Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Thursday, December 28, 2023

From the Archives: Animals in Winter

Black bear mother and cub hibernating - University of Minnesota
The past few days have been a strange start to our Adirondack winter, with warm temperatures in the 40s and a drizzly rain.
But, don’t be deceived… winter is officially here! So, what happens to the wildlife in the ADKs when the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall?

Check out some of these great articles from the Adirondack Almanack archives:

 

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 29, 2023

Halloween Black Cats Have a Bewitching History; Feral Cats are an Invasive Species

A witch on a broom with a black cat

As Much a Part of Halloween as Jack-O-Lanterns 
Have you ever wondered why or how black cats became a traditional part of Halloween imagery, decoration, and symbolism? Or why people dress up as black cats on Halloween?
I know I have.

I Ain’t Superstitious, But…
‘I ain’t superstitious, but a black cat crossed my trail.’ Those lyrics were written by blues great Willie Dixon in 1961 and recorded by Howlin’ Wolf, Jeff Beck (with Rod Stewart), Santana (with Johnny Lang), and Megadeath; just to name a few. And the belief that bad luck will result from a black cat crossing one’s path is one of the oldest and most enduring superstitions that I know of. But why is it that we connect black cats to bad luck and witchcraft? Perhaps it’s because cats have been associated with magic since ancient times. Across medieval Puritan-Europe, cats; black cats in particular; were commonly linked to witchcraft and the devil. That association continued into the renaissance, when people believed that witches would transform themselves into black cats. Or that, if you came across a black cat, it might be a witch’s ‘familiar’; a supernatural entity or demon-possessed physical-animal believed to have been sent by the devil, to assist witches in the practice of black magic. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Mutant (crayfish) Have Landed

marbled crayfish

Sometime in the 1990s, a mutant crayfish able to conquer and degrade aquatic systems emerged as a result of secret German experiments gone awry.  The marmorkreb, a.k.a. marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis), is a destructive new species that first appeared aquariums in Germany. However, it’s more likely the result of too much inbreeding in captivity, rather than some mad-scientist scheme, that led to their mutation. They are now here, and your help scouting for them is invaluable.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Happy Animals

happy dog bark in the park

Describing happiness attracts animals:  Apparently, we can have a whale of a time, be as pleased as a pig in a peach orchard, or feel as happy as a pup with two tails, a monkey with a peanut machine, and a clam at high tide. Given all this, it’s natural to wonder if non-human animals can feel happy. 

Many biologists caution against ascribing human-like emotions to animals. This is a hilarious warning, because we are after all a species of animal. Gauging critter-happiness is a challenge, but it’s easy to tell when animals are miserable.  Cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by vertebrates in their adrenal glands in response to stress, can be measured in saliva or blood. 

So we can tell if a deer, goat, or cow feels stress rather than bothering with surveys, which were only ever returned by dogs anyway, and even then they were drool-covered and blank. Aside from basic requirement like food, water, exercise, and adequate protection from weather, most animal species have an intensely strong need for social bonding. 

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Happy as a clam? Science is mixed on that one

Happiness may be elusive, but it has sure spawned a lot of aphorisms and similes. Folk-wisdom indicates one can be happy as a pig in poop – or in mud, which makes me wonder if those two hogs are equally content, and if they had other options. It also suggests you can have a whale of a time, and be pleased as a pig in a peach orchard, which would make sense unless harvest season was over. Additionally, one might feel happy as a pup with two tails, a monkey with a peanut machine, or a clam at high tide.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Animal intelligence 101: Which ones are top of their class?

bees on honeycomb

When the topic of animal intelligence comes up, we might argue whether a crow or a parrot is the cleverer, or if dolphins are smarter than manatees. Seldom do we ascribe smarts to life-forms such as insects, plants or fungi. And it is rare indeed that we question our intellectual primacy among animals. It is true that no other species can point to monumental achievements such as the Coliseum, acid rain, nerve gas and atomic weapons. But that does not mean other species are bird-brained. Metaphorically speaking.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Helping the snow birds that stick around

When we hear the term “Snow Birds,” we naturally think of a person who migrates from the colder northern parts of North America to warmer southern locales but birds here in the Adirondacks also claim this title and fittingly so.

As winter approaches the mountains, an entire orchestra of song birds migrates to a warmer, southern winter territory.  The morning music of feathered chirpers throughout the spring and summer months have flown away not to return until April-May next year.

These flying migrators range from 29 species of warblers to various populations for thrushes, sparrows, flickers, bluebirds, buntings, sapsuckers, wrens and hummingbirds.  This does not leave winter void of the sound of winged music, there are songbirds that remain and brave the cold.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 18, 2020

ROOST releases “Politely Adirondack” Posters

The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) has released a series of posters available for printing which encourages practices which would reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing.

The “Politely Adirondack” series is part of a larger toolkit for businesses.

» Continue Reading.



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