Robins are beautiful birds that inhabit most areas of North America and even Mexico. Here we see one bathing in a backyard pond. Although it looks very angry, it's clear it is having a very good time! As it splashes and dips into the water, the facial features and markings over the eyes make it appear to be holding a serious frown.
These birds are called "American Robins" because they are native to North America, and because they have a red breast, similar to the European robin. But the European robin is flycatcher and is in a completely different family. The American robin is actually a thrush, and a songbird. They are abundantly found in all types of habitat.
Robins are significant carriers and spreaders of the dangerous West Nile Virus. Although we typically blame crows and jays for this spread, because we see the die from it early and in larger numbers, the robin is just as capable of contracting the virus and then living longer, promoting a greater spread to humans through the mosquitos which are the intermediary hosts.
Robins have keen eyesight to help them find their prey; grubs, insects and earthworms, but they actually use their hearing to find food as well. The robin listens carefully for the sound of an earthworm moving just beneath the surface of the ground. It can detect the worm and pounce, pulling it from its hole. They use smell and even detect vibration to find their food.
It is believed that birds like the robin bathe in water or in dust to maintain the preferred amount of oil on their feathers and to discourage mites and other parasites.
Calves are incredibly curious animals, and more inquisitive than we give them credit for. When these ones saw a GoPro camera for the first time, they were fascinated. They followed the visitor in their meadow, trying to get a close look. It was obvious that the camera had caught their attention and he stopped and held it out to them. They were reluctant to come close enough to sniff, but they lined up in hilarious fashion and stared, eager to come closer, but fearful enough to keep their distance.
When the GoPro was placed on the ground and left on its own, the calves couldn't resist coming up to check out the strange object. They cautiously sniffed and licked at the camera, backing away and taking turns, as if they expected that it might jump up at them at any moment. Their reaction is simply adorable as they create close up footage of their noses and eyes.
These calves live on what is referred to as an "ethical beef farm" in Millbrook, Ontario. The cows are treated extremely well, with an emphasis on herd health over profits. The cows here have hundreds of acres of pasture and meadow where they graze and wander freely. There are ponds full of fresh water, woods to explore and rolling hills with lush, green grass. Even the bull is a happy member of the herd and he watches over his cows protectively.
While the nature of farming means that the animals will ultimately end up as food, these cows are happy and enjoy a long and healthy life on this farm. It is as close as possible to what nature intended for these gentle souls. While living a vegan lifestyle is commendable, many will always choose to eat meat. Obtaining that meat from farms like this one will go a long way to ensuring more humane treatment of animals, as well as supporting the farmers who are dedicated and committed to doing things right.
Ethical farms are easy to find in most places. The cost of supporting these farms is well worth it for the peace of mind that comes with giving the animals a much better life.
Moose are the second largest wild animals in North America. They reach a height of more than 2.5m (7 feet) at the shoulder and can tip the scales at a whopping 640kg (1400lbs). When full grown, they fear few animals, and only a large pack of determined wolves, or a very hungry grizzly bear would try to prey on one. For this reason, they wander the woods with confidence, although they shy away from contact with humans whenever possible.
These hikers were exploring the woods in Parry Sound, in Ontario, Canada when they heard the approaching footsteps of a large animal. They could see the figure of a large moose walking toward them so they moved off the trail to avoid a direct confrontation. The moose came closer and then sensed their presence. It stopped to have a look and then it decided that they were no threat.
They remained quiet and moved slowly, partly to avoid startling the moose and partly to prolong the close encounter. A large moose is an awe inspiring sight close up and they marveled at the beauty of this magnificent animal. Walking beside the trail, the hikers kept pace with the moose which seemed unconcerned with their presence. It stopped in a marshy area to drink water and the hikers stood nearby, taking the sight in very happily. The moose was aware of their presence and it cast them a curious glance now and then but it obviously was not worried. For safety, the hikers maintained a respectful distance and also kept a few trees between themselves and the moose.
