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Nature

22 May

Meanwhile in Australia, It's Raining Spiders

Spider-webs
Reuters/Daniel Munoz

In case you missed the story this week, it's raining spiders in Australia -- millions and millions of spiders. And not only are the residents of Goulburn, New South Wales, dealing with these critters falling on them from the sky, they have a sticky situation with all the webbing left behind.

So what's happening? LiveScience called on Rick Vetter, a retired arachnologist at the University of California at Riverside, who said residents were most likely witnessing a very common form of spider transportation. Called ballooning, it entails a spider intent on migrating to new digs climbing up high, releasing its silk, and then jumping.

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22 May

Photographer Makes Amusing Supermodels Out of Backyard Squirrels

Sure, they can be a nuisance sometimes (especially when they get into your garage and chew through your heavy-duty buckets of bird seed), but squirrels can also be fun to watch. 

It's especially interesting to witness a squirrel exploring its environment, and photographer Max Ellis has captured those moments creatively and brilliantly in his photos. Says Max, "The squirrels in these images live in the big trees behind my garden. They come every day to see whats new and investigate it." He uses props, food and occasionally fishing line to create his squirrel scenarios, and the squirrels do the rest.

Genius. Enjoy, follow @junkyardmax on Instagram, and see more at maxphotographic.com.

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Credit: Max Ellis/@junkyardmax 

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21 May

Paddle Boarder Checked out by Orca (VIDEO)

 

Luke Reilly was paddle boarding just off the beach in New Zealand when he got a surprise visitor: an orca.

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are incredibly powerful predators, preying on everything from stingrays to salmon to seals and even giant baleen whales. While human encounters with apex predators might generally be cause for alarm, in this case, Reilly seemed more an object of curiosity than potential prey. Orcas, though at the very top of the marine food chain, don't consider humans food and wild orcas have never attacked a human. (We, on the other hand, pose a significant threat to orcas in the wild.)

That's reassuring to know, especially when the curious whale swam right up to the paddle board and gave it an investigatory nibble.  

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Photo by Kat Kellner via Flickr Creative Commons.

Help the National Wildlife Federation Save the Endangered Orcas of Puget Sound.

H/T to Huffington Post

13 May

Too-Close for Comfort Tourists Aggravate Bears at Yellowstone (VIDEO)

You may have seen the video gone viral the last few days, captured by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, of what appears to be a black bear with cubs, chasing after tourists at Yellowstone National Park:

A mama bear appears to be chasing tourists across a bridge, defending her cubs, as most media outlets are reporting. However, the bear and her babies were most likely aggravated by tourists who got too close for comfort for the sake of photo opps, encircling the group.  According to a report by National Geographic, the mama bear and her cubs in an attempt to flee, took a wrong turn onto the bridge, and were surrounded by tourists blocking their way.

Bears-yellowstone-video
Photo: YouTube video image

The lesson here? Respect wildlife in parks and give them a safe and secure distance to graze and roam.  Like, 300 feet minimum. MINIMUM!  If you really want that killer photo to post to your Instagram, invest in a zoom lens. You can read up on Bear Safety on the National Park Service's website here. >>

 

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13 May

Bobcat and Coyote Face Off in Suburbia (VIDEO)

Bike ride interruptus

Posted by Jon Snow on Monday, May 11, 2015

 

This is a pretty amazing video! The bobcat and the coyote featured both have wide ranges across the country, living close to humans, sometimes even in our cities, towns and backyards. But both are also extremely elusive. They are usually nocturnal and go out of their way to avoid being seen by humans.

So this video captured by a cyclist at River Legacy Park in Arlington, Texas is an extremely rare thing. Not only is it rare to see one of these animals in the daylight, right out in the open, but to see them both together is nothing short of a once in a lifetime wildlife encounter.

Bobcats and coyotes are both medium-sized predators that compete with each other for prey. All cats are strict carnivores, while coyotes have a more varied diet and can consume everything from plant material to insects to the rodents, rabbits and other small animals also fed on by the bobcat.

