Outdoorosity - Inspiration and Information About the Outdoors

Inspiration and Information About the Outdoors

Wildlife

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When the weather begins to warm up, turtles are on the move. They may be searching for food or mates. Many of these turtles are females looking for nesting sites to lay their eggs. What should I do if I see a wild turtle? The best thing you can do when you find a turtle …

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When I see a small animal that seems to be in distress, my first reaction is to catch it, take it in, and try to help it. But over the years, I’ve learned that’s not always the best thing to do. When I was about 10 years old, I came across three baby squirrels at …

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Have you ever wondered how animals stay warm when it’s so cold outside? One way mammals stay warm is by developing thick coats for the season. Fur traps air, creating a layer of insulation between the cold air and the animal’s skin. The thicker (and oiler) the fur, the better it insulates. Do you use …

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If someone were to ask you to name an animal that hibernates, you’d probably say “a bear.” But for many years, some people did not consider them true hibernators. When animals such as chipmunks and ground squirrels hibernate, their body temperatures drop drastically. A bear’s body temperatures does not decrease nearly as much. And, unlike …

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Depending on where you live, you probably see fewer birds during the winter months. Many species migrate to more temperate areas, some traveling hundreds of miles. But there are those birds that stay behind, even in the coldest weather. Cardinals are some of the easiest to spot with their bright red feathers. Others you might …

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One day, as we were out by our creek, we spotted several salamanders under the rocks. They turned out to be southern two-lined salamanders. Here are several others you might find under a log or in a stream. Spotted Salamander Mostly black, these salamanders have rows of spots down their back and a grey and …

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I sometimes teach creative writing classes, and one of my students included chipmunks in his descriptive paragraph about the woods. I was a little surprised, though, as his chipmunks were climbing trees. I made a note on his paper that they didn’t really do that, but he assured me that they did. It was time …

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There are a number of venomous snake in the United States, and one to watch out for is the copperhead. But that may be easier said than done.  Copperheads live in areas from the Florida panhandle up to Massachusetts, and west to Illinois and Nebraska. It is copper-colored to reddish-brown with hourglass-shaped cross bands. It’s …

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The next time you see a goldfish, whether in an aquarium at the pet store or a fishbowl at your friend’s house, know that the humans in its life will determine if it stays a harmless pet or develops in to one of the most destructive forces in a wild ecosystem. Most goldfish are members …

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Have you ever heard a rat-a-tat-tat sound outside your window? Chances are there’s a woodpecker nearby! There are twenty-two species of woodpeckers in North America living in forests, woodlands, farms, and even backyards. They range from southern Texas to the eastern tip of New York.  Although woodpecker species share some similarities, such as favorite foods …

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Have you ever heard a loud chirping noise as you head off to bed? If so, your unexpected houseguest is most likely a field cricket. These crickets can be found in a variety of habitats, such as forests, caves, fields, lawns, and sometimes your home. They can slip in through cracks in foundations and siding, …

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What wild birds live near your home? Take a walk in a park and see what feathers you can find. Then try to identify them using The Feather Atlas by the Fish and Wildlife Service.     Photo by Bryan Hanson  

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Before all the spring vegetation grows back, why not go on a hunt for animal burrows? You don’t even have to go into the woods – burrows can often be found in backyards and around buildings, too! A burrow is a hole or tunnel that an animal digs for security. It might consist of simple, …

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If you have a cat that goes outdoors, chances are it’s probably caught a few smaller animals. Our cat once came to the door with a baby rabbit in its mouth. As I reached for it, I realized the little rabbit was still alive. Before I could get it, though, the cat let go, and …

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‘Tis the season for spotting mistletoe! Not only can you find it hanging from the ceiling, you can also find it high up in the trees. It’s not hard to spot; just look for bunches of green among the bare tree branches. But did you ever wonder — what exactly is mistletoe?  Mistletoe is a …

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‘Tis the season when many children think about sleighs and reindeer. Or should we say, sleighs and caribou?   How They Are Similar Reindeer and caribou are all found in the northern regions of the earth. Besides Alaska and Canada in North America, they also live in the icy regions of Norway, Russia, and Greenland. Both …

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When my oldest son was about six years old, he discovered a snake close to where he was playing. He called to his sister who then called to me, saying there was a baby copperhead in the grass. I rushed outside and, on first glance, the little snake did look like a copperhead. Worried about …

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crows in field

Every once in a while, a huge flock of crows comes our way. They fill up the yard or the tree branches, making quite a racket. They are gathering together to sleep, and their big group is called a “roost”. No one is sure why these birds do this, though it may be for protection …

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A couple of weeks ago around 7 am, the neighbor’s large dog was barking in our yard. Our two smaller dogs weren’t barking, but they were looking up into a tall tree. In the branches – two black bear cubs! We figured the bigger dog had frightened them, and they climbed to safety. Glancing around, …

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When we were growing up, my brother, sister, and I used to go outside on summer nights and try to catch fireflies. Today, watching them flash in the evening is still one of my favorite things about summer. Not long ago, while we were camping in a valley, the fireflies flashed in the trees all …

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