Despite the fact that moose seemed unthreatened, it is still a wild animal and a large one at that. Animals can be unpredictable and being too close is often unwise. A slow and cautious approach is always best.
Unfortunately, moose populations are declining in North America. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the development of roads and other human encroachments on habitat has provided some advantages for deer populations. With deer, come brain worm and liver flukes, two problems for which the moose have no immunity. These parasites have a much less significant effect on the deer, but they can be fatal to moose. Any increase in deer population will adversely affect the moose. Excrement of infected deer is eaten by snails, which then become infected. Moose graze on aquatic vegetation and inadvertently eat the snails, becoming infected themselves. Moose eat leaves and tree shoots, but they also eat the plants that grow under the surface in marshes and bogs.
Moose must also live where the climate suits their ability to find food as well as avoid predators. In areas with deep snow, they find mobility difficult and outrunning wolves leads to exhaustion and vulnerability. In areas with no snow, the wolves are equally at an advantage. They prefer areas where the snow is deep enough to allow the advantage of their longer legs to prevail.
The hickory tussock moth caterpillar, also known as the hickory tiger moth caterpillar is a beautiful creature that looks soft and furry. It's appearance almost invites one to pick it up or to touch it to see if it is as soft as it looks. But doing so can cause a severe reaction due to the venom and barbs at the end of its hairs.
The long black hair tufts at the ends of the caterpillar are connected to venom glands that secrete poison when the hairs are touched. Unsuspecting people who come in contact with the caterpillar will usually experience a rash like poison ivy or nettle stings. This can cause a burning sensation, swelling and pain. In extreme cases, a serious allergic reaction and nausea may occur. Medical attention may also be required, if the reaction persists.
The hickory tussock moth caterpillar concentrates toxins from the host plants that it eats, allowing it to develop this chemical defense. Nature will often provide small, or otherwise vulnerable creatures with a means of discouraging predators. The tussock moth caterpillar is one of those creatures.
The caterpillars eat oak, ash, hickory, walnut, and elm leaves, and although they can be found in large numbers, the caterpillars are not likely to defoliate a plant enough to cause an issue for the plant.
In fact, the caterpillar's venom is not sufficient to be a serious threat to most people, and even in extreme cases, the effects are not long lasting or life-threatening. This did not stop the spread of "caterpillar terror" in Ohio in 2016, however. A well-meaning mother posted on social media about her experience with the caterpillars when her daughter licked one of them in 2016 and suffered a painful reaction. Her point was to warn other parents so that they would educate their children about the hazards of touching the creatures. But the result was an over reaction that caused widespread concern, and even fear.
The caterpillars are actually an essential part of the diet for chickadees and other songbirds that inhabit Canada and the eastern United States of America. They have been around far longer than humans and they are an important part of our ecosystem.
As with all animals, avoiding unnecessary contact is always wise, for our own health, as well as for the animal's health. There is a saying that if we leave them alone, they will leave us alone. This is certainly true for the hickory tussock moth, or any other caterpillar. All they want to do is eat, avoid being eaten themselves, and turn into a cocoon for the winter. Enjoy them from a respectful distance. They are a beautiful and fascinating little animal.
There is a garden "monster", known as the tomato hornworm. They are gigantic caterpillars that devour tomatoes and potatoes in record time. A few hornworms can strip a tomato plant of leaves entirely, killing the plant, and they will even eat the tomatoes. These beasts are so large that you can hear their jaws clicking as they eat. When threatened, the worms will click their jaws as a warning. Capable of actually biting, they are intimidating when full grown. The worms have a formidable spike at the end of their bodies that serves as a deterrent for predators, but they don't have the ability to inflict any actual injury.
They blend in perfectly with tomato leaves. Amazingly, the hornworms glow brightly when illuminated in the dark with a black light. These caterpillar pupate and burrow into the ground, preferring soft dirt to make the burrowing easier. When they emerge, a gigantic moth, called the five-spotted hawk moth is their new form. These moths are one of the largest of all moth species in North America. They will live for 7-10 days but they are not equipped to eat during this stage of their life.
