Videos

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  • This video speeds up the full one of the squirrel eating spruce seeds (under the plant section).
  • Seeds of Sitka spruce are small, averaging 210,000 per pound. Seeds ripen in southeast Alaska during late August or early September, and dispersal usually begins in October.
  • The seeds of Sitka spruce are a favorite food of red squirrels.
  • This video shows a red squirrel extracting and eating the tiny seeds from a Sitka spruce cone.
  • Each seed has an outer covering that the squirrel removes before eating the seed.
  • This squirrel puts the seed with its covering on top of the cone it is holding (actually it is the bottom of the cone)
  • It then extracts the seed from its covering before eating it.
  • Usually a squirrel can extract and eat all the seeds from a spruce cone in around 3.5 minutes. This one took a little longer because it wanted to show us its technique.
  • Why do red squirrels go to all this trouble to extract and eat these tiny seeds?
  • Specific caloric value of spruce seed kernels averages about 27 kJ/g dry weight so I suspect eating a large number of these seeds provides them with sufficient calories.
  • To see what a Sitka spruce seed looks like up close and its size go to photos and in the search box type spruce seeds.
  • Not much is known about the nesting habits of Common Mergansers so this video was very exciting to get.
  • Probably the most recent information on this bird can be found at Common Merganser from Pearce, John, Mark Mallory and Karen Metz. 2015. Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/442
  • According to them: Despite its broad distribution and importance as a bio-indicator of aquatic food-chain degradation, however, we know little about the nesting and reproductive biology of this duck, or its population size and dynamics.
  • In s. Alaska, hatching likely from early June to mid-June based on duckling observations (J. Pearce, unpubl. data).

  • Young remain in the nest 24–48 h after hatching. Plumage dries within 12 h. At nest departure near water, female calls vigorously from water below cavity (Bent 1923). Young jump from the nest in rapid succession and may call vigorously (Gordon 1930). If nest is away from water, female leads the brood across land or water to the brood territory (lake or river), which may be up to 1.5 km away (Palmer 1976; Fig. 4).

  • The departure of the young from this site would involve quite a tumble down to Mendenhall Lake.

  • Queen yellowjackets are amazing insects.
  • They overwinter, perhaps in the ground, and emerge in the spring.
  • Then they begin building a nest and laying eggs.
  • This video shows a queen building its nest and gives captions that describe the process.
  • This information comes from Marshall (2006) Insects Their Natural History and Diversity. Firefly Books. A great resource.
  • The Yellowjacket in the video is probably the Aerial Yellowjacket (Dolichovespula arenaria) an introduced species that has become widespread in the State.
  • This video was taken at Potter Marsh on June 1, 2015.
  • I suspect the goslings had recently hatched.
  • Probably the geese are of the subspecies Branta canadensis parvipes the Lesser Canada Goose.
  • The following information comes from: Mowbray, Thomas B., Craig R. Ely, James S. Sedinger and Robert E. Trost. 2002. Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/682
  • Breeders are monogamous, with life-long pair bonds formed usually during the second year. Offspring remain with their parents throughout the first year of life, traveling together in large flocks of family groups, as far south as Veracruz and Jalisco in south-central Mexico (Saunders and Saunders 1981).
  • Female selects nest site, with male following while prospecting (Balham 1954, Collias and Jahn 1959, Cooper 1978). Female may prepare several sites by scraping and manipulating vegetation before selecting final site. Frequently uses old nest sites (Geis 1956, Brakhage 1965, Vermeer 1970).
  • First goslings hatch approximately 30–37 d after nest initiation.
  • Only females incubate. Nest attendance gradually increases during laying period until penultimate egg laid (Cooper 1978). Continuous incubation likely starts after last egg in small clutches, earlier in large clutches.
  • Males remain in vicinity of nest throughout incubation, occasionally waiting near mate, and join female on incubation breaks.
  • Precocial; goslings fully covered with down. Leave nest within 24 h, by which time they are able to walk, swim, feed, and dive.
  • Begin to peck at small objects soon after hatch; graze wherever parents lead them; spend most of their time feeding or sleeping; stay close to parents; little if any brood mixing.
  • Young precocial; parents do not actively provide goslings with food; both parents lead brood to feeding areas variable distances from nest site; goslings feed voraciously (Fowler and Ely 1997).
  • Young leave breeding areas with parents; in large subspecies, offspring remain with parents throughout first year
  • Over the years I have done several experiments regarding the intelligence of crows and ravens to obtain food from containers.
  • In all instances the ravens did better than the crows.
  • This video is one illustration.
  • I think all corvids are among the most intelligent and creative of birds.
  • You might enjoy reading Crazy Corvids by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • This video was taken in a small stream near Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska.
  • A male threespine stickleback builds a nest by sucking up sand or mud and depositing it away from from the construction site.
  • In the resulting depression he glues together pieces of vegetation with mucus secreted by his kidneys, until a dome-shaped structure is formed.
  • He wiggles into the structure to form a tunnel.
  • He then attracts a female to enter the nest to deposit her eggs and then he enters the nest and fertilizes the eggs.
  • The female leaves and the male has the responsibility of maintaining the nest and raising the young.
  • This video show the effort that the male stickleback goes through to protect the nest with the eggs and developing young.
  • You can see several instances when he removes caddifly larvae from the nest area and one instance of him attacking a water beetle.
  • Most other fish that swim near the nest are attacked, you can see him attacking coho salmon fry.
  • Notice how he fans the nest with his large pectoral fins.
  • Why does he do this?
  • This creates a flow of water that improves the supply of oxygen to the eggs.
  • Once the eggs hatch if a young emerges from the nest he catches them in his mouth and spits them back into the nest.
  • In this video he does this twice but the newly hatched stickleback are very tiny and difficult to see.
  • He will do this for about 10 days before he no longer attempts to retrieve them.
  • Stickleback are an important food for several other creatures.
  • Great Blue Herons and Greater Yellowlegs seem to specialize in eating them. I have seen Belted Kingfishers, Arctic Terns and dragonfly larvae eating them. River otter scat usually contains many discarded stickleback spines.
  • Look at this essay by Mary Willson on Sticklebacks
  • For more information about threespine sticklebacks look at /sites/default/files/Threespine%20sticklebacks.pdf

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