Category Archives: critters
The common crow is anything but ordinary. Take a few moments to observe this dark-winged beauty and you’ll be amazed.
There are about 45 species of crow worldwide known by a variety of names, including ravens, jackjaws, rooks and crows. They all belong to the genus called corvus. Their plumage is mostly glossy black, but some have streaks of white.
These fascinating birds are loud, daring, gregarious and clever. And they are toolmakers.
They nest way up in the treetops of both deciduous and coniferous trees. Nests are built close to the trunk, providing a vista of the surrounding landscape.
Mating crows will often remain together for years and some until parted by death. Most of the offspring will leave the nest after a couple months never to return. Some, on the other hand, remain, assisting in co-operative breeding.
I’ve observed this in both Banff National Park and Sequoia National Park and its been recorded elsewhere in the United States and New Caledonia.
Last week (October 2013), Captain Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, came home to the U.S. after 15 months at sea—mostly off the Australian Great Barrier Reef—avoiding Interpol Red Notices by Costa Rica and Japan. It’s an extraordinary maritime story about an intrepid eco-warrior who has been involved in direct-action protecting endangered whales from ‘The War Against Nature’ since 1977.
In May 2012, while Watson was visiting Germany en route to the Cannes Film Festival, Costa Rica issued a Red Notice for him, intending on handing him over to Japan. Watson skipped bail, made his way through the Netherlands to the sea and eventually joined the Sea Shepherd fleet in the Southern Ocean to help prevent Japan from slaughtering endangered whales in the Antarctic Sanctuary.
Sea Shepherd has saved 5,000 whales in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary from lethal Japanese harpoons. Incidentally, Japan sells its Antarctic whale meat for $250,000 a head—do the math: that’s $1.25 billion that Sea Shepherd has denied the Japanese government. Is it any small wonder why Japan is after Captain Paul Watson? Continue reading this article ›
Continue reading this article ›
Australia’s hottest spring on record has spawn droughts and intense heatwaves; it has been disastrous for honeybees as their hives are melting whilst temperatures soar.
Aussie honeybees generate about $6B per annum for the 12th largest economy on the globe including pollinating almost 70 percent of food crops, cotton for clothing, over $150M in honey sales and potent medicines used in apis therapy for pain relief of rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.
Almost 700 species of Eucalyptus produce fewer flowers during heatwaves. Those eucalypt flowers are vital for the health and well being for over 1,600 kinds of wild Australian bees and the domesticated honeybees. In a normal year Eucalyptus is a major nectar contributor toward 30,000 metric tons of honey or enough to feed the Australian nation of 23.4 million people, annually.
Plants have responded to the stifling heatwaves this summer (2014) across the Australian continent by substantially lowering nectar production. Bees require nectar to make honey — their only food source.
Often used by Hollywood, this bizarre looking member of the mostly subtropical agave family provides a striking silhouette standing tall with rigid arms extending in every direction against the orange Mojave Desert sky.
Named by 18th century Mormons after the biblical prophet Joshua, the plant also known as a yucca had special meaning for those wandering across the parched high desert in search of the Promised Lands. Its arms pointing towards heaven, as the story goes, confirmed that they were on course.
The breathtaking high mountains and steep mountainsides that form deep valleys and fjords along British Columbia’s central and northern coastlines are home to some remarkable animal including: wolves, Sitka deer, killer and humpback whales, tens of millions of salmon, grizzly bears and Canada’s rarest bear the white Kermode or spirit bear.
The spirit bear or as the First Peoples call them the “ghost bear” is a rare color phase that results from two mating black bears that each carry the same recessive gene. I have seen some black bear litters with both black and white (sometimes cream-colored) cubs. Only the cubs that receive the recessive gene from each parent develop the white or cream fur.
About 900 spirit bears are only found in two populations on the globe, both are along coastal British Columbia stretching from about Rivers Inlet to Stewart. One population is mainland-based in the Terrace-Nass-Hazelton area. The other is found between Royal-Roderick, Pooley and Gribell Islands.
“A Tale of Two Kitties Taj and Bodhi” is a wonderful book about two majestic felines, proud and dignified.
Although they look like brothers, Taj was born in the early spring of 1998 and Bodhi in the winter or spring of 2005. Even though Bodhi is larger than Taj, he always respects the elder and never challenges him.
This is an endearing story of two cats and an artist named Helen Schreider residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
It’s a rich narrative filled with many, well-detailed back stories. I particularly enjoyed learning about how Helen established a morning ritual of eye contact with Taj.
I was thrilled to read Taj has a routine whereby he selects the flavor of food he likes that particular day, by touching the can with his paw. I was further intrigued that he won’t select the same type two days in a row. Clearly, Taj remembers the color of the label!
This well written book is filled with dozens of lovely color pictures. It is the second terrific cat book that retired geography professor John Ryan has authored. The Saga of the Three Companeros Pantera, Leo and El Tigre, also by Friesen Press, is another excellent and touching story by Ryan.
“A Tale of Two Kitties Taj and Bodhi” is a must read for all cat lovers. I give this splendid book two thumbs up and an ear-to-ear grin.
Reese Halter (Dr)
Los Angeles, Calif.
Millions of Americans are furious because the rights to the Western Atlantic Ocean have been handed over to Big Oil.
Join Earth Dr Reese Halter from Los Angeles as he explains the awful ecocide along the Western Atlantic Ocean as Big Oil blasts the seafloor in search of more gas.
On July 16, the Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Millions of sea creatures will be senselessly killed by incessant sonic booms along the eastern U.S. seaboard as Big Oil scavenges for more heat-trapping gases.
Sonic booms from multi-beam echosounder systems are known to cause mass strandings of cetaceans (whales and dolphins).