Maiasaur nest model; photo by Drow – GFDL,

A shallow, warm sea reflects sunlight in the distance. Here on the shore, a flat beach is backed by low hills. The hillsides are home to dozens of large, circular depressions approximately six feet across. These are nests, and the assemblage is a rookery.

Some nests still contain eggs, others have young in residence. The nestlings have been here a while, hanging out with the their parents, who in turn provide both food and protection. (more…)


hen_lah_9305Chickens can be pretty darn mean. The terms “pecking order” and “henpecked” have a firm basis in how a chicken society operates. Like many other animals—wolves and elephants come immediately to mind—there is an alpha chicken (left) who literally rules the roost. Every other bird knows its place too, which (most of the time) results in peaceful coexistence.

chicken_blkforest_20090731_lah_054Since my flock lacks a rooster, we have a queen hen. The other hens kowtow to her. She is always first to grab the scraps I toss into their coop, and the first to sample the fresh water when I clean their basin. And then there is the poor biddy in last place (right). She’s lacking feathers in a number of spots, not because she’s molting, but because the other hens pull them out.