On the talus slope

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I never get disappointed when I hear the little chirp of a Pika moving about on the talus slopes. Always spotting us before we spot them. usually sitting still and looking out into their environment then scurrying off to collect plants for winter larder. The Pika is yet another species threaten by climate change and the focus of this short video in Smithsonian Magazine.

It is encouraging that some Pika may be showing behavior adaptation to a loss of habitat resulting from climate change but as the authors of a recent study concludes “while many species have a clear capacity to modulate behavior in relation to variations in climate parameters,much remains to be learned about the trade-offs, fitness implications, and limitations of behavioral flexibility in the context of novel climate dynamics.”

I sure hope these little guys are able to adapt to the new reality imposed upon them by our species. A walk on the talus slopes without them would be a lonely walk indeed.

Three Billion Birds: follow-up.

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We recently linked to a study finding that over 3 billion birds have been lost from the ecosystem in North America as well as a study indicating that perhaps 66% of North American Birds are threatened with extinction resulting form anthropogenic climate change.

For those who are interested we just received an email informing us of an online presentation this Monday evening Nov, 4th at 7pm EST by Dr. Ken Rosenberg of the Cornell Laboratory of Orinthology titled “3 Billion Birds Gone: The Bird Crisis and What We Can Do About It“. Importantly it looks like this presentation will focus on the broader implication of the results of these findings beyond birds.

Looks to be an interesting presentation.

Tour Guide

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One of Yellowstone National Parks wonderful tour guides pointing out Floating Island Lake in the morning light. A little past due but November 1st was National Bison Day. We sure are lucky to still have these guys walking around free in a few spots on the globe.

American Kestrel

An American Kestrel sat quietly surveying the field on a late November day out in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, CO.

We watched as the Kestrel quickly swooped down into the dried brown fall grass and pulled up small juicy meals which looked to be caterpillars easily held in their toe.

After a few successful hunts from this one fence post the Kestrel glanced back to see how we had liked the show and then flew off down the road to find another hunting spot.