Monday, February 29, 2016

thanks, smart kids

Thanks to all the smart kids and their smart parents who stayed after the Woody-ology 101 class yesterday to go on a nature walk. We didn't find any woodpeckers (how odd) but we found frog eggs and hugging newts, a fortuitous preview of our Froggy-ology 101 class next month.

Thank you also to Jennifer (log cake) and volunteers Laura, Chelsea and to the families that brought woodpecker-themed food: log cake, tree cookies, chocolate bark, baby suet cakes, Rice Krispies treats bird nests and ants on a log. Yum!

Making suet covered pine cones
And a suet log by drilling holes just like a woodpecker, well...except we used a power drill.

Monday, February 22, 2016

in the family way

I just watched a pair of mourning doves feeding each other. I think the backyard nesting season has begun. 

Doves start early. They can produce six broods a year with a breeding season that lasts from February to November.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thanks for a great day!

Thanks to all who attended my Birding & Brunch: Winter Bird class this morning, and our afternoon Ijams Hiking Club outing. We previewed a new trail on the Wood Property. 

Thanks to Eric Johnson for picking out the trail and leading the group and to co-leader Amy Oakey.

And we found a great view of South Knoxville from the top of the ridge.

Friday, February 19, 2016

winter birds class

Pied-billed grebe

Join me for a Birding & Brunch class on Winter Birds tomorrow morning. It's all about the species that can only be found in the Tennessee Valley from late fall until early spring; birds that nest in the higher elevations of the Smokies or farther north. (OK. Today it feels like spring, but last Saturday when this class was originally scheduled it was icy and below freezing. So go figure. Winter birds are still here.)

Our list of species includes such birds as the pied-billed grebe, American Coot, brown creeper, winter wren, golden-crowned kinglet, hermit thrush, northern harrier and several others.

Ijams will provide the brunch. Fee: $5 to Ijams members, $8 for non-members. To sign up call (865) 577-4717, ext. 10.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Meet Wink

Don't worry about the cold. 

It's Valentine's Day. Bring your sweetie out to meet little "Wink," the one-eyed screech-owl, at the Visitor Center. Just one of the free animal programs and chats today at Ijams.

Learn all about Wink and the other non-releasable education animals that the nature center cares for every day.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

too eager, too soon

A week ago we had record warmth: 75 degrees on one day. Not bad for the first week of February The local western chorus frogs got spring fever and met each other in ponds and wet roadside ditches. Things happened like in Vegas. And what happens in ditches, stays in ditches.

I found a muddy roadside pothole loaded with frog eggs; handfuls of baby Pseudacris triseriata

April is the cruellest month, breeding. Lilacs out of the dead land,” wrote The Waste Land poet T.S. Eliot. Tell that to these frog larvae that will never survive until April, their water filled embryonic sacs ruptured by ice crystals as sharp as stilettos. Don't get me wrong T.S., frogs love puddle-filled wastelands but chill out guys can't you wait awhile. The icy cold weather is forecast to last several more days.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Thank you

Thanks to all who attended my Owl-ology class yesterday at Ijams. It was the fourth and last one of the season.

Next up? Woody-ology 101, all about the seven species of woodpecker that can be found in our area. Great family fun on a Sunday afternoon! February 28 at 2 p.m. with woodpecker themed snacks. Seating is limited. The fee for this program is $5 for Ijams members and $8 for non-members. To register, please call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110.
Spoiler: There may even be a Woody Woodpecker featurette to kick off the class. (Did you know Woody's hysterical laugh is based on our own pileated woodpecker's call? What else about the 1940's cartoon character is based on reality?)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Owl-ology is Sunday

"Sugar" albino barred owl cared for by Lynne McCoy. Photo by Sammi Stoklosa

Sunday, February 7, 2 p.m.
Owl-ology 101 at Ijams

Join local wildlife rehabilitator Lynne McCoy and me for our last look at owls this winter. We’ll review the six owl species that can be found in East Tennessee, dissect an owl pellet and meet an extraordinary snow white guest owl named Sugar. Great family fun on a Sunday afternoon! Seating is limited. The fee for this program is $5 for Ijams members and $8 for non-members. To register, please call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110.

For the WBIR Live@5@4 report click:  Owl-ology