Welcome to our monthly celebration of nature and photography!
We hope you enjoy this issue's selection of jokes, trivia, photos and news.
Mount Wilson
A temperate rain forest scene welcomes you this month as it awaits the new growth of spring.

Which animal lives in a holt or couch?

You'll find the answer at the end of this newsletter.


Is it a grouse? Is it a pine cone?
The mystery is solved at the end of this newsletter.

_ Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the world and are found only in the New World.
  The tongue of the hummingbird is grooved, like a W shape and has tiny hairs at the tip to make it easier to lap up nectar.
  Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards, but they really can't walk.
  The bright flashing coloured feathers of the hummingbird's neck is called a gorget. The colours can be flashed or hidden.
  Small hummingbirds flap their wings some 55-70 times a second.

Grab a piece of paper and test yourself by identifying these little critters.
Critter Number 1
Critter Number 2
a. Whistling Marmot

_ a. Richardson's Ground Squirrel
b. Yellow-bellied Marmot

  b. California Ground Squirrel
c. Hoary Marmot

  c. Columbian Ground Squirrel
d. Yellow-backed Marmot   d. Prairie Gopher
Critter Number 3
Critter Number 4
a. Large-eared Mouse

  a. Common Raccoon
b. Pika

  b. Masked Bandit
c. Rock Bunny

  c. Masked Marmot
d. Cute Round-eared Critter   d. Masked Raccoon
Critter Number 5
Critter Number 6
a. Black-faced Marmot

  a. Richardson's Ground Squirrel
b. Western Groundhog

  b. Columbian Ground Squirrel
c. Whistling Marmot

  c. Long-tailed Weasel
d. Hoary Marmot   d. Columbian Weasel
Critter Number 7
Critter Number 8
a. Desert Cottontail

  a. White-striped Ground Squirrel
b. Desert Rabbit

  b. Columbian Ground Squirrel
c. Desert Jackrabbit

  c. Long-tailed Chipmunk
d. Desert Bunny   d. Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
Critter Number 9
Critter Number 10
a. Snowshoe Hare   a. Rocky Flying Squirrel
b. White-tailed Jackrabbit   b. Western Gray Squirrel
c. Dark-eared Jackrabbit   c. Eastern Gray Squirrel
d. Easter Bunny   d. Gray Ground Squirrel
See how well you did by checking your answers later in the newsletter!

Demonstrate your nature know-how by throwing a few fascinating nature words into your daily conversations!
If someone was talking to you about an owl pellet, they'd be referring to
  a. the striking pattern on an owl's breast.
  b. something an owl regurgitates.
  c. an owl's unique hunting technique.
  d. the sharpest toe on an owl's talon.
You'll find the answer at the end of this month's Whispers.

Our featured page is called From the Garden of the Sea - an exploration of seaweeds and rockweeds.
This is a chance for you to encounter some zooids, a Turkish Towel and some Feather Boa Kelp!
Check it out here.

We never get tired of looking at Great Blue Herons! This one is from Claudia Gregoire, Glenville, NY.
Dennis Coop of Sherwood, Arkansas, snapped this image of a Yellowjacket Hover Fly, Milesia virginiensis.
This super photo of a muddy Musk Turtle was taken by Herman Veenendaa of St Mary’s, Ontario.
Susan Kalman of Allegany, NY, sent us this little creature who seems quite at happy in the mud.
These two neat looking ibis come to us from frequent contributor, Marilyn Flanagan of Florida.
Marilyn also sent us this beautiful image of a Louisiana Blue Iris

Many thanks to Claudia, Dennis, Herman, Susan and Marilyn for sending in these wonderful photos.
We really appreciate your contributions!

If you have a nature image you'd like to see in this section, please let us know!.


A couple of bushtits wonder when winter will end.


Do you have an idea for a fun caption for this photo?

Here's some ideas:
#1 - "Stay close to the shore "
#2 - "Out of the way! Coming through!"

If this month's photo inspires you, please send us your caption in an e-mail.
We'd just love to hear from you!


An amazing place to go birding is Madera Canyon in southeast Arizona. It is used as a
resting place for migrating birds and is listed as one of the best birding places in the United States.