The moths will mate and then lay eggs on tomato, potato, and eggplants so that the cycle can repeat all over again.
The eggs will natch into tiny caterpillars that grow at an astonishing rate, eating constantly and molting several times as they grow.
These golden retriever puppies are just three weeks old. Although they are growing very rapidly, they are still adorably tiny. Watch as they fight and play in order to avoid nap time. Cuteness overload!
Yellowjacket wasps are a very common sight in North America, and although they are feared due to their nasty sting and aggressive nature, they play an important ecological role. Many are crucial for biological pest control, as well as pollination, much like bees.
This wasp made a sudden appearance when a car was parked near a forested area. The car windshield had a streak of very fresh bug splatter running up it on the outside. The wasp appeared to have smelled an opportunity for a meal as it landed within a few seconds and began searching the glass for the fluid streak.
The view from inside the car provides us with a unique perspective as the wasp finds the bug juice and begins to eat it with great enthusiasm. Perhaps the wasp is ever conscious of the fact that she is not the only predator in the area. She eats hurriedly and devours a significant amount of the fluid before cleaning her face and antennae and then flying away.
Yellowjackets look very similar to paper wasps and both species build nests by chewing wood fiber to create a paper-like pulp. They also create dwellings in soil cavities and animal burrows. The females in the nest hunt for food, such as meat or fruit and they return to the nest to regurgitate some of this food to feed the larvae. The larvae produce a sugary substance which the adult wasps eat.
Wasps work furiously to build large nests and colonies throughout the summer and autumn, often having 4,000 to 5,000 individuals in a single nest.
Many of the insects that the wasp eats are harmful to agriculture so the wasp is considered beneficial to humans.
Golden retriever puppies are among the cutest creatures on earth. These puppies are 8 weeks old and they have been playing and climbing on each other for several hours. They are now exhausted and it is nap time. They have all settled into the corner in their enclosure to make the most adorable pile of cuteness imaginable. Sleep has found some of them while others struggle to stay awake a little longer. A few restless ones are climbing on the others, looking for a comfortable position to lie in to have a rest. In about an hour they will spring to life and start playing all over again.
Aside from playing and climbing on each other, these puppies also get excited for meal times. When their mother comes in to check on them, they will swarm her and try to latch on fro a drink of milk.
Sea lions are adorable animals with personalities and charm that capture our hearts. They look and behave much like our beloved dog companions and they are often called sea dogs. They inhabit almost every beach and rocky shore ion the Galapagos Islands and they are a delight for the tourists and the residents to watch. Their comical antics often have us in stitches.
Playful and curious, sea lions have learned to coexists with humans and they will often venture inland to look for scraps of food in shoreline villages. They are regular customers at these fish markets, pleading with their huge eyes and pitiful cries, hoping for a stray piece of fish to fall in front of them. While it is frowned upon to interfere with nature and feed these animals, even the most hardened fisherman cannot completely resist their begging.
This kind man has been cleaning fish as fast as the boats bring it in. He is watched carefully by an adult sea lion and also by a baby, both of which have great hopes for some generosity. They can see the enormous tuna and smell the delicious aroma of a fresh dinner as they are carried past the noses of the hungry sea lions. The sea lions know that they will be chased away from the fish if they try to grab one. They also know that the fish are far too large to swallow. They must wait patiently for a scrap or a slice to "accidentally" fall. Their fisherman friend has been known to have an occasional slip and a chunk will leave the table.
As predicted, the skin of a red snapper drops to the floor right in front of the hungry baby. He eagerly grabs the fish skin before the herons, pelicans, or other sea lions can move in. The trouble he has is that he is unable to rip the fish skin, and he is unable to swallow it unless part of it reaches the back of his throat. In the most comical fashion, the baby sea lion repeatedly tosses the fish skin in the air until he can work enough of it into his mouth to swallow it. The tourists watching this cheer him on and laugh at his adorable attempts to eat such a big meal.
