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 delightful spring show of Camas flowers welcomes you this month.

Which fruit is the only one that bears its seeds on the outside?

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

Here's a close-up image to test your mystery-solving skills.
The answer, as usual, is at the end of the newsletter.

_ There are over two-dozen species of porcupines around the world including North and South America, southern Europe, Africa and western Asia.
  The North American Porcupine has over 30,000 quills which cover its entire body except the stomach, legs and muzzle.
  The quills are a specialized form of hair. They are actually hollow and have barbed tips.
  A porcupines cannot shoot its quills but does use them as a defensive tactic by raising its back and lashing out its tail when threatened. An attacking animal can expect an unpleasant result!
  The North American Porcupine has claw-like toes which allow it to easily climb trees. Scratch marks in the bark of a tree are signs that a porcupine has been by.

Grab a piece of paper and test yourself by identifying these water-loving birds.
Bird Number 1
Bird Number 2
a. Mallard

_ a. Northern Pintail
b. American Coot

  b. Dunlin
c. Lesser Scaup

  c. Eurasian Wigeon
d. Dunlin   d. Brant
Bird Number 3
Bird Number 4
a. Northern Pintail   a. Red-breasted Merganser
b. American Coot
  b. Northern Pintail
c. Eurasian Wigeon

  c. Dunlin
d. Lesser Scaup   d. Brant
Bird Number 5
Bird Number 6
a. Northern Pintail

  a. Eurasian Wigeon
b. American Coot

  b. Mallard
c. Mallard

  c. Brant
d. Brant   d. Lesser Scaup
Bird Number 7
Bird Number 8
a. Red-breasted Merganser

  a. Lesser Scaup
b. Eurasian Wigeon

  b. Northern Pintail
c. Lesser Scaup

  c. Dunlin
d. Northern Pintail   d. American Coot
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 told you that they found nudibranchs to be fascinating, they'd be telling you that they really liked
  a. specialized twig formations that grow on tree branches.
  b. a tree native to Africa.
  c. sea slugs.
  d. the things that grow on the heads of quails.
You'll find the answer at the end of this month's Whispers.

This month's featured page is called Tips and Tricks for the Backyard Birder: Photo Tips.
It includes articles on how to use nature's props when taking a photo and many
ideas for getting some terrific bird photographs. Check it out here!

These two fascinating photographs come from Susan Kalman of Allegany, NY. On the left is a Red Eft which was spotted at the Pfeiffer Nature Center, Portcille, NY. The right-hand photo is a stunning Short-winged Green Grasshopper which seems to be a very appropriate name indeed!
Penny Hershaw of Toronto, ON, spotted this beautifully-marked Rough Legged Buzzard while in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Herman Veenendaal of St Mary’s, ON, was quick with the camera and managed to snap this beautiful Snowy Owl just as it took off.

H & M Ling, of Bridgewater, NJ, were lucky to spot and photograph of a handsome Plush-crested Jay, Cyanocorax chrysops.

This magnificent Snowy Egret was seen in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico by Tony from Toronto, ON.

What a superb variety of images! Thanks so very much to the Lings, Penny, Tony, Susan and Herman!
We really appreciate your contributions for us all to enjoy.

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

Our wandering image this month is a true wanderer, from Europe, an Eurasian Coloured Dove.

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

Here are some ideas:
#1 - "I was here first."
#2 - "You had better get out of my way, buddy."

If this month's photo inspires you, please send us your caption in an e-mail.

From last month's caption image, Tony of Toronto took the time to send us a great caption.

"Ok, I'm not going to look back. I'm not going to look back.
There's nothing following me. Why am I so paranoid all the time?"

This Roseate Spoonbill was spotted at the Homosassa Wildlife Park in Florida. 
Marilyn Flanagan, who is lucky to call Florida her home, says it is well worth a
visit if ever you have the opportunity.

___A deer left work and went to catch the ferry. Arriving at the terminal he saw it sailing out of sight. He decided he would have to start leaving work a bit earlier.
___The next day he arrived at the terminal he saw the ferry fifty yards out! So the following day he left work really early but arrived at the terminal only to see the ferry about 10 feet from the dock. With a quick run and jump, he leaped on to the deck.
___A crew member said, "Hey, buddy! You didn't have to jump! We will be at the dock in a few seconds and you could have walked on."

"They should have a sign stating which way it's going!"

Our Monthly Selections
Here are this month's choices:
Bird -  Semipalmated Plover | Wildflower - Cutleaf Geranium | Bug - Syrphus opinator

Click to visit__ Click to visit__Click to visit
Click on the images to visit the pages.
Tips and Ideas

It's nesting time! We always like to help out busy birds by putting out
some nesting material, such as hair, laundry fluff, grass seed heads, etc.

Stuffing nesting material into a metal suet feeder works well, but we've
designed a few holders that you might want to try and build yourself.

You can see how to construct this holder here.

Bird Food Recipe - Yummy Suet
This is a simple recipe that makes a delightfully tasty snack.
Bushtits enjoying homemade suet
  1/2 cup lard
1/2 cup suet (usually found in the supermarket's frozen pies/pastry section)
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup cornmeal
handful of birdseed (optional)
dried eggshells - roll them out with a rolling pin until they are like dust (optional)
  Melt lard, suet and peanut butter in the microwave until soft and runny.

Add remaining ingredients and let cool a bit.

Before it's too solid, pour into moulds or and place in suet holders - or - better yet put into a pine cone.

Click here for printer friendly version of this recipe.
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.

Americans will be celebrating National Wildlife Week, during the week of March 14.
Get more information here.
Be sure to take a moment to celebrate and appreciate our forests and trees on March 21 – World Forestry Day.

Did you know that many open stands of aspen, Populus tremuloides, share a common root system?
What may have started out as a single tree long ago and are now genetically
identical clones covering many acres.

A National Garland of Flowers created for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair became the
inspiration for adopting official state flowers. This began a trend that also led to the
official state symbols such as birds and trees.

The fruit of the strawberry is the only fruit with its seeds on the outside of the fruit.

Our mystery image is a Black Oystercatcher doing a little preening for the camera.

A nudibranch is a
c. sea slug.

This amazing creature is a Frosted Nudibranch, Dirona albolineata.

__ __ __
1 - b. American Coot
(slate body, white bill, green legs)
2 - d. Brant
(white neck ring)
3 - a. Northern Pintail
(white breast, dark head, dark eyes)
4 - a. Red-breasted Merganser
(crazy hairdo)
5 - c. Mallard
(yellow bill, glossy head)
6 - d. Lesser Scaup
(almost blue bill and yellow eyes)
7 - b. Eurasian Wigeon
(light forehead)
8 - c. Dunlin
(long bill,
long legs

Click to learn more about the world of bugs

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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