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Posts Tagged "Meet Your Neighbours"

Downy Woodpecker

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017

Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) is an industrious little bird that frequents parks and woodlots throughout much of North America. While often spotted at backyard feeders with similarly sized chickadees and nuthatches, this black-and-white woodpecker is also at home on tiny branches where it can be seen acrobatically foraging for insect larvae. Roger Tory Peterson described this bird’s call as “a rapid whinny of notes, descending in pitch.” Keep an eye and an ear out for this charismatic little bird; its striking plumage, shrill song and tree-trunk tapping should...

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Amphibian Aficionados

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017

Amphibian Aficionados

> Dave Huth – Associate professor of visual communication and media arts at Houghton College, friend of RTPI, and gleeful amphibian enthusiast – recently interviewed some of our staff for an article he wrote on how today’s youth interact with nature. The piece, entitled “Raising the Next Generation of Amphibian Aficionados”, appeared in the February edition of the publication FrogLog. Huth’s passion for amphibians – as well as for the living world at large – is reflected in his writing, as well as in his masterfully executed photography; he and RTPI President...

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Roly-poly-pede

Posted by on Feb 27, 2017

Roly-poly-pede

This Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus) doesn’t really have 1,000 legs. However, like all millipedes, it has two pairs of extremities on each of its body segments (centipedes always have only a single pair per body segment). Unlike their centipede ‘cousins’, millipedes lack the modified jaw-like first pair of legs that predatory centipedes use to catch and sometimes envenomate their prey. Instead, millipedes defend themselves by rolling into a tight spiral and/or using chemical defenses that can include cyanide! Worst case scenario, handling one of these beautiful ‘roly-poly-pedes’...

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Frost Free Frogs?

Posted by on Feb 24, 2017

Frost Free Frogs?

“The animal kingdom relies on staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter.” Bernd Heinrich renowned biologist and author – made this statement in his bestselling book entitled “Winter World”. The Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) is a true embodiment of this statement; these tiny amphibians can survive for weeks with an incredible two-thirds of their body water completely frozen—to the point where they are essentially solid frogsicles! The adaptation that enables this remarkable feat is known as a cryoprotectant – a substance that prevents damage to cells and tissues during...

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Winter Blues

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017

Winter Blues

Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) can look so vibrantly blue on sunny days, but blue coloration in animals is very rarely created by blue pigment. Instead, their stunning hues are created by refractive colors of light, breaking on microscopic structure of the feathers. Minute barbs on their feathers are specially modified to scatter light in a way that makes them appear blue, rather than showing the brown melanin that their feathers are colored with. Yes, Blue Jays are not actually...

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