Saving Mother Earth

Polar Bear @Denver Zoo 2009-02-14 LAH 351r (2)Save the monarchs. Save the rhinos. Save the polar bears. When I was growing up, it was save the whales. If you are on any conservation mailing lists, you know that there are plenty of beloved creatures in danger of extinction. Of course, these organizations all remind us that the way to save these poor, benighted creatures is to send money, lots of money.

This isn’t to say that these species aren’t in danger. And it isn’t that I don’t care about monarch butterflies, polar bears, or rhinos. I’ve been an environmentalist since my childhood, and I’m passionate about conservation.

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Scrub-Jay Split

Scrub Jay_ColoSpgs-CO_LAH_2272In case you haven’t heard, we have a new bird on the block. Last summer the familiar Western-Scrub Jay was split into two species—the California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) and the Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii).

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Lungwort—Prettier than it Sounds

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It’s easy to understand why we want to include Sweet William, Lamb’s Ears, or Love-in-a-Mist in our gardens. Their whimsical names make us smile. On the other hand, it’s surprising anyone grows plants with names such as fumewort, blood lily, or wormwood. They sound awful! In fact, these plants are quite beautiful, as you can see below (clockwise from upper right).

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Hummingbirds have Superpowers

Broad-tailed Hummingbird_BlkForest-CO_LAH_6054On a trip to Washington this past February, it seemed strange to see (Anna’s) hummingbirds coming to the feeders. Here in Colorado, we aren’t so lucky. The species we enjoy here depart in the fall and don’t return until the end of April—or even later. Still, I’ll be brewing up some sugar water soon. I typically hang my feeders around April 25, just in case some early arrivals show up in the backyard. (When temperatures dip below freezing, I take the feeders in for the night, then warm them a bit for the birds’ breakfast.)

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April Bird Quiz: Uncropped Photo

If you were stymied on Monday, now can you name this bird? The photo was taken in Utah in April. The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.

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Moss, the Weird Plant

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Moss. To those of us in Colorado, moss conjures images of soft green blankets cushioning the forest floor, or carpeting the north side of a tree in a verdant forest. To my daughter in western Washington, moss is that soggy green mat choking out the turf in her shady backyard, or keeping the shake roof too wet, allowing rot to set in. But love it or disparage it, moss is one fascinating plant.

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April Bird Quiz

Can you name this bird? The photo was taken in Utah in April. I will post the uncropped photo Saturday, giving you one more chance to identify this bird. The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.

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