Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Audubon Woodlink Squirrel Baffle Long Term Test and Review



Keep squirrels out of your Bird Feeders humanely! A fun Mini-Documentary  Review of three years of experience with the Woodlink NABAF18” Audubon Wrap Around 18-Inch Squirrel Baffle and Gardman USA 0280019 Premium Wild Bird Feeding Kit. 

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Audubon Woodlink Squirrel Baffle Long Term Test and Review

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Eastern Screech Owl Mating Update



Eastern Screech Owls continue their courtship activity in and around the nest box. A lot of comings and goings, but no eggs yet. Nightly activity is increasing and Mr. Owl seems like a reliable provider so all systems appear "Go"!
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Eastern Screech Owl



Short Tailed Shrew In Hyperactive Mode


Northern Short-tailed Shrews have poisonous saliva glands and red front teeth. Their day is organized around highly active periods lasting about 4-5 minutes, followed by rest periods that last, on average, 24 minutes. I found the main tunnel system entrance under a large log on the edge of a ravine next to a small stream. These film clips were collected over about a five minute period of extreme activity that shrews are noted for. They prefer live prey and are notoriously ravenous, but they will stock up bird seed placed near their tunnel entrance. They are one of the few poisonous mammals. Their toxin enables them to kill mice and larger prey and paralyze invertebrates such as snails and store them alive for later eating. The shrews have very limited vision, and rely on a kind of echolocation, a series of ultrasonic "clicks," to make their way around the tunnels and burrows they dig. They nest underground, lining their nests with vegetation and sometimes with fur. They do not hibernate. There are at least 8 species of shrew in the Great Smoky Mountains and it can be hard to ID them, but the size of this one and its unusually short tail make the ID easier.

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Short Tailed Shrew

Squirrel Eating Oak Tree Buds



Gray Squirrel feasting on Oak Tree buds - Relax and watch as a squirrel enjoys a tasty seasonal treat when the tender buds of the oak tree come out in mid-winter, usually late January or February in Florida.

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Squirrel Eating Oak Tree Buds

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dabbling Ducks - Northern Shoveler Ducks Feeding


Northern Shoveler Ducks feeding. The most "dabbling" of all ducks, the Shovelers use their large elongated shovel-like bills with comblike projections along the edges to filter out food from the water. They spend a good portion of their time upside down in the water. Filmed at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.

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Northern Shoveler Ducks Feeding

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cute Possum Attacked by Fire Ants

Video: Cute Possum Attacked by Fire Ants

Possum attacked by fire ants - Ouch! Virginia Possums common to the eastern US are immune to Rattlesnake and Cottonmouth bites - they eat these snakes before they get real big and have developed immunity to snake venom and show no physiological reaction when bitten - but Fire Ant Venom still really hurts! A very large possum checking out some crumbs from food I left for a feral cat (see: The Secret Life of a Feral Cat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVPWvFW0Jwk for background ) is overwhelmed by fire ants and wisely retreats to lick its wounds. The old chewed up dog bone on the fence inexplicably appeared earlier in the night, probably found in a nearby yard and brought by a Raccoon! Night Vision recording so quality is a bit lower - looks better if you don't look at full screen.
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Possum Attacked by Fire Ants
Video: Cute Possum Attacked by Fire Ants


Turkey Vultures Amazing Nose Mini Documentary




Turkey Vultures Amazing Nose

It is one of the most sensitive noses in the Animal Kingdom.  Experts estimate that  the turkey vulture, can detect the scent of rotting flesh in concentrations as tiny as a few parts per billion in the air.  The olfactory lobe of its brain, responsible for processing smells, is particularly large compared to that of other animals. Combine that with the unique design of its nostrils which are not divided by a septum improving air sampling (from the side one can see right through the beak) and you have the turkey buzzard with the superpower of smell.

The Turkey Vulture tracks plumes of odor from decaying animals while gliding high up in the air column and homes in on them by flying in circles. Their sense of smell is so acute that they can even locate carrion below the forest canopy or something as small as a dead mouse or rat under a pile of leaves,

Contrary to popular belief  Turkey Buzzards are clean birds -  baking off bacteria and grooming while spreading their massive six foot wingspan in the sun – and their nostril design makes it easier to keep rotten meat from clogging them.

In contrast Black Vultures have traditional bird nostrils and can't locate food by smell and must rely on their keen vision to find carrion. From a distance as far as a few miles, black vultures will watch the behavior of turkey vultures. They see when a turkey vulture is making smaller and smaller circles around an area and when the turkey vultures go to the ground the black vultures follow. Buzzards preform a valuable service cleaning up the remains of dead animals, especially the many unfortunate animals killed on the roads everyday and reducing the spread of disease. They much prefer freshly dead animals and will not eat extremely rotten meat, the Turkey Vultures amazing sense of smell insures most carcasses are found early and don't go to waste!

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Eastern Screech Owls Mating and Calling



Screech Owl Calls and Courtship continues at 2 AM with a nice big bug delivered by Mr. Owl. The male actually landed on the camera and the female seems to take her time with the bug until eating it just at the end. Note that I need to adjust the exposure on the camera - no amount of post-processing can save overexposed video.
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Eastern Screech Owls Mating and Calling


Monday, February 16, 2015

Spiny Backed Orb Weaver Spider Spinning a Web

Spiny Backed Orb Weaver Spider Spinning a Web
Spiny Backed Orb Weaver Spider Spinning a Web



Spiny Backed Orb Weaver Spider spinning a web - one of Nature's amazing creatures. To see a video of it spinning a web check out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwLn11KJS9Y

Red Shouldered Hawk


Watching like a Hawk! - with piercing eyes a Red Shouldered Hawk lands on the backyard fence directly across from the Eastern Screech Owl nest box sending Mrs. Screech Owl diving for cover. I don't think the hawk saw the owl, but the Owl sitting on its perch inside the box saw the hawk. Typically this big hawk takes a Mourning Dove or Gray Squirrel once in awhile - it has a large territory. The Screech Owls dare not venture out in the daytime!

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Red Shouldered Hawk