Peter Capaldi's Leonardo da Vinci loves animals, mocks humans

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With Peter Capaldi–a proven choice for the smartest man in the universe–you come away impressed with Leonardo’s love of animals and maybe a little creeped out by his anger at humans.

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Did a Hunter Leave a Dead Bear in Central Park to Teach New Yorkers a Lesson?

bearcub

Releasing predators in Central Park play a huge role in the fantasies and rhetoric of hunters. Could one have planted a dead black bear cub scare New Yorkers? Seems like somebody with access to dead wildlife was trying to make a point.

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Parks Service Wants to Hunt Fire Island Deer Again

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Watch out Fire Island deer! The Parks Service wants you out of the way of their holly plants. And tourists, if you like seeing deer, too bad. The parks service wants to cut down on “negative human-deer interactions,” which it seems to define as anything that isn’t hunting.

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Guide to Troubled Birds: showing birds as the jerks they sometimes are

Guide to Troubled Birds

Guide to Troubled Birds is the rare funny bird book that illustrates what any birder secretly knows: a lot of birds are jerks.

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Humongous Polyphemus Moth hatches--sorry, ecloses--from one of two mystery cocoons downed from oak trees during the harsh winter.

Moth upon hatching

Humongous Polyphemus Moth hatches–sorry, ecloses–from one of two mystery cocoons downed from oak trees during the harsh winter.

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Nest Quest in Prospect Park: wood ducks, herons, swans, cardinals, swallows and, of course, robins nest in the park

Green heron on nest by the boathouse. Babies are tucked under her wing.

Wood duck mother and duckling

Something is going on with nests in Prospect Park this season. They’re everywhere. You can’t walk 50 feet in the park bumping into some adorable tableau of chirping baby birds. Half the trees in the park seem to be brimming with exhibitionist robin families. The big unusual nests this year are green herons and wood ducks (which are living somewhere near dog beach–but where they nested, I don’t know.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green herons are nesting on the lullwater and near the less-fancy bridge by the boathouse.

Green heron on nest by the boathouse. Babies are tucked under her wing.

Green heron feeds her creepy-looking babies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swans in the park, as if in defiance of a potential plan to wipe them out, are multiplying. They have two nests, one helpfully placed on an island by the ice rink to make for easy viewing.

The father swan normally spends his days chasing off other waterfowl, but he came and sat on the eggs with his wife. Apparently he was alarmed by a mommy mallard and her ducklings nearby.

Baby Swans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I havent’ seen barn swallows build nests on the boathouse yet, just in the tunnels.

Barn swallow nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These robins are so desperate for attention they build nests at eye level, sometimes

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Elusive Cardinal Nest

DAY ONE The first day I saw the cardinal nests. It took me 10 minutes to find the nest in a bush about the size of a small car.

Baby cardinals, so hard to find, have a weird red tint to their bodies. After years of looking I finally found a nest. The babies left before I thought they could make it. I’ll never know if they did.

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Dogs Don't Eat Warblers--in Prospect Park or Anywhere

Warbler Flavored Milkbones

Birders harass dog people in Prospect Park saying they disturb ground-nesting birds. But only six species nest on the ground here, none exclusively. Some aren’t even in the park in the summer.

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Bill Gates’ Mosquito Chart Too Harsh on Wolves, Sharks, Hippos; Too Easy on Humans

Bill Gates’ popular chart on World’s Deadliest Animals tries to visualize shows mosquitoes as the most despicable creature on earth. But it makes hippos, wolves and sharks look worse than they are and lets off humans (the true villains) way too easy.

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Odds good for owling in Brooklyn

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How easy is it to see a snowy owl in Brooklyn this winter? Your odds are pretty good–if you’re willing to haul yourself out to Floyd Bennett Field, an old timey airport on Brooklyn’s shore. I got to see one today after looking on eBird and figuring it was the most likely spot.

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