The video certainly answers the question of who's the "top dog" in this competition between carnivores--and it isn't the coyote!

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Photo by Linda Tanner via Flickr Creative Commons.

 

Protect Wildlife with the National Wildlife Federation.

 

12 May

This Owl Doesn't Need Enemies With a Friend Like This (VIDEO)

 

With a friend who projectile poops on him, this owl doesn't need enemies!

As funny as this video is, it's actually a normal part of being a young bird. The only job baby birds have is to eat and grow and, yes, poop. Getting pooped on by your sibling is just part of growing up for most birds.

These two owls are no doubt siblings who have recently fledged and left the nest. Their parents are nearby still feeding them and watching out for them while they learn to fly and eventually to hunt on their own.

It's a dangerous time for young birds, but also a totally normal part of growing up. Never try to "rescue" fledgling birds like this that have left the nest on their own. They have a greater chance of survival under the care of their parents compared to a human trying to finish raising them. Here's a good guide for what to do if you find a baby bird out of the nest.

Even if their siblings sometimes poop and them and then flee the scene.

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Photo by Andrew C via Flickr Creative Commons.

 Adopt an Owl with the National Wildlife Federation.

24 Apr

Bullied Barn Owl Prevails Against Hawk Pirate

Video by Jerry Liguori from HawkWatch International.

It's a tough world out there for barn owls. We think of owls and other birds of prey as the ultimate predator of the skies. But many species are not above scavenging or even flat-out stealing the hard-earned prey of other hunters.

This barn owl hunting during the day took a big risk and was indeed attacked by a northern harrier hawk trying to pirate its meal. Watch the video to the end to see what happens.

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Barn owl by Edd's Images via Flickr Creative Commons.

Symbolically Adopt a Barn Owl with the National Wildlife Federation. 

 

23 Apr

Dive Bombing Boobies and Pelicans

 

Ataque impressionante!!O Projeto Coral Vivo conta com o #patrocínioPetrobras por meio do Programa Petrobras Socioambiental.

Posted by Coral Vivo on Monday, January 12, 2015

This huge flock of what appears to be brown boobies and brown or Peruvian pelicans made quite a show for beachgoers as they dive bombed a school of fish in the surf.

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Brown booby by Ivy Dawned via Flickr Creative Commons.

Brown boobies fly over the water looking for fish just below the surface, often in areas where larger predator fish drive smaller fish to the surface. When they spot prey, they dive bomb from as high as 50 feet and can plunge below the surface to depths of six feet. They execute their dives by folding their wings next to their body at beginning of dive, then thrust their wings straight out over their backs, touching in the middle, just before breaking the surface. 

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23 Apr

Octopus Stalks Crab

The awesomeness of octopuses has no end. This video captures an octopus hunting a crab in open water in Australia. While it's easy to root for the crab, it's helpful to remember that octopuses need to eat too.

That they are equipped with an incredible intelligence and eight deadly effective grasping limbs isn't a count against them, but something that only adds to their awesomeness. 

Octopus Hunts Crab
























Symbolically Adopt an Octopus with the National Wildlife Federation. 

9 Apr

Bobcat Attacks Shark

 


This is the ultimate case of land vs. sea.

John Bailey was walking on the beach when he saw what he thought was a dog emerging from the water. He was surprised to see it was dragging a shark in its mouth. But that was nothing compared to his surprise when he realized it wasn't a dog. It was a bobcat!

He snapped this photo that has gone viral of the rare predator vs. predator event.

Bobcat Shark

Many people questioned whether the photo was real or fake. I'm not a photoshop expert but as a Naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation, I don't have trouble believing it to be authentic.

Bobcats, though shy and elusive around people, are bold, opportunistic predators that will take advantage of any food source. For a bobcat living in a coastal area, hunting at the water's edge makes perfect sense.

H/T to Huff Post Green.

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