Christmas Bird Count

Each year throughout the Americas from December 14 to January 5 thousands of volunteers take part in a wildlife adventure that has become a family tradition among generations. Families, students, birders, and scientists – all armed with binoculars- use bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission for the Audubon society.

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This tradition has existed for over one hundred years to celebrate the beauty and diversity of nature during the Holiday season. The “citizen scientists” who brave the cold weather to take part in the Christmas Bird Count are making a meaningful contribution to the progress of conservation.  Audubon and other organizations use data collected in the long-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action. This year’s count will be especially important in assessing the impact of the Gulf oil spill on birds.

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From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition — and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.

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This year’s count begins on Sunday, December 14th.

Read more about the 115th annual Christmas Bird Count

here: http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count

or shop our collection of bird sculptures, home decor, and art

here: http://www.wildlifewonders.com/bird-gifts-decor.html

 

 

 

No comments, Elise Anderson, November 14, 2014

The Devil’s Millhopper

Once a popular hangout for college kids in the 70s, the Devil’s Millhopper is a 120-foot deep, 500-foot wide sink hole in Gainesville, Florida.

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Named for its resemblance to the hopper of a mill, this limestone sinkhole has been a site of interest for generations of biology students at the nearby University of Florida because of its unique ecosystem. A natural repository for animal bones and fossils, the sinkhole’s name also refers to the belief that animals passed through the hole on their way to meet the devil.

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Fed by twelve springs of varying sizes, the pond at the bottom of the sinkhole is dramatically cooler in the summer months than the air at the surface due to the depth and shade from the tree canopy above. Significant fossils have been found at the bottom of the pool, ranging from shark teeth and marine shells to the fossilized remains of extinct land animals.

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A fun course for hikers and pedestrians, the Devil’s Millhopper now features a wooden boardwalk for viewing purposes with 236 wooden steps and an observation deck at the bottom. This boardwalk/staircase allows visitors to observe the unique landscape without leading to further soil erosion.

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No comments, Elise Anderson, November 12, 2014

Unlikely Friends: Albert and Themba

In 2008, a 6-month old elephant named Themba was orphaned when its mother fell off a cliff. Rescued by local rangers, baby Themba was taken to the Shamwari Rehabilitation Centre (http://bit.ly/1wmVs3N) where the little elephant was placed in an enclosure with a full-grown sheep named Albert.

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Although not immediate friends, their mutual curiosity led them to become close allies and co-explorers of their new shared space.

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Eventually inseparable, the two unlikely animal friends shared long walks together, snacked on acacia pods, and took “dust baths” together. Though no longer with us, the legacy of Albert and Themba’s unlikely friendship continues to inspire animal lovers around the world.

Images of baby Themba and Albert via www.dailymail.co.uk.

Images via the Daily Mail UK (www.dailymail.co.uk)

No comments, Elise Anderson, November 12, 2014

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