'Our Birds': Migratory Journeys Converge In Baltimore Gardens

Central American immigrants in Baltimore, MD are helping migratory song birds that make the seasonal journey from their old home countries to the city they now call home.

by Ricardo Sandoval-Palos and Lauren Migaki

A couple of times a month, a group of migrant women and their children gather to plant shrubs and flowers in Baltimore’s expansive Patterson Park.

The gardens feed and shelter migratory birds as part of the Patterson Park Audubon Center’s Bird Ambassadors program.

Neotropical birds like the black-throated blue warbler and the Baltimore oriole migrate from the East Coast down to places like Mexico and Central America for the winter, says Susie Creamer, director of urban education and conservation at the center…

(read more and listen: NPR.org)

photos by Susie Creamer/Patterson Park Audubon Center & USFWS-NE Region

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Pirre Harlequin frog  (Pirri Range Stubfoot Toad)
Actually the Pirre Harlequin frog is not a frog but a toad of the species Atelopus glyphus (Bufonidae), found in eastern Panama, in the Serranía de Pirre, and Colombia, in the Chocó.
Atelopus glyphus is currently classified as a Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red List, since like other species within the genus, their populations are being severely affected the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that causes chytridiomycosis disease.
Specimen pictured is a juvenile captive-bred as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, an organization based in Panama, which is making significant efforts to establish colonies of the harlequin frogs and develop methods to reduce the impact of chytrid fungus, so that one day the captive amphibians may be reintroduced to their habitat.
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo credit: ©Brian Gratwicke | Locality: Panama

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Pirre Harlequin frog  (Pirri Range Stubfoot Toad)

Actually the Pirre Harlequin frog is not a frog but a toad of the species Atelopus glyphus (Bufonidae), found in eastern Panama, in the Serranía de Pirre, and Colombia, in the Chocó.

Atelopus glyphus is currently classified as a Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red List, since like other species within the genus, their populations are being severely affected the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that causes chytridiomycosis disease.

Specimen pictured is a juvenile captive-bred as part of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, an organization based in Panama, which is making significant efforts to establish colonies of the harlequin frogs and develop methods to reduce the impact of chytrid fungus, so that one day the captive amphibians may be reintroduced to their habitat.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Brian Gratwicke | Locality: Panama

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Eciton burchellii

Eciton burchellii is a species of New World army ant in the genus Eciton. This species, one of the most extensively studied ant species, consists of expansive, organized swarm raids that give it the informal name, Eciton army ant. This species displays polymorphic caste features, with the soldier ants having much larger heads and mandibles. In terms of geographical distribution, this species is found in the Amazon jungle and Central America.

Photo credits:João P. Burini ,Mark W. Moffett/Minden Pictures, Francesco Tomasinelli / Natural Visions

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Turquoise Tanager (Tangara mexicana)

…a medium sized species of Tanager (Thraupidae) which occurs from Trinidad, Colombia and Venezuela south to Bolivia and much of Brazil. Despite what its scientific name suggests T. mexicana does not occur in Mexico. Turquoise tanagers typically inhabit areas with humid forests, with most individuals occurring in the Amazon. However, a population also occurs in the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil, this population is sometimes considered a separate species (Tangara brasiliensis). Like other tanagers turquoise tanagers feed almost exclusively on fruit, but they will also take insects as well. 

Classification

Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Passeriformes-Thraupidae-Tangara-T. mexicana

Images: DickDaniels and Gustavo Magnago

astronomy-to-zoology

astronomy-to-zoology:

Pale-bordered Cockroach (Pseudomops septentrionalis)

…a species of Ectobiid cockroach which occurs in south central and south eastern North America and Central America. Pale-bordered cockroaches are active mainly from May to August and typically inhabit low-growing herbaceous vegetation and will occasionally visit flowers. Adults will feed on sap and flowers, and interestingly are not attracted to lights. 

Classification

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Blattodea-Blaberoidea-Ectobiidae-Blattellinae-Pseudomops-P. septentrionalis

Images: ©Graham Montogomery and ©Gayle and Jeanell Strickland

The Map Of Native American Tribes You’ve Never Seen Before

by Hansi Lo Wang

Finding an address on a map can be taken for granted in the age of GPS and smartphones. But centuries of forced relocation, disease and genocide have made it difficult to find where many Native American tribes once lived.

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has pinpointed the locations and original names of hundreds of American Indian nations before their first contact with Europeans.

As a teenager, Carapella says he could never get his hands on a , depicting more than 600 tribes — many now forgotten and lost to history. Now, the 34-year-old designs and sells maps as large as 3 by 4 feet with the names of tribes hovering over land they once occupied…

(read more and download maps: CodeSwitch - NPR.org)

images by Aaron Carapella

The male Panamanian Golden Frog (Atelopus zeteki) has a subtle way of attracting females… it waves. This friendly gesture can arouse the attention of a rival male, which often ends in a wrestling match.

