Outdoorosity - Inspiration and Information About the Outdoors

Inspiration and Information About the Outdoors

Wildlife

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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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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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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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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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You may have heard it in the evening or late into the night: a yip, a chattering howl, an eerie chorus that reminds you that something is wild and awake and on the move. You don’t have to live near woods or a forest to hear it; you can hear the sounds in neighborhoods, towns, …

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It’s so easy to snap a picture. You don’t even need to carry a camera – a cell phone, tablet, or iPad will do the job just fine. If you like to take photos, you’ve probably got a growing collection of pictures of friends, family, events, and selfies. But have you ever thought of capturing …

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I’m not really scared of snakes, though they sometimes surprise me by seeming to appear out of nowhere. Over the years, we’ve found a number of black snakes in our yard; they’ve been in our chicken coop, in our driveway, even in my mother-in-law’s house! There have been enough of them that we began to …

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The other day, as we were opening the door to go out, my daughter, son, and I heard something screaming in the woods up the hill behind our house. It sounded a lot like a person, and she and I became quite alarmed. It didn’t seem to bother my son at all. “Did you hear …

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Whenever I mow close to the house, I notice a number of insects moving out of the grass. Some go up towards the windows and hang on the screens. There will often be at least one or two praying mantises in the group, some large and some small. And each time, I’m amazed by these …

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We love chickens at our house – not the fried kind, but the kind that wanders around the yard clucking, squawking, and eating insects. With two dogs, we can’t have roaming chickens anymore, but there was a time our chickens could go anywhere they liked. They even roosted high in the trees at night. That …

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