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Posts Tagged "winter"

Why Are Eastern Hemlock Trees Irreplaceable?

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017

Perspective from RTPI’s conservation intern, Heather Zimba I think many people would agree that spending time walking in a forest can be therapeutic, being completely enveloped by the landscape’s vegetation and wildlife. I’ll bet that – if you like the outdoors – you can close your eyes right now and visualize the areas you most like to visit. One of my favorite places is a small gorge that contains a stream with beautiful natural waterfalls. The steep banks of the gorge are lined with deep green evergreen trees that overhang and provide shade along the meandering creek....

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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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Brown Thrasher Visit

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017

Brown Thrasher Visit

This Brown Thrasher came to my feeders today! Talk about a welcome visitor…it ended up spending the day eating with various feathered friends, using that long bill to dig seed out of the snow. It was a delightful surprise for one of the more quiet times of the year. Scott Kruitbosch Conservation & Outreach...

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Dark-eyed Junco

Posted by on Feb 12, 2017

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) is one of our most familiar backyard feeder birds. They are a species we can find year-round as they nest in some of our woodlands in western New York. They used to be known as the “snowbird” likely because of their abundance in pouring down from the north into all of the continental United States during the winter. Their plumage, grays and browns above with white below, also seem to fit so perfectly on a snowy landscape. This bird was photographed during a recent snowstorm looking regal as can be while living up to its name. Have you ever...

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Not All Salamanders Are Newts…

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017

Not All Salamanders Are Newts…

If you’re an amphibian enthusiast, you’ve probably heard this phrase at some point: “All newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts.” Does trying to make sense of this cause smoke to come out of your ears? You’re not alone. To shed some light on this conundrum, let’s first consider a bit of taxonomy. Within the Class Amphibia there are three Orders: Caudata, Anura, and Gymnophiona. Caudata refers to the salamanders; species that retain their tails as adults and have four legs. These differ from the Anurans (frogs) which lose their tails as...

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