Over 250 species of birds have been recorded here including 15 species of
hummingbirds and these two: the Mexican Jay and the Acorn Woodpecker.


__A sign in front of a log cabin read: Talking Dog for Sale. Curious, a passer-by decided to find out more. The owner told the fellow that the talking dog was in the back yard and so round to the back he went.
__“You really talk?" asked the apprehensive man.
__“Sure do," replied the dog.
__“This is amazing," said the visitor. "Tell me, please, what's your story?"
__“Well, I really wanted to help the government and before too long they had me jetting from country to country. No one ever figured I would be eavesdropping! But the jetting around really began tired me out and I knew I wasn't getting any younger," explained the dog, much to the man's amazement.
__"So I left that work," continued the dog, "and started doing security work at the airport. I uncovered a lot of dealings and I was awarded a couple of medals! The stories I could tell you! But now I'm enjoying a really pleasant life - I've just retired after all those years."
__ The guy was absolutely flabbergasted.
__"How much do you want for this dog?" he asked the owner.
__"Ten dollars."
__"She is amazing! Why on earth are you selling her so cheap?"
__ The owner answered, "Because she's a complete liar! She's never been out of the yard - just watches TV.”

"I still think I'm worth more than 10 dollars with a tale like that! It would make a great TV series."


Our Monthly Selections
Here are this month's choices:
Bird -  Greater Yellowlegs | Wildflower - Fringed Redmaids | Bug - Western Conifer Seed Bug

Click to visit__ Click to visit__Click to visit
Click on the images to visit the pages.

A Little Reminder

At this time of year in northern areas, water can be in short supply for the birds as it may
be frozen and covered in snow. Help birds out by keeping your dishes full of fresh water.

Tips and Ideas

Many photographs can be made into interesting note cards, like these two eagles.
One of the things to watch however is the size. For the best results, choose
the 4 x 6 size when ordering from a photo lab.

If you have the right software program, you can add a message to the image.
After getting them printed, attach them to a blank card.
You can find some with envelopes at craft stores like Michael's.
Now, you're ready to astound your friends!

Guide to Feeding Birds
At this time of the year, our bird stations are full of activity.
Just like people, birds have their favourite foods.

Here's a quick guide to help you figure out who prefers what.

jays, cardinals, chickadees, juncos,
sparrows, towhees, woodpeckers
woodpeckers, jays, nuthatches,
grosbeaks, bushtits, chickadees, kinglets
Mixed seeds
Mixed seeds
and millet
doves, sparrows, finches, towhees, doves
Niger seed
Niger Seed
finches, goldfinches, Pine Siskins
Sunflower seeds
cardinals, chickadees, doves, finches,
sparrows, jays, some woodpeckers
Black-oil sunflower seeds
Black-oil Sunflower
juncos, nuthatches, chickadees
sparrows and most other seed-eating birds
Picture of the Week
Click to visit   Be sure to drop by the Inn every week to see the latest Picture of the Week. 
You can also do so by clicking on the image to the left or by clicking here.
Past Issues
If you want to see any of the past issues of Whispers, they are available here.


Join in the Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual event held February 12 - 15, 2016. Click here.

All colours and varieties of the hibiscus in Hawaii were considered to be the official Territorial Flower.
However, after statehood in 1959, the Yellow Hibiscus was adopted as the official State flower 1988.


The Mockingbird (above) was the official state bird of South Carolina
until 1948 when it was replaced by the Carolina Wren.


An otter's den is called a holt or couch.


It's a Northern Flicker having a bath in a small dish.


Great Horned Owl
An owl pellet is a regurgitated mass of undigested parts of an owl's food. It will contain such things as bones, teeth, feathers and fur. It is regurgitated some 10-16 hours after the meal.


1- b. Yellow-bellied Marmot | 2 - c. Columbian Ground Squirrel | 3 - b. Pika
4 - a. Common Raccoon | 5 - d. Hoary Marmot | 6 - c. Long-tailed Weasel | 7 - a. Desert Cottontail
8 - d. Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel | 9 - c. White-tailed Jackrabbit | 10 - c. Eastern Gray Squirrel


Click to learn more mammals

Thanks for joining us this month! We hope you enjoyed this issue of Whispers. We invite your comments and ideas - just drop us an e-mail. See you next month!
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