Bites at Animal Planet

Birds

9 Aug

RARE Wild Animals - Part 2

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Here is part two of my highlight on some of the rare wild animals the conservation organization Rare works to protect.  (See part one here.)

Yellow Eared Parrot
The population of the yellow-eared parrot is only about 1,000 since its rediscovery in 1998 near Roncesvalles, Colombia.  It is bright green with yellow ear patches and a dark, heavy bill. Considered critically endangered, it nests and lives among wax palms in a few areas of Colombia where it nests in the hollow trunks of the palm trees in cloud forests about 1800 – 3000 meters above sea level.  Its main food is fruit of the wax palm, which is itself an endangered species.  The yellow-eared parrot has declined dramatically in the face of hunting for food and habitat destruction for farming and cattle.

Here's more on this rare parrot species:

 

The bird’s habitat and survival are now better protected because of a Rare Pride campaign.  Water agreements have been forged between the government of Roncesvalles and the utility company, for watersheds supplying the town and several downstream locations. Water users pay a voluntary fee in their water bill that goes toward a water fund that provides an incentive for long-term owners to conserve the wilderness, forests and endangered yellow-eared parrot found in the area.   

Harlequin Frog
Colorful harlequin frogs are found in neotropics from Costa Rica to Bolivia. They belong to the genus Atelopus and include about 80 species.  Most live in forested mountains where rainfall is abundant, and most have only a small range or area where they live. Night-owls as well as daytimers, they are active 24/7.  Harlequin frogs are small-to-medium size amphibians (20-60 mm from the tip of the nose to the vent) with females always larger than males. Rising temperatures, habitat destruction, and the spread of the deadly chytrid fungus have wiped out dozens of species of harlequin frogs in recent years. Further, most of the harlequin frog species are listed as critically endangered.  

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Harlequin frog Photo by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr Creative Commons. 

For several years Rare worked to protect water sources in the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, which feed the urban and rural systems of water from different parts of the city of Cuenca and provide habitat for endangered species such as the frog Atelopus Nanay, commonly known as the harlequin frog Jambatu Black Boxes.  Nanay means sadness in Quechua, deriving from the extinction of many species of frogs in this region. 

The local utility started a small water fee to support conservation projects upstream.  The Pride campaign aimed to show creating such water agreements are a “win-win" for people and conservation.  Some of the Andes’ most valuable ecological indicators and most threatened inhabitants are myriad frog species whose populations are so imperiled that numbers do not even exist in science.  Rare developed strong relationships with the Cajas National Park to work together in the reproduction of the species of harlequin frog Jambatu the Black Boxes, including a plan for reintroduction in riparian forest areas once they achieve an appropriate degree of recovery.

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Harleguin frog photo by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr Creative Commons.

Pride campaigns use proven marketing techniques to move the hearts and minds of local communities, accelerating the adoption and increasing the sustainability of the solutions. Rare has conducted over 250 Pride campaigns in more than 50 countries, empowering local communities across geographies and cultures to shift from resource users to become natural asset managers.

To see Rare’s work all over the world, click here.

 

5 Aug

RARE Wild Animals

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Long time readers know that I'm a naturalist National Wildlife Federation, one of Animal Planet's R.O.A.R. partners, and I sometimes highlight NWF's work in my Animal Oddities posts. In this post I want to give a shout out to a fellow conservation organizations, Rare.  Rare looks for proven conservation solutions and trains local leaders to inspire communities to adopt them and make them their own through its signature Pride campaigns. They are pretty awesome. 

And it just so happens that a lot of the species Rare works to protect through these campaigns are pretty odd. Here are two of the most unusual species they work with:

Leaf Cutter Ant
The Leaf Cutter ant is considered a delicacy in parts of South America.  During its reproductive season the Leaf Cutter ant’s abdomen swells and it flies around in a sexual flurry only to be caught and grilled by the local people.  An average nest of leafcutter ants contains over 5 million ants.  They are also known as 'parasol' ants because of the way they carry leaves above their heads.  The ants can carry over 50 times their own body weight.