* Since this footage was filmed, this species has gone extinct in the wild due to the deadly chytrid fungus. Conservationists now care for the last of this frog in various zoos and other institutions.

with David Attenborrough

(via: Nature - PBS)

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Red Coffee Snake  (Redback Coffee Snake)
Ninia sebae (Colubridae) is a small, ground-dwelling colubrid snake found in tropical forests in Mexico and Central America.
This harmless snake has red body coloration with a distinctive black and yellow head pattern and a white belly. It may reach snout-vent lengths of 27.5 cm and is not known to exceed 40.0 cm in total length.
Although Ninia sebae resembles some venomous coral snakes in color and size, and may even mimic their threat displays, it is not venomous and seldom bites humans. This species is one of several snakes that has been called “vibaro de sangre” (“blood snake”) after a myth that its bites cause victims to bleed to death through their entire skin.
This species can be found in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
References: [1] - [2]
Photo credit: ©Adam Radage
Locality: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

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Red Coffee Snake  (Redback Coffee Snake)

Ninia sebae (Colubridae) is a small, ground-dwelling colubrid snake found in tropical forests in Mexico and Central America.

This harmless snake has red body coloration with a distinctive black and yellow head pattern and a white belly. It may reach snout-vent lengths of 27.5 cm and is not known to exceed 40.0 cm in total length.

Although Ninia sebae resembles some venomous coral snakes in color and size, and may even mimic their threat displays, it is not venomous and seldom bites humans. This species is one of several snakes that has been called “vibaro de sangre” (“blood snake”) after a myth that its bites cause victims to bleed to death through their entire skin.

This species can be found in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Adam Radage

Locality: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Maybe Birds Can Have It All: Dazzling Colors and Pretty Songs, Too  
by Hugh Powell
A study of one of the world’s largest and most colorful bird families has dispelled a long-held notion, first proposed by Charles Darwin, that animals are limited in their options to evolve showiness. The study—the largest of its kind yet attempted—was published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The natural world is full of showstoppers—birds with brilliant colors, exaggerated crests and tails, intricate dance routines, or virtuosic singing. But it’s long been thought that these abilities are the result of trade-offs. For a species to excel in one area, it must give up its edge in another. For example, male Northern Cardinals are a dazzling scarlet but sing a fairly simple whistle, whereas the dull brown House Wren sings one of the most complicated songs in nature.
Animals have limited resources, and they have to spend those in order to develop showy plumage or precision singing that help them attract mates and defend territories,” said Nick Mason, the paper’s lead author.  ”So it seems to make sense that you can’t have both. But our study took a more detailed look and suggests that actually, some species can.” Mason did the research as a master’s student at San Diego State University. He is now a Ph.D. student at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology…
(read more: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Photos by Peter Wendelken, Frank Shufelt, Keith Bowers, Vivek Tiwari, and Priscilla Burcher

Maybe Birds Can Have It All: Dazzling Colors and Pretty Songs, Too 

by Hugh Powell

A study of one of the world’s largest and most colorful bird families has dispelled a long-held notion, first proposed by Charles Darwin, that animals are limited in their options to evolve showiness. The study—the largest of its kind yet attempted—was published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The natural world is full of showstoppers—birds with brilliant colors, exaggerated crests and tails, intricate dance routines, or virtuosic singing. But it’s long been thought that these abilities are the result of trade-offs. For a species to excel in one area, it must give up its edge in another. For example, male Northern Cardinals are a dazzling scarlet but sing a fairly simple whistle, whereas the dull brown House Wren sings one of the most complicated songs in nature.

Animals have limited resources, and they have to spend those in order to develop showy plumage or precision singing that help them attract mates and defend territories,” said Nick Mason, the paper’s lead author.  ”So it seems to make sense that you can’t have both. But our study took a more detailed look and suggests that actually, some species can.” Mason did the research as a master’s student at San Diego State University. He is now a Ph.D. student at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology…

(read more: Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Photos by Peter Wendelken, Frank Shufelt, Keith Bowers, Vivek Tiwari, and Priscilla Burcher

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Isla Bonita Robber Frog (Slim-fingered Rain Frog)
Craugastor crassidigitus (Craugastoridae), formerly Eleutherodactylus crassidigitus, is a species of frog native to Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama.
Frogs in this genus undergo direct development, meaning eggs develop directly into little froglets and there is no larval stage.
References: [1] - [2]
Photo credit: ©Konrad Mebert
Locality: Alto de Piedra, Veraguas, Panama

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Isla Bonita Robber Frog (Slim-fingered Rain Frog)

Craugastor crassidigitus (Craugastoridae), formerly Eleutherodactylus crassidigitus, is a species of frog native to Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama.

Frogs in this genus undergo direct development, meaning eggs develop directly into little froglets and there is no larval stage.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Konrad Mebert

Locality: Alto de Piedra, Veraguas, Panama