Friday, March 31, 2017

Badger caches cow...

Wait! ... What?!?

Yep... scientists researching the ecology of scavengers (in other words> studying how animals that feed on dead animal or plant matter interact with each other and their environments) during winter in the Great Basin Desert, Utah, staked out 7 calf carcasses (each with an associated trap camera) and got an unexpected result...
Scientific researchers in Great Basin Desert, Utah, caught American badgers (on trap cameras) caching cows.
While badgers are known scavengers, the researchers hadn't planned on studying any mustelids, including badgers.

Badgers are hard to study since they are generally active underground or are nocturnal (out and about at night), so their behaviors aren't well-known. Last winter (January, 2016) the researchers caught two badgers (images, not the badgers themselves! ; ) caching two of the staked out carcasses. This is the first evidence of a badger caching / burying an animal larger than itself.

Here is a video (from a trap camera) of one of those badgers caching /burying it's find for later:

updating soon...

The original video is on YouTube!

For the research article:
 Subterranean caching of domestic cow (Bos taurus) carcasses by American badgers (Taxidea taxus) in the Great Basin Desert, Utah

Friday, March 24, 2017

Take action on global climate change, Earth Hour begins...

Join hundreds of millions of people all over the world and make a commitment to take action on global climate change today.


By turning out your lights and participating in events... like Earth Hour  >

Earth Hour starts Saturday, Mach 25, 2017 at 8:30 PM local time (that would be your local time).
The immediate action that can be taken this year is join the movement and participate by turning off your lights for one hour, starting at 8:30 PM, local time.

Their web site has loads of good information: research information, actions to take (large and small) find them on Facebook for live action, where to find events, how to plan an event for next year, and the impact of Earth Hour every year (this is the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour).

Interested in getting involved in other events? In making a positive impact on our home?

World Health Day is April 7. The health of our environments also affects human health and diseases.
Earth Day is April 22! Contact your local city/ county offices, extension offices, or colleges/ universities to find local events. We'll post more here shortly, including projects you can do.
International Dark Sky Week is the last week in April. It's always the week of April's new moon!
Arbor Day, April 28. Plant a tree, help a group plant trees in

Stay tuned...QuestX will have more information on these and other events... and actions you can take to leave a positive footprint on the earth. 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ten YEARS, One HOUR, this Saturday ... Earth Hour

...for One Hour, each year, hundreds of millions of people switch off their electricity to show and share their commitment to fighting global climate change.

this is...
         Earth Hour

Earth Hour:
         Earth Hour - 10th Anniversary
         Saturday, March 25
         8:30 PM local time (to you)

To participate "live" in the 10th annual Earth Hour and find out how to take action (if you're looking for ideas), go to the Earth Hour website or facebook page.
...and stay tuned here! :)

Understanding Clouds on World Meteorological Day, 2017

This year's theme for World Meteorological day is *Understanding Clouds*.

Clouds are created made of small drops of water, clustered together.

For *beginners* there are the 3 basic types of clouds:

Cumulus - thick, puffy clouds that tend to be white on top and on the edges with a darker, flat bottom. They kinda look like cotton-balls or cauliflower (depending on your preference ;)  ).

Cirrus - wispy, transparent / white, icy clouds. They are sheer clouds actually composed of ice crystals!

Stratus - low hanging clouds in dark/gray layer. These clouds can produce drizzle, ice prisms, and snow.

Understanding these clouds helps to understand weather, and to forecast the weather you can expect!

Here's a more advanced cloud chart from NOAA (and a link to a NOAA .pdf of clouds):
click to view this chart larger!

...for more information about World Meteorological Day

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Water, water, everywhere...

Water, it's everywhere we are.
Because *we* are 55-70% water.

Everything on earth needs water to survive, clean/ healthy water.
Some things have interesting ways of obtaining it, but *everything* requires water.
And the earth itself needs water.
Water is kinda like the blood of the planet, it carries nutrients and waste products through the system and it ties the entire body of the earth together.

We'll discuss loads more about water in other posts, but for *today*, plan something special... enjoy a glass of water and consider what would happen to our own health and that of the earth without clean/ healthy water.

...and here's a link to the U.N. site for World Water Day... there is loads of info there and ideas for planning and/or participating in events!


Sunday, March 19, 2017

So... what is this equinox thing?

Earth at Equinox

Twice a year the earth experiences equinoxes, that point in the earth's rotation around the sun when the axis of the earth (see the "poles" marking Earth's axis in the diagram to the left) is tilted neither *toward* nor *away from* the sun. The axial tilt of the earth is what causes the seasonal changes.

 This occurs in March (~ March 20) and September (~ Sept. 22) each year.

The March equinox is the beginning of the spring season in the northern hemisphere as the tilt of Earth is angled toward the sun (longer days in North America, Europe, and Asia) and the fall season in the southern hemisphere as Earth's tilt angles the southern hemisphere away from the sun (shorter days in most of South America, the southern half of Africa, and Australia); the September equinox is when the sun's rays, due to Earth's axial tilt, will start to fall more strongly on the southern than the northern hemisphere, spring in the southern hemisphere starts and fall in the northern hemisphere.

Due to the effect of light refraction (basically the bending of light around *edges*) and the way that sunrise and sunset are calculated (the visible edge of the sun on the horizon rather than the center of the sun crossing the horizon), day and night lengths are close to, but not to, equal on the equinoxes in the northern  and southern hemispheres. 

Here's what both of the equinoxes (left) and both of the solstices (right) look like from space:

...the next post should be much easier, on *both* of us (writer AND reader, lol)... writing when sick is ridiculous! ;)

Friday, March 3, 2017

World Wildlife Day!

... a day to celebrate what the wild brings to our lives...

This year's theme is "Listen to the Young Voices". Almost a quarter of the earth's population is between 10 and 24 years old. They will be the inheritors of our decisions, and the decision makers in the not-so-distant- future.
How do you want that to play out?

One thing.
If you have no time for anything more, today do ONE thing to help preserve, protect, and/or conserve wildlife and our wild lands.

What can YOU do today?

*talk with a young person about what they want for earth's wildlife and wild lands (encourage/ help them to take action),
*purchase a pass to a wild area,
*contact your government officials, expressing why it is important to protect wild life and wild lands (what benefits we get from protecting wildlife and wild lands) and what, specifically, you would like them to do (please vote yes/no on a particular bill, please fund "X" department, etc.),
*share/like/love! posts like this! ,
*donate to organizations that protect wild life and wild lands,
and, if you have *more* time ...
*start today, plan an event for next year!
*create your own posts/ blogs/ videos!
*participate in a clean-up (beach, park, roadside, trail, etc!)


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Birding > Field Observation Report ("Birding Basics" data collection sheet)

Needing inspiration for (or access to) observation/ data collection sheets? 

Below are images you can copy of a data collection sheet we use for "Birding Basics" > Field Observation Report (just click to open larger version, right click, and save   ; )   :

... OR...  you can copy (highlight) and paste the text versions below in to a word program:

Field Observation
Birding Data Collection Sheet




Temp.:                       Wind:                         Cloud Cover/Precip:

Field Notes

Data Sheet #                        


Cont. from Data Sheet#                

Field Notes