Archive for December, 2010

Friday Photo

354/365: I want to roll around like a kid in the snow

The wind blew, the snow flew, and the kids went sledding.


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Take it Outside

Turn off the screens—the television, the computer, the video games. Take time from work, from chores, from the day to day tasks that keep us busy. Adults and children take it outside. Every couple of weeks I will challenge you to see and hear new things—to hunt the woods for wildflowers, to find shapes in nature, to sit by the waterside and listen for unique sounds. So much to experience out in the world.

Signs of beaver

  • This week’s challenge: Look for signs of wildlife: trees cut by beaver, deer rubbings, squirrel nests and rabbit poop. Animals eat, drink, sleep, and play in the wild. Venture out into a forest, walk beside a pond or through a meadow, think about the animals that might live in that setting and then look for signs. Wildlife signs can be divided into the following categories:bear scat, we think 

  • Homes: nests, holes, molehills, spider webs, cocoons
  • Tracks: paw, feet, and hoof impressions in mud, sand or snow
  • Feeding: chew marks, piles of feathers or bones, empty shells,Fresh Rubbings by Deer or Elk holes in trees, piles of seed pods
  • Trails: tunnels in thicket, paths worn in meadow grass,worn or scratched areas on tree trunks and logs
  • Sightings or hearings: animals scurrying, birds chirping
  • Scat: animals poop in the woods and animal’2s scat looks different

So, open your eyes, your ears and your mind and start hunting. Let us know what you find.

Wildlife Sign Walk

Wild Kids

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Twas the Night Before Christmas

Four Heads are Better Than One

Twas the night before Christmas, All the animals stood

In the crisp peaceful silence, Of their home in the wood.

The trees towered in might, Their branches did clatter,

As the squirrels come out, Of their nests, pitter patter.

The deer came together, they met, they communed

And from beyond the hilltop, rose the shimmering moon.

The fox, the badger, even the skunk,

Came out of their dens, At the base of the trunk.

“Merry Christmas,” they say, as they wait in a group.

Santa is flying the world in his loop.

He will stop here to see us, For just a brief time.

But during those moments, Our woods will sure shine.

Then the reindeer and Santa will fly out of sight,

The shout “Happy Christmas,” will ring through the night.

Ann Courcy, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays from Barking Frog Farm

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Cedar Wax Wing

Birders are busy in late December, but not hunting for deals on Christmas gifts like so many other folks. They are out counting every bird that hops, swims or flies into view. For more than 100 years, individual bird lovers, families, students and scientists have volunteered their time between December 14 and January 5 to participate in the longest-running wildlife census. The Christmas Bird Count began on Christmas Day 1900. Prior to that, a Christmas tradition among hunters had been to organize themselves into teams and hold competitions to see who could shoot and kill the most birds. Ornithologist Frank Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition, a “Christmas Bird Census.” Participants in the census would count birds rather than kill them.

Vôo dos Carcarás (Polyborus plancus) - Crested's or Audubon's Flight 30 21-06-07 177 - 9

The data collected during the Christmas Bird Counts gives the Audubon Society and other environmental organizations information about the long-term health of bird populations across North America. This knowledge, combined with information from other surveys, has helped scientists identify changes in bird populations over the past 100 years. The information helps scientists make conservation plans to protect birds and their habitats, and also helps identify environmental issues and their implications for life on the planet.

To find out more about volunteering for the Christmas Bird Count click on the link below or contact your local Audubon. Make counting birds a Christmas Tradition for your family.

Get Involved with the Christmas Bird Count

NPR’s Bird Note

Christmas Bird Count

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Friday Photo

Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides in Estonia

Over the river and through the woods…

barking frog farmShare your nature photographs with us. Email them to ann@barkingfrogfarm.com, type Friday Photo in the subject line.

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Friday Photo

Trees with snow

Snow Covered Giants

Share your nature photographs with us. Email them to ann@barkingfrogfarm.com, type Friday Photo in the subject line.

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Homage to Jacques (Cousteau) #1

When I was a child and a Jacques Cousteau Special was on television, it felt like a holiday. It meant pajamas on early, popcorn made, drinks poured and the entire family in one room watching Jacques Cousteau aboard the Calypso. Years later, when I started my own family, I turned my son William on to the Cousteau family. We watched many undersea adventures together. William starts college next fall and will study biology. His sights are set on helping endangered mammals in the rainforest. I am happy to think that the Cousteau family has had a part in this plan. Last week, I introduced my daughter Aurora and my son Stephen to Jean-Michel and Céline Cousteau when we watched Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures: Return to the Amazon. After that program, Aurora announced she wants to be an underwater photographer. We’ll see – she is only 7 years old. Though if this plan continues, Céline Cousteau would be a great role model for her.

I feel such a closeness to the Cousteau family that when I saw an article about Fabien Cousteau in the November/December issue of Sierra, I smiled and eagerly read it. To commemorate his grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau‘s 100th birthday and World Oceans Day, in June he launched a nonprofit organization called Plant a Fish. The organization’s programs are active, hands-on outdoor education and restoration based.  They empower local communities to take action when aquatic species of plants and animals are identified as environmentally stressed. To learn more about this valuable organization and its programs, visit the website at plantafish.org.

Plant a Fish’s first four programs:

    Green Sea Turtle 

  • Oyster “C Garden” Program
  • Turtle “C Garden” Program
  • Mangrove “C Garden” Program
  • Coral “C Garden” Program

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