Here's Jeff Corwin exploring these awesome ants.

Continue reading >

11 Jul

GOOOOALLLL: Animals as World Cup Announcers

Since the World Cup began in June, it’s been a long road of excitement, stress, disappointment, and, most of all, fun. Sadly, it is coming to an end but we’ll never forget our favorite memories of this year’s games, especially the best part of the entire World Cup: screaming GOOOOOOOOALLLLL along with our favorite Word Cup commentators! But, the World Cup excitement isn’t just reserved for people! Check out these animals taking part in the World Cup excitement and practicing their best GOOOOOOOOALLLL shout:

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Continue reading >

3 Jul

Roo and Penny: Unlikely Best Friends

Alicia Williams, a client services receptionist at Duluth Animal Hospital in Georgia, has a habit of rescuing animals that are in bad situations. Roo and Penny are two of Alicia's rescues that have developed a very strong bond with one another.

Continue reading >

30 Jun

Meet Poole, Pan & Pia the Baby Osprey

 

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Rachel and her three chicks. Screenshot from explore.org's Osprey Cam on APL!VE

Put down your baby name books, live cam watchers! Rachel and Steve's three-week old chicks have been named!

Animal Planet L!VE's camera partners at explore.org recently announced that this season's nestlings are now going by new adorable monikers. Named by the Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine, we'd now like to introduce you to Poole, Pan and Pia!

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Meet this year's osprey chicks, Poole, Pan & Pia.

Poole, the first and largest chick hatched on June 5, is named after Alan Poole, a revered osprey expert. The second who was born on June 6 is Pan which is shortened from Pandion haliaetus, the scientific name for Osprey. Our youngest chick is Pia who entered the world on June 9th. Without a blood test, it is impossible to know the gender of these oprey chicks, but we sure think these are cute neutral names for Rachel and Steve's babies, don't you?

If you haven't followed the Hog Island Osprey before today, you'll want to make a habit of it just to watch these little ones grow up before your eyes! In the last few weeks, we've already seen many wonderful milestones on Osprey Cam from nest preparations to egg hatchings to the chicks' first steps!

Chick Feeding Time
In case you missed it: Rachel the osprey is seen feeding her newborn chicks on June 9th.

Don't miss another milestone! Catch every fish meal served up by mom and dad. Find out just how large these feathery babies will grow and change over the next few weeks. See the proud moment the kids start 'wingersizing' and finally get up the nerve to leave the nest for good just before both parents and children migrate to South America at summer's end.

Watch Poole, Pia & Pan growing up, LIVE from the osprey nest on APL!VE>>

 

 

 

28 May

Rare Harpy Eagles, 'Unicorn' of the Amazon, Spotted By Lucky Photographers

One lucky group of photographers spotted a family of very rare harpy eagles, deep in the Amazon rainforest.

"It's so rare, it’s like seeing a unicorn” said Jeff Cremer of Rainforest Expeditions. Cremer was one of the fortunate bird photog buffs to see the beautiful creatures.  See one of the adorable chicks for yourself:

Baby Harpy Eagle from Jeff Cremer on Vimeo.

The harpy eagle is the largest and most powerful of all raptors.  Their bodies can measure up to 3 1/2 feet in length (about the size of a 5-year-old child!), weigh 9 to 20 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 6 1/2 feet, according to the Peregrine Fund.

Continue reading >

8 May

Nest Watch 2014 Update: More APL!VE Couples Egg-specting!

In late March, we told you about the 2014 nest watch happening now on Animal Planet L!VE. In the weeks since, we’ve welcomed 10 baby birds to their respective nests and even more are on the way!

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Black Eagle sitting in nest on Africam's Black Eagle Cam

This spring two familiar faces returned to APL!VE, and they're happily expecting as of last week when 2 eggs were laid in their nest. If you watched Black Eagle Cam last year, you might remember Emoyeni and her mate Thulane from their 2013 nesting season. Thanks to our partners at Africam, viewers were given a bird's eye view from 164-feet above ground of the daily happenings and nesting struggles of this black eagle couple.

