Archive for the ‘birds’ Category

My Puffin Education   5 comments

In Montreal, we paid a visit to the Biodôme, a facility that replicates the four environments found in North America (rainforest, woodlands, the waterway of the Saint Lawrence river, and the arctic). Each of four areas was populated with the flora and fauna of the respective environment. It was a fun site to visit.

The tropical area had not only the parrots, but a pair of caimans.

In the Saint Lawrence, some birds splashed about.
Just Splashin' Around

The sole cat was a Canadian lynx (there was a live camera of the other lynx…and their kittens).
Canadian Lynx

In the arctic, there were penguins and puffins. I don’t think I’ve ever seen puffins in person before.
Puffins on a Rock

I always assumed they were similar to penguins, and therefor flightless. But looking at their wings, they were of a different design.
Puffin Wingspan

In spite of their stout bodies, puffins can fly! Though their enclosure didn’t permit a lot of space, I got to see short hops.

I learned something pretty cool!
Puffin Flight

The Biodôme is located on the site of the 1976 Summer Olympics–the building was originally the velodrome. Next to it was the stadium, with the tower meant to support a removable dome.
Montreal Olympic Stadium

There are many more animals at the Biodôme, and they had some great exhibits.

Birthday at the Zoo   5 comments

Yesterday (June 3) was my birthday. My mom had come up, and wanted to see the zoo. It’s such a hardship for me…

The key reason she wanted to go was to see Gladys, an infant gorilla.
Happy Surrogate

Her mother, a first-time mom, wasn’t taking good care of her, so the folks who run the gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) met. They determined that the Cincinnati Zoo, with a long track record of baby gorillas, would be a great place for her. Right now, she is being raised by a team of human surrogates. They treat her as a gorilla mom would, so they can eventually hand her off to a gorilla mom. They are taking great pains to ensure that she is not overly bonded to humans.
Humans Make Great Beds

She was sleeping when we first got there. The head of the gorilla department (and on the SSP) gave a talk, and they listened.
Gladys and her Surrogate Listen

Then Gladys decided it was time for climbing practice.
Eating the Rope

"I'm Getting the Hang of This"

As I said, the keepers in no way see Gladys as a pet. Still, it must be an incredible experience to be part of saving an animal like her. I admire the keepers who take the time to do this, and make a point of doing it right.
Climbing Practice

This is a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, who was watching us.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

My mom has always liked elephants.
Asian Elephant in the Bushes

The male is named Sabu. We spent a good while watching him, and talking to a volunteer. He clearly loved this animal.
Sabu, the Asian Elephant Bull

Dunbar was greeting guests with a keeper. He’s a plated lizard. She said that his ear holes are connected–you can actually see through his head when the light is right.
Dunbar, the Plated Lizard

Lulu, the baby giraffe was out.
Lulu Gets a Snack

She seems big to me…until I look at her parents.
Giraffe Family

Going with my mom meant I went to parts of the zoo I don’t normally go to. For instance, I don’t often see this clever Sumatran orangutan.
Sumatran Orangutang in the Shade

Or Kenneth, the large spotted genet.
Kenneth, the Large Spotted Genet

It was my birthday, so, of course that meant cats! We went to go see the cheetah run, where serval Jambo showed his jumping ability.
Jambo Jumps

Chance had a great run (and I got artsy with my photography (what do you think?)).
Chance's Run

Baby cheetah Savanna ran–the first time I got to see her go.
Savanna Runs!

She’s grown a lot. What a beautiful cat!
Savanna Taking Off

Of course, when running on as even a nice day as we had, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Thirsty Girl

While at the Cheetah Encounter, we saw two zoo celebrities. Thane Maynard, the director of the zoo, was talking to some folks as we came in. Sitting two rows in front of us was Catheryn Hilker, who established the cheetah program, as well as the person who had the idea of zoos taking animals to schools. She’s one of the reasons we have cheetahs in the world today. I thought about saying “hi,” but got embarrassed, and didn’t.

I wanted to see the snow leopards. Renji was being a bit lazy.
Yawning Renji

What was really cool was they were giving Nubo a snack! We got to be relatively close to him, and watched him dine. He is an amazing cat–look at those paws!
Nubo's Snack


Nubo was in a very playful mood, pouncing at Renji, in a game of tag I’ve seen my cats play. The things she has to put up with!

What a gorgeous girl!
Dreamy Snow Leopard

What about the Pallas’ kittens?
"Where We Going, Mom?"

They were following their mom around.
"Where's Mom Going?"

So patient.
Huddling Around Mom

As is the ocelot mother, whose ocelittle was thought her tail was a great toy.
Mom's Tail Makes a Great Ocelittle Toy

The bobcat watched us. Miss Lop-Ears the caracal wasn’t there…hope she was OK.
The Bobcat is Awake!