Cameron is a seasoned scuba diver with a very seasoned imagination. While on a recent dive trip with his family in Tobermory, Ontario, he decided to give his rendition of the events from a stormy night almost a century ago. But communicating underwater with a regulator in your mouth and a mask on your face is difficult. Scuba divers are quite good at overcoming this through the use of gestures and hand motions.
Cameron's family is exploring the wreckage of a wooden tugboat that had been bashed against the rocks near the shore during a violent storm. At least, that's what the records indicate. But Cameron's investigation of the wreck, and his vivid imagination, present a different set of circumstances.
According to Cameron, the captain of the boat was drinking a little alcohol and had become inebriated. He drove the boat. He drank some booze, and he drove the boat even faster. His incredulous father asked if this was accurate and verified. Cameron insisted that it was. And he continued the Captain was as "sauced as a squid" and he piled the ship up on the rocks due to miscalculation and altered judgement. Motioning with his mask, he seems to be telling us that the Captain was drinking doubles and seeing double. As the ship sank, the Captain went down with the ship. And that's the real version of the events that took place in Georgian Bay on Lake Huron almost 100 years earlier.
Of course, Cameron's version of the events is purely fictional and complete speculation. He's simply making an attempt at scuba humour and his dad, who has an equally vivid imagination is playing along just for fun. Without a doubt, this wreck was caused by the extreme and unpredictable weather that the Great Lakes are famous for.
Whale sharks are magnificent creatures that take our breath away. To see one up close is a life changing experience. At almost 17m (55 feet) in length, they are enormous and intimidating animals, yet they are incredibly gentle. They are completely harmless to humans and cannot bite. They glide through the water, filtering it for fish eggs, plankton, krill and small fish.
Surprisingly little is known about these mysterious giants. They inhabit almost all tropical waters around the globe and they migrate great distances, yet biologists still don't understand where they have their young. They swim seemingly effortlessly with their mouths open, capturing food in the combs in their gills. They allow water to flow out of their massive gill sots as they feed.
These Canadian tourists embarked ona boat tour with Searious Diving near Isla Mujeres, in Mexico. This is an ethical tour company that works hard to protect the whale sharks through conservation efforts and working with government agencies to share information. It is this data that is used to establish regulations and laws that protect the animals from improper human behaviour.
The tourists have been swimming in the water and photographing the whale sharks as they feed in their natural environment. The captain of the boat had just made the decision to move farther from the feeding area to prevent crowding of the sharks. When they parked the boat at a distance, they were surprised and delighted to see that a whale shark was headed toward them. Apparently curious about the boat, the gigantic shark swam around them and gave them a show they would not forget. It swam past the back of the boat and then it turned, heading straight toward the bow. Just below the surface, the whale shark was clearly visible gulping water and food as it came close. It gently nudged the boat as it swan underneath. It continued on its way, unharmed and even swam around the tourists a few more times before heading off into the distance.
Illegal harvest and entanglement in commercial fishing nets are a serious threat to these whale sharks. To lose them forever would be beyond tragic.
Brownie is a handsome dog who lives on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. He lives with a wonderful family who adore him and treat him like a true family member. They mostly speak to him in Spanish but he is also responsive to some English commands. His actual name is Bruno but he answers to the English translation; Brownie.
Pelicans are huge and fascinating birds with impressive wing spans. They are heavy compared with most birds, spending a lot of their time on the surface of the water. Despite weighing up to 3kg (7lb), this brown pelican is a strong flier due to a massive 2m (6 feet) wingspan. But lifting off from a perch or the surface of the water takes great effort and gaining altitude is often a slow process.
