December 13, 2013 |
Can an airport be mistaken for the arctic tundra? Not by pilots, but certainly to snowy owls invading the Northeast and Midwest in record numbers this year. What has turned into a headache for airports may be a boon to birdwatchers traveling for the holidays who want to add this usually reclusive creature to their life lists. "We're experiencing what could be the largest-ever influx of Arctic snowy owls into the Northeast and the Great Lakes states," a statement from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology released Tuesday says.
December 10, 2013 |
NEW YORK - First terrapin turtles. Now snowy owls. Humans are not the only species flocking to airports this holiday season. At least five times in the last two weeks, airliners at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports have been hit by the fluffy white owls, which airport and Audubon officials agree are migrating south in far higher numbers than normal. One was even spotted in Bermuda recently, said Glenn Phillips, executive director of New York City Audubon.
December 3, 2013 |
Proficiat Postaliosa! If Harry Potter commemorative stamps can cast a solvency spell on the U.S. Postal Service, that's some magic we can get behind. Tradition-bound philatelists should back off from their complaints. The stamps, depicting scenes from the movies based on J.K. Rowling's books , went on sale in late November despite vehement opposition from some serious stamp collectors, who objected that they were both un-American and crassly commercial. Michael Baadke, the editor of Linn's Stamp News, summarized the collectors' arguments when he wrote that Harry Potter postage was "dismissing significant established U.S. stamp traditions without explanation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 21, 2013 |
GROVELAND, Calif. - The Rim fire that scorched a huge swath of Sierra Nevada forests also severely altered the habitat that is home to several of California's rarest animals: the great gray owl, the Sierra Nevada red fox and the Pacific fisher. The fire burned 257,000 acres of High Sierra wilderness straddling the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park that harbors a geographically isolated and genetically distinct clan of roughly 200 great gray owls. The blaze also came within 12 miles of 10 breeding pairs of the subspecies of red fox clinging to survival in the cold, steep slopes above the tree line, raising fears they could have been eaten by coyotes trying to escape the smoke and flames.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 26, 2013 |
Standing on ridges miles away from the Rim fire, John Buckley has traced the path of the huge Sierra Nevada blaze by watching fire clouds billowing above the Stanislaus National Forest. The view has been sobering. As the Rim blaze burns its way into the record books, Buckley thinks it is roasting some of the last remaining old-growth stands in the Stanislaus forest, incinerating thousands of acres of young trees planted at a cost of millions of dollars after massive 1987 fires and destroying important nesting areas for California spotted owls and goshawks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 10, 2013 |
Five juvenile burrowing owls flapped across a salt marsh at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station on a recent weekday, matching the loops and curves of dragonflies and moths before snatching their prey midair. Soon, the owls will be feasting on larger prey, including lizards, rodents and birds. That could present a touchy problem for the base's 1,000-acre wildlife refuge, which is also home to a breeding colony of federally endangered least terns. There are four breeding pairs of burrowing owls left along the Southern California coast between Santa Barbara and Encinitas, and all of them nest at the Orange County base.