The smaller, drabber cousin of the Monarch is headed north in huge numbers this year.
Keep reading Painted Lady butterflies migrating through NYC
Macho hummingbirds are leading the migration north weeks early this year. Most ruby-throated hummingbirds are still hanging back down south.
Tell the FWS that Chicago and Milwaukee would like Hackmatack, a new wildlife refuge they could drive to. You might see whooping cranes, river otter, cougars, blandings turtles and all kinds of birds there. They take comments until April 27 and are set to decide this fall.
In the last week hummingbirds flew into IL, NY, PA, OH, MD and even Ontario, way ahead of schedule. Freakishly, many fragile hummingbirds spent all winter up north.
Bald eagles chose the post-industrial wasteland of Chicago’s way South Side to build their first nest in the city in 130 years. The Chicago PD cancelled plans for a huge outdoor firing range nearby that environmentalists hated anyway.
13 endangered whooping cranes now call Wheeler NWR their winter home–maybe permanently–thanks to the quirks of weather, FAA rules and bird stubbornnes.
David FitzSimmons, author of Curious Critters and photography instructor, dances with the creatures he photographs for a half hour or so to get to know them. “I try in images to convey some kind of personality,” he says.
The dance involves making his partner comfortable and getting into unusual positions himself. “I try to shoot on eye level. We sort of look down on them.” And, yeah, he knows that some people cringe at using the word personality with animals. Well, I cringe at their cringing. He’s not thinking the squirrel feels romantic love for its mate, but the attitude and emotion that becomes clear when you get to know any animal. “A snake could be timid or particularly aggressive,” he says. “The crawfish [in the book] has got his claws up and seems particularly aggressive. The gray tree frog seems spiritual and humble.” Aside from a few technical tips–like putting a snake over a hat to get them comfortable before a shoot–FitzSimmons loves getting students of his photography workshops excited about little and common creatures, knowing their enthusiasm will lead to conservation of their subjects. He’s one of four professional photographers that lens-makers Sigma agency sends out nationwide. He teaches literature at Ashland University. For his most recent book, wrote Curious Critters, which we reviewed here, he photographed animals against a pure white background. His choices were local–from his own backyard to some of Ohio’s animal tourist attractions. His daughter helped, spotting the cover’s teeny
Parts of Ohio, the Wall Street of the U.S. exotic animal trade, were locked down to catch the predators released by a private zoo owner before he killed himself.