Famous for their ability to use small updrafts from the wind on the waves, the pelican glides smoothly along shorelines with what appears to be minimal effort. They also fly upwards and then suddenly turn and dive bomb schools of fish near surface of the ocean. Using their enormous beak pouches, they scoop up water containing small fish and then squeeze the water out of their beaks to leave them with a mouthful of food. It is this unique feature that is most widely thought of when we talk about pelicans.
The pelican's unique adaptation to capture food in this manner is a true wonder of nature. Fossil records show us that birds such as pelicans evolved as long as 30 million years ago in some parts of the world. Here, in the Galapagos Islands, these birds are common sights along almost any shore. Comfortable with humans, they are often seen around docks and piers, swimming areas, and even wandering on inland streets.
This large male is a regular fixture at the fish market on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. The animals here have learned that residents and tourists have a healthy respect for the wildlife and that they will not be harmed. Intelligent enough to understand what a fish market is all about, this bright fellow has been greeting the fisherman each morning as they return with their catch. Patiently he waits as the fish are cleaned and sorted. There is always a lineup of sea lions, pelicans, herons, and even marine iguanas and there is usually a fish skin or piece of meat that falls to the floor. Occasionally, an unattended fish becomes a meal for these sneaky birds and they can snatch and swallow a fish faster that a fisherman's hand can prevent it.
While in the Galapagos Islands, a visit to the fish market is always a memorable and fascinating experience.
Cows are much more inquisitive and intelligent than we give them credit for. Calves are much like puppies with their playful and fun loving approach to anything new. This calf shows us that she is adorably curious about her first glimpse of a ball in her meadow.
Hope is a one month old calf who was born on a warm, spring day on a farm in Millbrook, Ontario. It's a beautiful place to live with rolling hills, vast expanses of lush, green grass and ponds to drink from. The cows spend most of the year outside, enjoying the freedom of this huge farm.
Fiona is a dedicated mother who watches over her baby protectively. Fiona is especially affectionate and fond of people so it was no surprise when Hope was also fond of being petted and played with. The two are part of a herd of about 40 cows and a huge bull named Gus. Gus also watched protectively over his herd.
The farmers here treat their cows more like pets and even Gus enjoys a head scratch and a few slices of bread as a treat. He's a very laid back bull who enjoys life on this beautiful farm.
The rhinoceros is the second largest land animal in the world. Reaching weights of over 2,300kg (5,000lbs), only elephants are heavier. These massive animals appear ferocious with their thick, armour-like skin and formidable horns. But they are actually gentle herbivores that wander and eat grass and plants, posing no threat to other animals, or even people who maintain a respectful distance.
Golden retriever puppies might be the cutest animals on earth. They are fluffy, playful, happy, and curious every minute of the day. Their faces seem to be fixed with a permanent smile and they approach almost every new experience with enthusiasm and an awkward clumsiness that melts our hearts. They grow into the one of the most lovable and loyal breeds known, and they make excellent family companions.
These 12 beautiful balls of fur are a litter from a wonderful breeding facility in Ontario, Canada, know as "As Good As Gold". They put tremendous care into breeding and raising their pups for optimal health and disposition. Even more importantly, they put just as much care into selecting the perfect forever homes for their babies. They treat these dogs like their own family and they place the dogs after careful screening. Each pup deserves nothing but the best home. As Good as Gold will also provide excellent support, aftercare, and training assistance to make sure that the pups and their families have the best chance at success.
These pups are almost eight weeks old and they are being introduced to water in their new pool. It is a beautiful, warm, summer day and the pups are curious as they watch Karel fill the pool with cool water. They aren't so sure about the splashes of water that are bouncing out all around them but they watch him with rapt attention. Eventually, they are coaxed into the water for some wading and fun. Unsure, they drink and climb out, tails wagging the whole time.
Golden retrievers are known for their love of water and their enthusiasm for jumping in lakes, ponds, rivers, and backyard pools. They eagerly fetch sticks, and some dive for submerged toys. These pups might not love the water yet, but it will soon be a big part of their summer fun to splash and play with their new families. As they approach eight weeks of age, they get closer to that big day.