Despite laying a clutch of eggs in the spring of 2013, it was feared that Emoyeni and Thulane would not have an eaglet to raise when their eggs' due dates passed in June without a single hatch. As summer arrived with its hot temperatures, it seemed more likely that the pair's nest would remain empty for the season, but Emoyeni and Thulane fortunately had other things in mind. They defied the odds and finally welcomed an eaglet in late September. This eaglet came to be known as Nessi, and those viewers who tuned in to the cam daily were rewarded with the opportunity to watch him grow and eventually fledge this past December. Nessi has since left his parents' nest for good, but we can only hope that this will be a better year for his family, and we'll see the birth of Nessi's siblings in the next few weeks on Black Eagle Cam.

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View of Rachel & Steve's nest on explore.org's Osprey Cam on APL!VE

Our next pair of expectant parents is Rachel and Steve who are returning for another year on explore.org's Osprey Cam. These ospreys are currently watching over 3 eggs in their nest at the Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine.

With an incubation period of five weeks, we expect a debut of their chicks around the first week of June, but that doesn't mean there will be nothing to watch until that time. See these doting raptor parents share nesting duties, bring in and devour fish, and protect their eggs against the elements and predators until hatch day!

If you'd like to see more Ospreys, we also suggest you stop by the Pennsylvania Osprey Cam from WildEarth where the first of three eggs is expected to hatch on May 20.

Want to see bundles of feathery joy now? Visit APL!VE for a glimpse into all of our current nests cams including Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles.

 

 

29 Apr

Birds Sitting on Wires Make Beautiful Music, Literally

When one man saw a flock of birds sitting along electrical wires outside his window, he noticed they were perfectly arranged in musical measure form.  So, he decided to bring the track to life - brilliant!  Watch the video to see what perfect tune Mother Nature came up with:

Dreamy! No doubt, this etheral tune is exactly what these birds were going for.  You can find the song here on iTunes. Thank you to the artist, Jarbas Agnelli, for the lovely piece.  

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Photo: YouTube image

Continue reading >

28 Mar

Nest Watch 2014: Baby Eagles Hatching Their Way onto APL!VE

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Photo Credit: Veer Images

A new flock of birds just arrived on Animal Planet L!VE, and the brood is getting even bigger as the minutes go by! Nesting season is here, and thanks to new cams from our partners at WildEarth, you’ve got a front-row seat to some extraordinary hatching action!

In fact, we’ve already seen commotion in the nest on Pittsburgh Bald Eagle Cam today. As reported on the Facebook page of the webcam's installer, PixController, these eagle parents welcomed their first eaglet of the season at 2:36 PM ET.  Originally expected to hatch on March 26, 2014, the late arrival of this newborn has been highly anticipated ever since the first egg was laid on February 19.

With one egg hatched and two more to go, the nest watch is far from over for this cam! We expect more anxious yet heartwarming moments to unfold before us over the next few weeks and months until the eaglets are ready to fledge the nest. You will not want to miss it!

And the hatching action on APL!VE does not stop there! Be sure to visit our other fantastic bird cams from WildEarth including the Peregrine Falcons, White-Rock Bald Eagles, and Bald Eagle Nest cams!

UPDATE, Sunday, March 30: A second egg started to hatch in the Pittsburgh Bald Eagle nest this morning at 7:17 am ET.  Both eaglets and the final egg can be seen on the camera as they are tended to by their proud parents!

Here's our first look at Mom and her newborns:

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Credit: WildEarth/PixController

19 Mar

First Kakapo Chick Born Since 2011

Kakapo-born-500wIt's good news for endangered kakapo parrots - the first chick since 2011 has hatched in New Zealand.

The Kakapo Recovery team on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island anxiously watched the egg after it had been crushed in the nest before hatching. They repaired it with tape and glue, which helped the new baby, named Lisa One (its mother is Lisa) make it to its birthday.

According to TVNZ, the baby is in an incubator and receiving round-the-clock care. The sex of the baby won't be known for several weeks.

Learn more about why the kakapo is endangered.

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