Thinking about creating a butterfly garden? Here’s a handy graphic to help you identify plants and their lepidoptera obligates, meaning plants that butterfly species require. Feel free to match the two species that are native to your region.
Have an aversion toward rodents? Well, here’s this story of rats who have been trained to scout out bombs.
This just in! The last of the migrants are on their way back, as evidenced by this announcement by JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
If people think ecology is simple, this story would explain otherwise. Beside this study, Yellowstone has been a laboratory for many wildlife biologists as they sort out which species to introduce, conserve or eliminate. One example is the reintroduction of the gray wolf whose unintentional effects rippled throughout the park. Biologists were startled to find that wolves scared the elks up into the hills, thus freeing aspen trees to mature free from the elks’ gnawing teeth. Allowed to grow tall, they provide habitat for songbirds, materials for beavers to build their dams, and aquatic organisms to find a home in the newly created ponds. All because of the wolf. This is why ecology is rarely simple.
Often the news with the fishing industry and its effect on aquatic organisms is unsettling. Now, some good news. The commercial fishing industry might come to the rescue of penguins.
We have Monarch Watch in North America and the annual butterfly survey in Great Britain, but now is the time for a greater insect citizen science survey. The less charismatic arthropods require our attention as worldwide insects are in steep decline. We have Christmas Bird Counts, Feeder Watches, North American Breeding Bird Surveys, Frogwatch and others. We need the same for insects.
Nighthawks are a generalist species, meaning they have tried many habitats throughout their evolution. One innovation when grasslands started to disappear was the rooftop habitat. But as flat, gravel rooftops start to dwindle because new roofing materials without camouflage for nighthawk eggs are on the rise, nighthawks are finding new urban habitats, like parking lots. In my study, when nighthawks lost their rooftop habitat atop the Yankton Mall in South Dakota, nearby warehouse workers noticed a nest in the parking lot. To help them out, they placed orange construction cones around the nest and hoped for the best.
I used to think that nocturnal birds like the nightjars held onto an ancestral trait. It’s been a hypothesis that ancestral birds and mammals became nocturnal to avoid the high points of dinosaur activity. If that’s so, we now are starting to notice the return to nocturnal habitats to avoid the new dinosaurs, ourselves.