Hawksbill sea turtles are as adorable as they are beautiful. Watch as this one swims up to a diver for a handshake. So cool!
Orioles are one of the most vividly coloured birds in North America. They are also very simple to attract to any back yard. They adore brightly coloured fruit such as mango, oranges, and red grapes. This ingenious feeder is as simple as slicing an orange in half and sticking it on a tree branch. Orioles will seek out the best places to feed and they will even bring their young to the same spots.
Orioles have a unique and interesting method of feeding, referred to as "gaping". Although they do eat by closing their beaks around food, they also use their beaks in the opposite direction, inserting the tip into soft food such as a orange and then opening their beaks to create a trough or "gape". This gape fills with juice which they slurp up or eat by using their beaks in typical fashion.
Orioles are also very fond of grape jelly, which can be used to lure them to a back yard feeder. With just a little research, the right foods can be found for each bird species and a feeder can be used to attract a person's favourite birds. Watching beautifully coloured birds so close up can provide hours of joy for any nature lover.
These are two of the "Fabulous Freds", a family of orphaned baby crows who were rescued by a veterinarian and her family. They started out as wild crows in a nest high in a tree. The nest fell and the crows were in trouble. The owner of the property saw this and tried to put the nest back up high in the branches. There was no sign of the parents and it was obvious that these crows would need some help. He called a local veterinarian who told him that the crows were best with their own kind, but that they would not make it through the night on their own.
After watching all day, it was certain that the crow babies were abandoned. They were brought home and the veterinarian and her kind family took them is as their own. Birds need to learn many skills from their parents if they are to survive and this family set to work teaching them how to gather food .
Cameron is shown in this video, teaching them how to pick berries from the bush. Within days of the lesson, they were eating berries like old pros. They even flew to the neighbours' house and cleaned out Mrs. Hottner's berries completely. They were taught to find worms as well and they became capable hunters.
After being nursed along for the first summer, the crows began to socialize with local wild crows and they were accepted into a crow family. They flew south when winter hit and the family was left wondering how they would fare. Incredibly, at least two still visit and let out a few calls and an occasional "hello". Spoken like a parrot, their voices are clear and unmistakable. One of the most intelligent animals known, crows are very capable of speech.
Of all the friendships forged with wild animals by this veterinarian and her family, this was one of the most beautiful.
Raven is an 11 month old Great Dane puppy with a lot of personality. She is big and ferocious one minute and terrified of tiny and harmless things the next minute. This is one of the lovable and comical traits of this giant breed. They have the hearts of a lion, yet they cower like a scared child when confronted with new or strange objects.
Raven's family have had her since she was eight weeks old. They take her everywhere, including the family cottage. While hiking along a trail into the wildreness, Raven was enjoying free run time and she was taking in the sights and the smells of moose, deer, and other animals. She suddenly became very focused on a small patch of swamp that ran beside the trail.
As if her family was in mortal danger, Raven began to bark at the small object in the water. Her family were very amused to find that she was terrified of a small piece of wood that was floating harmlessly. Raven bounced around, pawing at it, growling, barking, and acting like she was the great defender. Eventually, she worked up the courage for a close look and a sniff. In that moment, Raven decided that the stick was something to carry off and play with. Seemingly proud of herself for conquering this terrible thing, she held her head high and wagged her tail as she ran off with it.
Great Danes are a wonderful family companion and almost everyone who has one falls completely in love with the breed.
Safaris are fantastic places to see wildlife in a very natural setting. With vast expanses of land and forest, the animals can roam freely while enjoying the safety of living in a protected area. Safaris like this one provide opportunities for people to observe the animals without having them caged or provided limited space.
This troop of baboons was wandering from one section of shrub to another, foraging for food as they went. But in the middle of their journey, several decided that the road was a good place to lie down and nap. A baboon lying still is an opportunity for another to come and groom it.
