this is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld9OQgOUOdk