Saturday, January 28, 2012

Kootznoowoo Wilderness, Admiralty Island, Alaska

This year, Wilderness Volunteers is offering its second project in the Kootznoowoo Wilderness in cooperation with the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. This is a beautiful remote wilderness with coastal forests of Sitka spruce and western hemlock situated along the inside passage. Bald eagles by the hundreds are in the treetops along the beaches, harbor seals, Stellar seal lions and humpback whales feed near rafts of sea ducks. The forest floors are thickly covered with mosses and blueberries, but the island is best known for its brown bears.

The PBS series Nature featured a show on these bears this week.

Watch Fortress of the Bears on PBS. See more from Nature.

If you have ever wanted to see bears, this is your opportunity!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hey...What's Hedwig Doing Here?

A snowy owl in New Jersey

In keeping with the recent raptor theme, here's a neat article on a fascinating development taking place right now in the northern United States. Birders call it the snowy owl irruption.

Translation: a lot of snowy owls.

Unless you've been to the Arctic or have simply been lucky, you likely have only ever seen a snowy owl on the big screen next to Harry Potter. This year, however, folks across the country from Boston to Seattle - even Hawaii- are seeing snowy owls in record numbers. (I recently saw one near a reservoir in northern New Jersey - my second in four years - and needless to say it was truly an incredible sight.) Estimates place the number of snowy owls now wintering in the US at a few thousand - far exceeding the numbers usually found here at this time of year.

Read on to learn what may be behind this influx, where they can be seen, and how many owls it takes to make an "owl jam" in Missouri.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flight of the Goshawk

Did you ever wonder how large birds are able to fly through trees and miss all those branches? The BBC posted this video of a Goshawk flying through increasingly small spaces in slow motion. Fascinating!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Moose Tracks...(Not the Ones in Your Freezer)

Selway Bitterroot Wilderness, ID (2010)

Ever wonder whose tracks those are on the trail? Or what the difference is between a dog and a wolf track, or a black bear and a grizzly bear print? (Which could be useful...) Check out "Off the Beaten Path", a short article in Audobon's September 2011 issue which profiles top wildlife tracker Mark Elbroch - one of only 16 people in the US with a specialist certification - and offers a view into the fascinating, competitive, and controversial world of wildlife tracking.

Read on to learn more about this growing hobby, the role it plays in conservation efforts, and whether those tracks belong to a Douglass squirrel or a gray one.