The motorists that were watching these antics were delighted, even though the troop impeded the flow of traffic for a considerable period of time. They had a very good chance to get some close up photographs and video while this was going on. The baboons seemed very unconcerned and only mildly interested in the humans in the cars.
This is a very natural behaviour in the wild that helps them keep free of fleas, ticks, and other external parasites. The baboon doing the work is rewarded with a little food for his or her efforts. The baboons will actually focus on the areas that are more difficult to reach.
But cleanliness and looking for food are not the only two reasons that baboons do this. It is part of social bonding that is very important to the tribe. It is also a way of establish social hierarchy. It is actually more common for the females to groom the males than the other way around. This seems to be an agreement that pays the males for their protection of the troop and the infant baboons.
Adult male baboons are large and powerful. They possess formidable canine teeth and jaws powerful enough to break bones. Despite their ability to be ferocious as a defensive behaviour, attacks on people are extremely rare.
Baboons typically live 20-30 years in the wild, but can reach as much as 45 years of age in captivity.
Water buffalo are massive, but gentle creatures that originated in India and China. They have been domesticated for over 5,000 years and more people depend on them for agriculture than any other domestic animal, including dairy cattle. They are used for labour in many countries and their milk is richer in fat and protein than dairy milk.
Referred to as the "living tractor" of the east, many small family farms keep water buffalo for both farm work and for milk production. THe animals are also a source of meat for many.
This water buffalo wandered freely in Agra, India, grazing contentedly and resting in a quiet spot near a historic fort. Tourists who were visiting were fascinated with the water buffalo and they watched with amusement as an egret strolled around the buffalo, pecking at flies. The flies were attracted to the water buffalo and the bird was happily eating those that it could catch. This obviously worked out to the water buffalo's satisfaction to be rid of the pests.
The egret skillfully stabbed at flies in the nostril and around the face of the water buffalo. With an impressive amount of trust, the water buffalo remained still and didn't even flinch as the sharp beak poked around the sensitive areas of its face. The bird also displayed an equal trust in casually wandering so close to such a massive animal.
The water buffalo can be seen twitching its ears and the horn on the right side of its head moves unnaturally in the process. It seems that the horn might be dislocated, causing it to droop against the water buffalo's face. India has been described as a land of contrast, and a place where extreme poverty is rampant. Animals often share the effects of this poverty and injuries go untreated. It is also possible that the water buffalo is a stray and does not actually belong to anyone. Animals who are no longer profitable are often released by the farmers who cannot afford to feed them anymore. Because cows are considered sacred by many people in India, their faith prohibits them from eating the animals. This means that the poor creatures are left to fend for themselves, grazing where they can find any kind of vegetation. Cows and water buffalo are often found wandering the streets and busy areas in an obvious state of malnutrition.
This is a heart warming story of orphaned crows who were rescued by a veterinarian and her family one summer after their nest fell out of a tree near their home. The property owner put the nest back in the tree but the parents did not return after several hours. He called Kristy, a local veterinarian with a soft heart and a reputation for helping any animal in need. She sent her husband to watch the nest and the crows had not returned by nightfall.
After several hours on their own, it was clear that the babies were orphaned. They would not survive the night on their own so Kristy and her family adopted them. They fed them every few hours and the crows grew quickly. After a few weeks, they were able to fly and they spent their nights in the trees of Kristy's back yard. They still depended on the family for food and they came when called, screaming loudly for a meal. Like ravenous quadruplets, the crows demanded food at an incredible rate.
Knowing they would need to fend for themselves soon, the crows were taught to find worms and to eat berries from the bush. Crows are highly intelligent and these corvids learned quickly. This is Cameron, showing the crows how to select the ripest fruit. Unfortunately, they learned too well because they flew next door and cleaned out all the berries on Mrs. Hottner's berry bushes. They also pulled the cable out of the satellite receiver on the house, much to the amusement of Mr. Hottner. Crows are actually known for their sense of humour.
