Category Archives: animals

Squirrel and bird buffet

Believe me, it costs more than tuppence a bag! (Those are pecans in the front, at $3.69 per small sack!) It’s not easy being both a Squirrel God and a Bird God. The squirrels, however, are in tip-top condition, though the birds are skittish and I rarely get to see them close up.

The American Alligator

by Greg Mayer Another Florida correspondent sends this picture of several American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in Oviedo, Florida. They’re at a combination bar, gift shop, and wildlife refuge (the kind of place Florida specializes in, I gather!) on the shore of Lake Jesup. Alligators are said to be abundant in the lake, and a few are […]

The Brown Pelican

by Greg Mayer My Florida correspondent sends this picture of a Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) taken on January 9, 2014, along the Caloosahatchee River in Ft. Myers, Florida. The pelican above is an adult (note white neck with yellowish wash on head; both are brownish in juveniles) in non-breeding condition (when breeding, most of a […]

Why are there no lagomorphs in Patagonia?

by Matthew Cobb Look at this map from Wikipedia. It shows the distribution of lagomorphs, which are rabbits and hares (family Leporidae) and pikas (family Ochotonidae). [Etymological titbit #1: The name comes from the greek for hare, lagos, so means hare-shaped.] Pikas are small mammals that tend to live in cold parts of north America and Eurasia. […]

Readers’ wildlife photos: a red-tailed hawk hunts pigeons in Providence

In one hour I’ll reveal the location of the nightjar, so do your looking now. Reader Peter Green lives in Providence, Rhode Island and is an accomplished photographer of wildlife; you can see his photos at Providence Raptors.  But he has an unusual speciality: as he notes “My focus is urban raptors. . . I […]

Readers’ holiday cards to all of us

I wish you all a festive celebration, with no lucubrations but plenty of libations. Two readers have sent animal-themed greetings to the rest of us. Tom sent a photo of a gorgeous snowy owl that he took yesterday at Wolfe Island, Ontario. I’ve superimposed his caption on the photo to make it into a card: […]

The outgroup for multicellular animals: ctenophores

Ctenophores, or comb jellies, are a phylum of animals whose relative position in the Great Tree of Life—along with the other metazoan (multicellular) animal phyla of Cnidaria (jellyfish, corals sea anemones), Porifera (sponges)  Placozoa (a single species resembling a multicellular amoeba, which forms its own bizarre phylum), and Bilateria (all the other animals we know, […]

From my windowsill

My own bird photography can’t match that of several readers who contribute pictures, but I’ll proffer the picture of a bird who comes to eat seeds on my lab windowsill.  He gets along well with the sparrows; there’s no antagonism when they feed together.  I snapped this northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) two days ago when […]

The world’s cutest animal

. . . or so thinks reader Barry, who sent me this photo: I have to admit it’s pretty adorable. First, identify it. Then, give us your choice of the world’s cutest animal. Don’t forget to specify whether its supremacy is limited to either the adult or juvenile stages. I suppose I’d choose a baby […]

Fox week: VI (I think): Cropper and his human pal

I have a few more posts to go for Fox Week, and this is a good one. “A fox looks like a dog, but purrs like a cat. But in fact, it’s neither . . . They have the nicest nature of animal I’ve ever met.” Those are the words of Mike Trowler of Kent. […]


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