It was a great day, with great weather. I’m glad my mom got to spend my birthday with me and my family at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Finer Photos of My Fowl Friends   1 comment

I confess my prior photos of the baby birds were…less than awesome. The light wasn’t great. Mostly, I posted them as I was so excited. This weekend, I went out and and got a couple better ones.
Two Baby Birds

It’s been really neat having them there.
All Three Baby Birds

Posted 2013-05-27 by Mr. Guilt in animals, birds

Baby Birds!   3 comments

Remember the nest next door?
Baby Birds (Side)

It has three new occupants.
Baby Birds (Front)

I’ll try to get better pictures, but I wanted to share this great news!

Posted 2013-05-22 by Mr. Guilt in animals, birds

Nest Next Door   2 comments

The house next door to our has been for sale for most of the year. I noticed the other day, however, someone moved in.
Nest (Side View)

A bird has made a nest in the transom–perhaps my friends with an ornithological bent can let me know what kind.
Nest (front view)

I have no idea if there are eggs in there, though it seems likely. I hope that, if there are, they are allowed to hatch before the house sells or the real estate agent decides to evict the new (winged) family in Columbia-Tusculum.

Posted 2013-04-28 by Mr. Guilt in animals, birds

Nice Day at the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

Just when it looked like we’d go the whole month of March without getting out to the zoo, we had some of the best weather we’ve had in a while. The zoo also had some things going on for Easter. We caught the tail end of it, when cougars Joseph and Tecumseh were given melons to roll around.
Pounce on the Melon

They rolled them around like toys our coalition plays with.
Lounging with the Melon

Such handsome cats.
Climb the Trunk

We wanted to see if the ocelittle born New Year’s Eve was out. We couldn’t find her, but did see an ocelot.
Not an Ocelittle

I was playing with my camera, trying to use my manual focus in some of the darker enclosures, where it seems to struggle. One result was a decent shot of the fishing cat. They had put some fish in her enclosure to chase after.
Mama Fishing Cat Looks for Fish

I also got a picture of the black-footed cat at the far end of the enclosure.
BFC on the Ledge

The other one stood up top and judged me.
BFC on a Cliff
U haz no skillz.

Miss Caracal, on the other hand, was posing, and looking gorgeous.
Miss Lop-Ears Watches

The Snow Leopard Trust was pointing out that snow leopard mating season has been going on. I have no official word, though I did want to check on Renji. She and Nubo, however, were having a cat-nap.
Renji and Nubo's Naptime

I thought it was birds of a feather that flocked together.
Birds of a Feather

Falcon on the Ledge   1 comment

There was a cluster of folks looking out the window. On a wall that is at an angle to our window, a peregrine falcon landed on a ledge.

Posted 2013-01-18 by Mr. Guilt in animals, birds, Cincinnati, Office Window

Afternoon at the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

I had an afternoon off, and went to the Cincinnati Zoo. I heard they had two arctic fox pups.
Fox on the Rocks

Cute little guys.
Fox Pup in the Sun

While not the Arctic, it was a chilly day.

Snow leopards Renji and Nubo were having a nice day. Renji walked with her tail high.
Renji, Tail High

Nubo just laid in the sun.
Nubo in the Sun

Nubo is Bored

Renji thought laying in the sun was a good idea.
Snow Leopard Tongue

Joseph the cougar surveyed his domain.
Joe's Lookout

Inside Night Hunters, the Pallas cat practically insisted I take his picture.
Take My Picture, Please

The black-footed cat was posing, too.
Staring BFC

So cute for a cat known as the ant-hill tiger.
Standing BFC - Version 3

I have no idea what he’s doing back there.
I Have No Idea What He's Doing.

For whatever reason, there were a lot of toys out. Sand cats aren’t that much bigger than house cats. It stands to reason, they might have the same taste in toys.
I Haz a Toy

Mama Fishing Cat was pondering deep thoughts.
Curious Fishing Cat

I also took a few pictures of Miss Caracal…but more on that later.
Stalking Caracal

Feeding the Birds (but not the Pelican)   2 comments

We went to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to see my mom and sisters for the holidays. We took my daughter down to feed the birds.
Caitlin Tosses Bread

There were seagulls and American coots, a species I’d never heard of. It was quite the feeding frenzy.
Feeding Frenzy 3

Feeding Frenzy 1

The American coots are seen in the wetlands in the southern United States. They are actually fascinating critters. They mate for life, and build nests that float. Sometimes, mothers will lay eggs in another’s nest, a behavior known as brood parasite.
Americna Coot

The seagulls seemed particularly aggressive. We thought they might take some of the bread from our hands.
Seagull in Flight

My mom said there are two pelicans, the state bird of Louisiana (and fountain pen mascot), who have been hanging around Lake Charles.
Pelican in the Grass

Pelicans are hypercarnivores, meaning they exclusively eat meat. Unfortunately, because we only had bread, they were unable to partake of our food.
Pelican Reflection

After watching the frenzied gulls and coots, he decided to fly away.

Pelican in Flight 1

Posted 2013-01-02 by Mr. Guilt in animals, birds, Louisiana

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