Incredibly, the crows learned to say the word ":hello" and they would perch in the trees, calling out when they saw their human friends. As smart as chimpanzees, crows can learn to speak.
The crows thrived and they successfully integrated into a wild crow family in the area. They flew south for the winter and the family missed them terribly. They wondered if the crows had actually left and if they were doing alright. But one warm day in spring, a familiar voice was heard, saying "hello". One of the crows had returned and took food that was left on a branch. They were no longer tame, which is as it should be, and they no longer sat on the shoulders of their human family, but they did visit occasionally. On several occasions, two distinct voices could be heard, indicating that at least two had made it through the winter. A camera left at the bird feeder the following year captured heart warming footage of one of the crows saying hello to a squirrel.
It is hoped that all four survived and are still doing well. It's rarer now, but the family still hears an occasional "hello" and they still see crows that let them get closer than a truly wild crow would.
Of all the animal friendships Kristy and her family have had, this is the most beautiful.
The Baltimore Oriole is one of the most stunningly colored birds in North America. A brilliant orange or gold color makes up most of its plumage with stark black areas on its head and wings. The adults have a few white bars on their wings as well. Males are more vividly colored than the female Orioles.
It is a small bird that migrates each year, according to climate. Bird enthusiasts welcome their return with brightly colored ripe fruit at the feeders. The Orioles seek out only the most brightly colored of fruits such as oranges, cherries and red grapes. They will ignore green grapes, even if they are ripe.
The Oriole has a unique feeding technique which we can actually see in this video. It is called "gaping". The Oriole will stab its closed beak into the fruit and then open the beak to create a gap into which the juice of the fruit will flow. The bird then uses its tongue to drink the juice.
Orioles love halved oranges and thoroughly enjoy grape jelly placed in the oranges.
The Oriole is a prey bird for grackles, hawks, owls, falcons, and even for cats. They can live as long as 12 years if they do not fall prey to a larger bird or other animal. The Oriole feeds on insects for most of the year, with a favorite being the tent caterpillar moth. They will also eat the tent caterpillars. Interestingly, they will bang the caterpillar against a branch to remove the bristly, protective hairs that make then difficult to eat. This taste for such a destructive garden pest makes them an especially welcome bird for many people.
These little birds are frequent visitors at hummingbird feeders, enjoying the same nectar as the hummingbirds. Once an oriole decides that a feeder is a good source of their desired food, they will lead their young to the same location to feed.
Monkeys are among the most curious creatures on earth. When a troop of monkeys and their babies stopped to enjoy some leaves and other food along the edge of the bush in Costa Rica, they also discovered a small camera had been fastened to a tree. As they ate and rested, they began to investigate this curious object. They poked, prodded, bit, and licked the camera with intense curiosity.
Monkeys are among the most intelligent creatures in the wild and they learn quickly from watching others. We can see the baby monkey doing just that as he watches his mother closely and imitates her every move. As she nibbles leaves, he does the same. He bites sticks, as she does, and when she peers into the camera lens, he follows along as well.
Spider monkeys are highly social, living in troops of up to 40 individuals. They live most of their life in the canopy of the forest but they come to the ground to forage for food and to explore.
Spider monkeys make use of lime tree leaves mixed with saliva to repel insects. Very few animals are capable of such problem-solving skills. They are also known to have complex communication, using different noises to sound alarms, find individuals, or to alert other monkeys to a food source. They are also capable of using non vocal communication such as tail position and head shaking, making their ability to communicate even more sophisticated and complex. Possessing excellent memory skills, they are the third most intelligent nonhuman primate.
Monkeys are prey for large cats, eagles, and large snakes, but habitat loss and harvest by humans for the pet trade has affected their numbers to the point of them being an endangered species. To lose these adorable and important animals would be beyond tragic.
Created 1 month ago.
Category Pets & Wildlife